The PGI Sicilian Red Orange Route extends in three Etna territories: the Calatino area, the Leontinoi lands and the Simeto valley, where the PGI red orange growing is prominent.
The Route starts from the Calatino area, located at the core of Sicily and characterized by rich history, culture and millennial agricultural traditions. Calatino is mainly hilly and it extends from the southern Erei mounts to the north-western Iblei mounts, including a portion of the Catania plain.
Several archaeological sites report that the Calatino was inhabited since ancient times. Natural trails wind between woods and marvellous rural landscapes, rich in mediterranean plants and animal life.
Stately villas and large farms are not only accomodation facilities, but they produce excellences, mainly PGI red oranges in that particularly suitable terrain, but also the Violetto artichoke from Ramacca, the PGI table grape from Mazzarrone, prickly pears from San Cono and delicious cheeses. The Calatino is known also for the artisanal mastery in modelling the fine Caltagirone pottery, with its fine decor and elegqnt shapesa, a millennial tradition renewed.
The tour of the of the PGI Sicilian Red Orange continues entering with walks through the orange groves of the most qualified farm in the area, in contexts of particular interest in terms of nature and landscapes. The route includes visits to the historical towns perched around the Margi valley, crossed by the Margi creek that Springs in correspondence with the watershed at the border between the Iblei and Erei mounts. Some rural villages give the opportunity to discover the ancient traditions of the farm life:
- Mineo and Palagonia area are in the so called Palici territory. The Palicis mith describe them as twin sons of Jupiter and the nimph Talia. They were born from the earth womb, where their mother was hidden; they are probably the personification of two sulphurous thermal Springs once in the area.
- Grammichele presents a distinctive octagonal plan designed by the will of the Carafa Prince, that rebuilt it after the 1963 earthquake, responsible of the destruction of the Val di Noto. The tour includes also a visit to the archaeological park of Occhiolà.
- Caltagirone, notorious for its pottery factory, enchants with the 142 decorated steps of the Santa Maria del Monte staircase, the municipal villa (one of the most beautiful historical garden in Europe), the Pottery Museum, magnificent churches and aristocratic palaces.
- Visit to the orange grove in a farmhouse;
- Orange picking and tasting of different PGI red variety, depending on season and host requirements;
- Cooking class focused on local production, with a special attention to PIG Sicilian Red Orange;
- Guided tour in the Palici territory, Grammichele and Caltagirone;
- Visit to PDO Cerasuolo di Vittoria wine cellar.
The PGI Sicilian Red Orange is a fresh citrus fruit obtained from the Tarocco, Moro and Sanguinello varieties. It is characterized by pigments called anthocyanins that lendit the distinctive red colour.