Both my and Emanuele’s childhood (his maternal grandfather was a native of the place) are related to the Buccheri pine forest, and maybe in the next articles, he will tell you about his relationship with the small village in the Iblei Mountains.
When I was a child, luckily, I didn’t get sick often (as an adult, however, I got my own back great 😀 ). But when my sister Alessandra or I got sick, our parents were always there to try to get us cured as quickly as possible.
The friend’s remedy
One day we got sick at the same time: whooping cough. It would have been better if it never happened. A friend of the family suggested to my parents an old healing method, that is, letting us breathe the air of the barn. Indeed, this method was in vogue in ancient times. Today is considered as an alternative medicine to prevent some respiratory diseases, as the not particularly clean air of the farms strengthens our immune system (attention, I’m not saying that this method is a recognized treatment, so always consult your doctor). And so my father decided to take us right there, to breathe deeply the fresh air in the farm :D, but we didn’t like it very much …
The pediatrician’s remedy
Anyway, my parents decided rightly to consult the pediatrician. She said that the mountain air would certainly benefit us. My father thought of the wood of Santa Maria, better known as the Buccheri pine forest. At that time, we lived in Villasmundo, which is about 50 km from Buccheri. So, when dad came home from work, we all set out on the road.
Monte Lauro and the Buccheri pine forest
The pine forest is located almost on top of Monte Lauro, which belongs to the chain of the Iblei Mountains and is part of an underwater volcanic complex that is no longer active. Its peak is the highest in the area (987 meters above sea level) so, several antennas of radio and television broadcasting stations have been installed in this area.
After about thirty years, I returned to the Buccheri pine forest several times, and I must say that it hasn’t changed so much. It is still an equipped area for lovers of outdoor picnics and for families who want to enjoy spring or cool mountain summers in Sicily. I found the seats, tables, and barbecues in lava stone, which can be used by everyone to make grills (preferably with local game, especially Palazzolo sausage or Nebrodi black pig sausage).
For some years now, you must pay the ticket if you want to access the pine forest and use the equipped area inside. Furthermore, Parcallario has been set up, an adventure park for adults and children with a naturalistic theme, where it is possible to have fun in the acrobatic routes built on the trees.
Memories of the pine forest
But let’s go back in time. To reach the summit of Monte Lauro, where the air was even purer, we had to take an uphill path between very tall pines and dense vegetation. I, among other things, suffer from vertigo, and seeing the precipice to my right was not a pleasant feeling, so I had to hold on to mom or dad. Sometimes, daddy even took us on his shoulders. However, once you reach the top, you forget the effort you made before. The view is truly breathtaking. All that green…! We stayed there for a while to breathe that fresh and clean air and then went back down to go back home.
The pine forest is a great place. I remember that there, for the first time, as a child, I tasted Smurf ice cream. Do you know it? It is blue, of course, and we all agree on that. On the taste, however, there are different opinions. Some feel mint, others anise, and others vanilla. In the end, the Smurf flavor is nothing more than a milk ice cream, whose aroma changes depending on the type of dye used 🙂
In the woods of Santa Maria, however, there is also the hermitage of Santa Maria delle Grazie. The Carmelite friars were the first to guard it in 1614, and then, in 1620, the Capuchins moved there.
The last time I went to the Buccheri pine forest with my parents, I was seventeen. We had organized a picnic with our friends and neighbors to celebrate the end of the school year. I remember the breaded cutlet sandwiches and us playing tug of war. Good times …
And you, have you ever visited the Buccheri pine forest? What are your memories?
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