The Alcantara Gorge

Motto Camastra Travel Blog

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Next we stop in the middle of a 1 ½ lane bridge to take in the Alcantara River and its small falls. Its name is Arabic and means “the bridge”. It refers to a bridge found in Roman times by the Arabs. It was a lava flow that was then carved by water the river that we see today.


As we continue, Paolo stops briefly to show is a 7-9th century Byzantine church called “Cuba”. It was just out of


Castiglione on the way to Mojo Alcantara.


We continue through the mountains and can see a great town that is halfway up the opposite mountain side. It contours with the mountainside like it was poured onto it. The town of Motto Camastra, with only 925 residents, rests at 453 meters above sea level. Its most significant historical site is the Cathedral Church dedicated to St.

Michele Arcangelo that dates back to 500 AD.


The ruins of the Citadel at Franavilla stand proud. It was founded by the Normans in the year 1000.


We finally arrive at the last stop, the Alcantara Gorge (canyon). It is known all over the world for it spectacular basalt prisms formed by the interference between the incandescent lava and the slow cooling along the course of the Alcantara River.


As we got out, I first noticed a bridge with interesting details peeking though underneath. I took a few photos and climbed atop the bridge to find a jewel of a house in terrible condition, a shame for sure! You see these houses all over the countryside.

We would love to have one and fix it up….a dream.


Across the street at the sign that tells you of all of the precautions that you need to take upon setting out to visit the gorge. The English translation is terrible. Read through the mistakes. Some of them are so bad that you have no idea what the intention is.


We climb down the steep 300 steps (I’ve climbed much more) to the gorge bottom. I know I say this, maybe too often but, no painter or sculptor could better the fantastic geometric shapes and textures that you will see here. There is only one other place in the world that you can see such basalt designs and that is in Iceland where similar volcanic activity created the same natural art.


I picked up 2 beautiful rocks. They have the most amazing colors and patterns. I have my souvenir from the Alcantara Gorge.

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Motto Camastra
photo by: delsol67