From the valley of Beryl to the crests of Prace: in search of the rock crystal that made Gratteri famous in antiquity

There is an enchanted valley between Gratteri and Gibilmanna, in the locality of Valle Nasca, above a stone chapel that people call tribunedda. This place has always aroused the curiosity of treasure hunters, among the shaggy peaks of the Prace mountain massif, in the districts that the shepherds call Rocca Dinàru (Rocca del Denaro) and Lavanca Vrilli (la Vallata del Berillo).

Popular rumours tell of shiny crystals set in the rock above Piano Morto. It is precisely these gems – vulgarly called beryl – which have made the small Madonie citadel of Gratteri famous since ancient times, as Fazello wrote in the 16th century: “Gratterium oppidum Berillo lapide nobile“.

In reality, it is rather a colourless and transparent rock crystal, commonly known as hyaline quartz, which is found in nature in various forms – rough stones, points and druses – considered by ancient peoples to be the stone of the seer, due to its hypnotic and divinatory virtues.

Our excursion will begin in that valley, to climb the highest peaks of the Prace mountain, up to the Prace Abyss, Ciacca and Macabbubbo. After a refreshment at Piano Prato, in front of a breath-taking view, we will descend towards Gratteri, but not before stopping at the Grattàra cave, to discover the natural beauty and legends of a cave with a very clear spring that, according to tradition, gave its name to the village of Gratteri.

For more details on the excursion and on the map of the itinerary, visit the following link:


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