Montalbano Elicona is located in the Peloritani Mountains, a mountain range in northern Sicily whose highest peak touches 1374 meters. It is a magical place, immersed in the silence of nature. Here, hidden in the mountains, we find a small treasure shrouded in mystery, the Argimusco. It is a plateau with huge rocks, many of which have wonderful anthropomorphic and zoomorphic forms (The oracle, the warrior, the mammoth, the Sicilian, the eagle and many others). They are also located in a magnificent place, on a plateau in the middle of nature, with a splendid 360 degree panorama that sweeps between Etna and the Aeolian Islands.

Tip from Topsecretsicily: If you wish, you can book a 2-hour guided trek among these mysterious megaliths. Included in the tour is a visit to the castle of Montalbano Elicona and a tasting of typical products.

Argimusco, Montalbano Elicona
Bdsklo , CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Argimusco, Montalbano Elicona
Kondephy , CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Argimusco, Montalbano Elicona
Girtompir , CC0, via Wikimedia Commons
Argimusco, Montalbano Elicona
Entrance of the Argimusco – Davide Mauro , CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Argimusco, Montalbano Elicona
The warrior (left) Davide Mauro , CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Rock warrior, Argimusco, Montalbano Elicona
The warrior – Davide Mauro , CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Argimusco, Montalbano Elicona
Kondephy , CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Rock eagle, Argimusco, Montalbano Elicona
The eagle – Bdsklo , CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
view of Montalbano Elicona from Argimusco
Montalbano Elicona seen from Argimusci – Davide Mauro , CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Argimusco, Montalbano Elicona
Davide Mauro , CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Praying rock, Argimusco, Montalbano Elicona
The orante (left) during sunset at the equinox – Girtompir , CC0, via Wikimedia Commons
Argimusco, Montalbano Elicona
Ruigeroeland , CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Argimusco, Montalbano Elicona
Boppo , CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Argimusco, Montalbano Elicona
Allembic stone – Graziella Milazzo , CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Rock eagle, Argimusco, Montalbano Elicona
Saltpetre and eagle – Graziella Milazzo , CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Rock eagle, Argimusco, Montalbano Elicona
Boppo , CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

The origins and shape of the rocks

Studies carried out seem to show that it was wind and rain that gave these original shapes to the rocks. It must be said, however, that no in-depth studies or archaeological excavations have been carried out yet, although this is the most likely theory. However, this seems to have been a sacred place and place of worship since the Neolithic period, as scholar Andrea Orlando recounts in this fine video.

Evidence of human presence

Steps in the rock, Argimusco, Montalbano Elicona
The rock with the carved steps (left side) v Graziella Milazzo , CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Argimusco, water basin, Montalbano Elicona
Water tank – Davide Mauro , CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Evidence of human presence in this sacred place is manifold. In the Water Cliff, where a prayerful (a praying human figure) seems to take shape, A rectangular-shaped basin was excavated, (probably to collect water) and a cave tomb and a rock palmento with a hexagonal basin (probably used to make wine), also dug into the rock, was found in the area.

Next to the Cliff of Water is the Cliff of Fire. Here is the Seven Steps Rock, probably used as an observation point. It is made up of 7 steps carved on it, which lead to the top of the rock itself with a beautiful view to the west. Taking into consideration the lack of archaeological excavations, it is not yet possible to define the dating of all these finds.

Top Secret Information

Curiosity: As mentioned the anthropomorphic and zoomorphic shapes of the rocks are most likely the result of nature’s action, there is, however, a curious fact. The eagle-shaped rock (the resemblance is very strong indeed) indicates the direction in which a cave tomb, discovered a short distance away, is located. As chance would have it, for the ancients the eagle had the task of accompanying the deceased on their journey to the afterlife.

The village of Montalbano Elicona and the Malabotta wood

Wood of Malabotta
Secular oak – Davide Mauro , CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Wood of Malabotta
Inside the woods – Davide Mauro , CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Wood of Malabotta
Kondephy , CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Wood of Malabotta
The path – Davide Mauro , CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Bosco di Malabotta, panorama
Panorama – Davide Mauro , CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

A few hundred meters away is also the centuries-old forest of Malabotta, with oaks as old as 600 years. These are what remains of the ancient forests that once covered much of Sicily. You can get there in 5 minutes by car starting from the Argimusco parking lot, proceed slowly though, because the road is full of potholes. Once you arrive at the entrance, leave your car and proceed on foot along the path that goes into the woods, keeping to the right. In order not to get lost, since information is lacking anyway, it is best to follow the main trail and then go straight ahead. After about 30 minutes of dense forest, the first nice viewpoint opens up.

Montalbano Elicona Castle
The castle Effems , CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Montalbano Elicona Castle
Effems , CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Montalbano Elicona Castle
View from the castle – Effems , CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Arms Museum - Montalbano Elicona Castle
The weapons museum inside the castle – Effems , CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Montalbano Elicona Castle
Castle courtyard – Effems , CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Montalbano Elicona Castle
Tower – Effems , CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Dress of the King - Castle of Montalbano Elicona
The King’s Suit – Effems , CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Montalbano Elicona Castle
Effems , CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

The village of Montalbano Elicona

In addition to the woods and Agrimusco it is also recommended to visit the medieval village of Montalbano Elicona, which belongs to the list of the most beautiful medieval villages in Italy. Here you can visit the beautiful Norman castle, the various charming churches and chapels and get lost in its medieval alleys. From the castle you can admire the surrounding wooded hills, the medieval village from above, the sea and the Aeolian islands. Inside are displayed fascinating ancient weapons and the clothes of the king, queen and sons.

Ticket 3 Euro, opening hours: Tue-Sun: 09: 30-13: 30; 15: 00-19: 00. Times and fares may change.

Where to eat in Montalbano Elicona

If you want to try good typical food without spending a lot, you can go to the Taberna di Arnaldo, really nice and well furnished.

Taberna di Arnaldo, Montalbano Elicona
Taberna di Arnaldo, Montalbano Elicona
Taberna di Arnaldo, Montalbano Elicona
Taberna di Arnaldo, Montalbano Elicona
Taberna di Arnaldo, Montalbano Elicona
Taberna di Arnaldo, Montalbano Elicona

Activities loved by tourists in the surrounding area or in Sicily in general

Interactive map – Points of interest in purple

To locate you click on the zoom symbol on the map at the top right.

What to see around Montalbano Elicona

Montalbano Elicona is located in the province of Messina. Here you will find listed the places to visit in Messina and surroundings .

Typical products of Montalbano Elicona

The typical products of Montalbano Elicona are linked to the agricultural and pastoral world. So let’s talk about homemade macaroni with pork sauce, fresh salted and baked ricotta, salami, olive oil and much more.

The town is located in the province of Messina. Here you will find tips on what to eat in Messina and surroundings , here instead you find the typical Sicilian dishes.