The thermal pool of Sclafani Bagni by bike
Sclafani Bagni thermal baths by bike
the Madonie mountains
The Madonie is a mountainous ridge that is located in the northern part of Sicily. From an administrative point of view, they are entirely included in the metropolitan city of Palermo. Confinano to the east with another ridge, that of the Nebrodi Mountains. Madonie and Nebrodi together with the Peloritani mountains in the province of Messina, make up the Sicilian Apennines which is completely crossed by the longest Italian cycle route: the Appeninobiketour.
The mountain group of the Madonie consists of a karstic plateau that includes the highest peaks of Sicily after Etna and for this reason it is of great cycling interest, so much to be the scene of many races and events for both mountain bikes and road bikes .
The Madonie are the main source of water supply in Palermo and its metropolitan area, thanks to the numerous sources of excellent drinking water, some of which are also exploited at a commercial level as that of the area of Geraci Siculo.
The old village of Polizzi Generosa
The town of Polizzi Generosa stands on a spur of calcareous rock at 920 meters above sea level, surrounded by the yellow of the wheat in summer and the intense green of the vegetation in the winter months. Fascinating, ancient and well cared for, its alleys tell an ancient story that begins as early as the 6th century BC and it comes to the present day with a load of popular traditions and historic buildings just waiting to be explored.
From the Hazelnut Festival to the San Gandolfo Fair, the city of Polizzi Generosa welcomes tourists and cyclists with gastronomic delights and historic buildings of absolute value such as the Mother Church or the Madonita Environmental Museum.
The ancient tradition of tailoring the city has always been famous throughout Sicily and, for some years, even around the world since one of the most famous Italian stylists in the world comes from Polizzi: Domenico Dolce of the famous Dolce & Gabbana.
The mantle of the Madonna that is carried in procession has been designed and created by the famous designer as well as the “vara” (sedan that is studded with Swarovski).
The village of Caltavuturo
The route from Polizzi Generosa to Sclafani Bagni involves passing near the town of Caltavuturo, another fascinating village in the Madonie area.
The town is dominated by the mountain “Rocca di Sciara” and presumably born as a fortress in the Byzantine period. Like any other village or city in the area, even Caltavuturo has been the scene of clashes and conquests over the centuries that have led to various dominations. The populations that have followed have obviously left many traces in the gastronomy, traditions and architecture of the city.
The Village of Sclafani Bagni
The small village of Sclafani Bagni is as beautiful as it is full of history and mystery. On its origins the local scholars have indulged in making fascinating and fairytale hypotheses. What is certain is that this village has a very ancient and troubled history that saw it at the center of struggles between the peoples who alternated taking control of the interior of Sicily.
Unfortunately, in recent years Sclafani, like many other Sicilian villages has witnessed a progressive depopulation that today has led him to count just over 400 inhabitants. This, like all the other charming villages of the inland areas of Sicily, is worth a visit by bike, on foot or by car.
Sclafani Bagni was famous for its spa facilities that unfortunately are now abandoned and in ruins. However it is possible to bathe in the pool of warm water in the open country, easily reachable and not bounded by any fence.
The puddle has a very pleasant temperature and a pungent sulphurous smell. According to the locals, its water is miraculous for the treatment of skin diseases (mycoses) and for the pains deriving from arthrosis.
We have no evidence of the miraculous effects of this pool but without doubt we can say that it is a magical place to relax after cycling on the provincial and state of the area with eyes full of the views of the imposing Madonie Mountains.
The Cycling Route
The itinerary is not particularly demanding but has a very “undulatory” trend with continuous ups and downs that require a minimum of physical preparation. The road surface conditions are not exactly at the top but you can cover it with any type of bike.
The climbs are extremely scenic so it is easy to forget the effort, then the descents are fun and in some cases allow you to reach not indifferent speeds.
The poor traffic allows you to pedal in relaxation without the worry of the car but a little prudence never hurts, especially in the “blind” corners on the hairpin bends that are quite frequent.
This itinerary is not a punctual and detailed guide but only a suggestion to spend a day on a bike in joy and relaxation, never neglecting prudence and safety.
The GPs Track
These are the traces of the itinerary from Polizzi Generosa to Sclafani Bagni. This article is not a guide but only a suggestion to pay the utmost caution in taking a spectacular but challenging route, with very challenging stretches. Always use common sense, equip yourself with all the necessary safety devices and …. Good road!
Max elevation: 903 m
Min elevation: 371 m
Total climbing: 1080 m
Total descent: -611 m