Located at the foot of Mount Etna in the Alcàntara Valley, Rustìca covers approximately 140 hectares of land. Due to the presence of both the volcano and the river the geological profile is unique with one of a kind ecological characteristics. The success of Sicily’s olive cultivation since ancient times is a testimony to these characteristics.
The importance of Randazzo as a crossroads began with the introduction of the European Olive (Olea Europea) by the Phoenicians during the XII century B.C.
Grape cultivation between Mount Etna and the Ionian Sea dates back to the XVII century B.C, as described in the Odyssey and confirmed by the discovery of ancient vineyards and wine presses.
From the second half of the XVIII century wine production spurred a significant alteration of the landscape and also saw immense economic, demographic and urban development. In the 1800s ‘Grand Tour’ travellers would describe the former County of Mascali as
a true “Mediterranean Garden”.
Despite having been abandoned for thousands of years, the Rocca Pizzicata ’s sandstone structure houses a variety of interesting elements. The formation appears to have been principally used as an altar, looking out towards the Ionian Sea.
To the North-West also stands a number of unusual rock structures, among them the remains of a chamber likely used as a tomb. Continuing upwards one finds a Greek Agora created sometime between the IV-III centuries BC, before eventually arriving at a fantastically preserved Byzantine wine press.
Beyond the altar one can also find a shelter most likely used by people from the ancient Greek city of Tindari during the Byzantine occupation in the VI Century AD. At a later state (from the XVIII century AD) the shelter could possibly have been used as a hideout for local bandits.