The “Zu Pardu” bridge: the regia trazzera and the valley of waterfall
The thrill of walking on an old trazzera (basalt-paved road), surrounded by the charming countryside, to reach impressive waterfalls. A downhill path to the sixteenth-century Zu Pardu Bridge nestled like a jewel among the rocks.
The itinerary, which begins in Villa Nives, crosses a residential portion of town, rich in historical and architectural value. Outside the village, the scenery becomes rural and the road turns into a “trazzera”. This ancient route (the trazzera is a typical Sicilian sheep road) on which you will travel united once the towns of Mistretta and Caronia, passing along the sixteenth-century Zu Pardu bridge nestled among the rocks like a jewel, suspended 20 meters above the river.
This particular trazzera, unlike others, had a more commercial than pastoral purpose, as evidenced by the large stones (basalt slabs) that still pave a good stretch of this route.
The road unwinds through several rural secular and religious settlements, which are virtually all abandoned. Wild olive trees, as well as downy and cork oak trees are the most common plant species, though it is not difficult to also find laurel, juniper and carob trees.
As for animals, you may come across rich specimens of beautiful birds, especially birds of prey, as well as foxes and tortoises.
Not far from the bridge, your final destination, you will see the beautiful waterfalls of Mistretta, located in Contrada Ciddia, just 4 km from the town.
The Mistretta waterfalls consist of 11 jumps ranging from 6 to 33 meters. The highest jump is the Pietrebianche waterfall, while the most picturesque, with its 6 meters, is the Cuttufa waterfall.
Over time, land layout and water erosion carved a natural riverbed of slabs and walls, where it is possible to stop, sit down and, in the summer, swim in the cool waters of the natural pools or under the waterfalls.
At the end of the trail, you can decide whether to continue for two additional kilometers downhill by shuttle service (arranged beforehand), or, if you are fit, travel along the same path uphill (for approximately two hours): it is not bad to review waterfalls from another point of view!
Difficulty level: difficult
Average time: 3 hours (one way)
Length: 6 km (one way), we recommend you to book a shuttle service for the return
Elevation gain: 580 m
Trek stroller: no; for infants, pouch slings are better than stroller (provided that you are trained to carry your child in a pouch)
Departure point on foot: Villa Nives, Mistretta
All the details and curiosities about this itinerary can be found in single waypoints through a dedicated APP.