Chestnuts, taste the flavor of autumn in Sicily


Autumn is chestnut season. This fruit is the symbol of this period and, especially during the coldest days, the scent of roasted chestnuts and their warmth ‘cuddle’ the palate…and the spirit! Picking them up is fun, and in Sicily there are several places where you can find them. Chestnuts thus become an opportunity to organize a day-trip and fully enjoy the magic of October. Let’s find out where to go together!

Chestnuts are the iconic fruit of autumn. When the aroma of roasted chestnuts is in the air, you immediately feel the ‘cozy’ atmosphere of this period, and even if the temperature drops it doesn’t matter…it’s always time for harvesting chestnuts! The tradition of collecting chestnuts and then roasting them together with friends is carried on in various parts of the world, including Italy and Sicily, of course. When the burrs are full and heavy, the wind detaches them from the branches of the trees and once they are on the ground and open…it’s a ‘shower’ of chestnuts ready to take home. From October to the end of November, grab a basket, take a walk in the woods and start your search. Here are some ideas by Sicilian Secrets on where to go.

Mount Etna

It is said that chestnuts from the Etna woods have a special flavor! The volcanic soil gives them this unique characteristic, moreover it is possible to find numerous chestnut groves in all the slopes of this majestic mountain. And it is precisely in this area, that every Sunday in October the so-called Ottobrata takes place. Zafferana Etnea, in the province of Catania, celebrates typical local products, from food to crafts, and obviously among the centerpieces of this event there are also delicious chestnuts. This year the 42nd edition of Ottobrata Zafferanese, the most important gastronomic event in Southern Italy, takes place on 2nd – 9th – 16th – 23rd – 30th of this month, and the last Sunday is the one in which the Chestnut and Wine Festival is organized. 

Etna woods (Credits:


Another Sicilian place for harvesting chestnut is Mezzojuso, in the province of Palermo. In this area there is a wonderful chestnut grove where you can find a lot of chestnuts. In addition, usually in the last weekend of October, the Chestnut Festival is organized. This event came about to make people discover this traditional product rooted in the community of Mezzojuso that can be used for many recipes that still preserve the scents and memories of the past.

Mezzojuso (Credits:

Nature reserve Bosco della Ficuzza

Still remaining in the province of Palermo, we move towards Corleone to visit Bosco della Ficuzza, the largest wood in western Sicily. Here is the Castagnera that is the ideal place to stop for the chestnut harvest. Organizing your own excursion in nature is an opportunity to fully experience the beauty of autumn, with changing colors and new shades that paint the landscape.

Bosco della Ficuzza (Credits:

Other corners of Sicily where you can go and pick chestnuts…

Would you like some more tips for your October chestnut harvest? Sicily never disappoints! So, take note of these places. The chestnut woods of Rocca Busambra and Bosco del Cappelliere are basically part of Bosco della Ficuzza. In the Madonie, however, it is worth exploring the surroundings of Castelbuono and in particular the chestnut groves of San Guglielmo, thanks to  some paths this place is perfect for trekking lovers.

Hundred Horse Chestnut (Credits:

The last gem is the Hundred Horse Chestnut. We are on the slopes of Etna, and here stands this incredible tree counted in the Guinness Book of World Records. How old is it? It is more than 2,000 years old, so it is the oldest and largest tree in Europe. Since 2008 the Hundred Horse Chestnut has been declared a ‘Messenger of Peace Monument’ by UNESCO.

Did you like tasting the flavor of autumn? Discover all tours by Dimensione Sicilia and keep on following Sicilian Secretsread the articles on our blog and the interviews, without forgetting the news on our Facebook page and Instagram.

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