FIUMEFREDDO DI SICILIA
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Fiumefreddo di Sicilia is a city in the province of Catania, set 62 m a.s.l. totalling some 9,000 inhabitants. It is much renowned as a citrus fruit producer.
It is endowed with sites and buildings of historical and cultural importance. Amongst the latter are the Mother Church dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the 1700’s fine Palazzetto Diana, graced with lava stone decorations, the Castle of San Marco, in the territory of the neighboring Calatabiano, the 1700’s Castello degli Schiavi (castle of the slaves) built by the Palagonias and designed by celebrated Vaccarini and Ittar.
Fiumefreddo River Nature Reserve – The Fiumefreddo river rises in the North-Eastern slopes of the Etna volcano, flows underground and emerges on the plain where the ground is more impermeable. The river-bed is fed by the two springs of Testa dell’Acqua and Quadare, 10-12m deep. The river’s water, never over 10-15 degrees, even in summer, has a slow flow that enhances the growth of aquatic plants that are typical of the Central Europe like the buttercup and the bulrush.
The river is inhabited by numerous other plants like the white willow, the water iris and the trembling aspen. Its springs are major stopping points for the heron, the woodcock and many species of ducks.
Fiumefreddo di Catania originates from an old feudal land called “Flumen Frigidum” first belonged to the Parisio and subsequently to the Lazzaro families. It remarkably expanded during the first half of the 17th century thanks to the Gravina Cruyullas, Princes of Palagonia and Lords of the neighboring Calatabiano.