Rough asphalt, "to the French": beautiful slope but really difficult. Road recently also chosen by Ferrari and Mercedes to promote new models of their cars, this scenic road overlooks the sea of Taormina and climb it at dawn, with the sun rising behind the Calabrian Aspromonte, offers unique emotions.
The problem is that it covers 1,322 meters in 17.8 kilometers, practically the same length as the Nicolosi slope but with an average gradient of 7%. And it did not end here: because the Zafferana side, less "modern" than that of Nicolosi, not disturbed or worse destroyed by lava flows for a long time, retains a more ancient type of asphalt: big grains, like asphalt draining, good for road safety, but the smoothness goes to bless. And watch out, the biggest pitfall, is that along at least 90 minutes you do not find any supply station, nor a bar, nor a fountain to fill the water bottle, unless you ride on a public holiday when, in Piano del Vescovo (1,400 meters) find the street vendors of honey and then a teaspoon of nectar and a bottle of water will not refuse it: experience already experienced personally.
You must know that Zafferana is the country of honey, they breed bees and produces honey of countless qualities and variations, but be careful not to make you surprise half way up short of water or food, because the penalty is to have to do behind -front.
After the course in Zafferana, with a dry turn to the left, the road begins to rise immediately above 10%, with a straight eight hundred meters flanked by the Zafferanese amphitheater. Continuing to climb towards the summit you pass in order in front of the hotels Airone and Emmaus, and then leave behind the polygon shooting clay. At that point no more traces of human settlements, up to the top you will be only you and your effort.
Also this side, like that of Nicolosi, is completely free of vegetation and even here, excluding the two hundred meters of flat at an altitude of one thousand near the clay pigeon shooting and the other one hundred meters of plain at an altitude of 1,400 meters of Piano del Vescovo it does not spring for a moment and goes up smoothly without tearing.
Close to the goal, above 1,800 meters, just a few coniferous trees on the sides and especially ruined asphalt and still less flowing than what you find below. Then finally when you glimpse the cone of the Silvestr crater you can breathe a sigh of relief, a little more than five minutes of climbing and gliding in the Piazzale del Rifugio Sapienza that you will never see until the slope of the climb.
Comune di Ragalna
Comune di Nicolosi
Comune di Pedara
Comune di Zafferana
Comune di Milo
Comune di Linguaglossa
Comune di Sant'Alfio