Secret Trails

500EUR per person

Landscape Photography | Beginners, Advanced

It needs more than a miracle to create a so-called “good photograph”. To see what you want to see, you must seek and choose wisely. That’s why we offer this unique itinerary. Forgotten places such as the “Monsters Park”, close to the small village Caltavuturo, lead us to a creative silence. In harmony with nature, we follow the old paths of the Sicilian bandits, learning more about their history and framing the Mountains of the Madonie in their most wild and original form. The workshop aims to discover not only the secrets of photography, but also the secrets of the hidden part of Sicily. After each day immersed in the beauty of the mountains we will return to our premises and work on editing our images during the group screenings. With the constant support of your tutor, the experienced nature photographer Mathia Coco, you will be guided in the production of a personal set of photographs.

30th May – 2nd June 2019
3rd – 6th October 2019

The next workshop is provided for the following date. Please check the availability of places within our booking tool. For more information send a message to mail@siciscatta.com

Your Coach

Mathia Coco will be your workshop coach. He is an experienced nature photographer and video maker who belongs to the Association: „Fotografi Naturalisti Italiani“. Together with his brother Stefano Coco, he founded the production company RICCIO BLU and released the award-winning documentary „Ustica. Gli anni del diamante“. This film tells the extraordinary story of the little Sicilian island Ustica where baseball became a dream of all generations.



Costs included: The Workshop fee of 500 EUR includes: a personal photography coach, local guide, training materials, welcome & farewell dinner, SiciScatta Kit

Discount: 20 % Off for students of photography, visual arts and film (with a document certifying the current studies) and group booking (min. 4 persons).

Costs on tour: Thanks to our partnerships with trustful local operators the estimated amount of travel costs in Sicily will be approximately 450 EUR,  based on a 4-night-stay and the records of our previous trips. Please contact us for more information about your accommodation, meals and local transfers


Our recommendation for your stay during the “Secret Trails”-Workshop is the family-run Agriturismo Cuca, about 3 km  up to the hills of Polizzi Generosa. Embedded in the valley of hazelnuts, in an old villa dating back to the late 18th century, guests can spend their holidays in contact with nature surrounded by unspoilt landscapes and flavours that are in an affordable setting. The agriturismo is on two floors: upstairs is the owners’ home, while downstairs, there is a small apartment, consisting of 2 rooms, a bathroom and a kitchen; one double room with bathroom; a communal room and the kitchens. An outbuilding, once home to the barn,  has 2 rooms with separated bathrooms, including one for disabled guests. The meals are prepared for guests only, and based on products grown on the farm or from the local neighboors. The farm, which has been organic since 2001, produces vegetables, including the local “badda” bean, hazelnuts, fruit-bearing trees and olive plants.

Like all our workshop offers you are free to decide where you stay and if you wish to arrive with your own vehicle or the support of our partners.

Is it for me?

The workshop is suggested to beginners and/or advanced photographers with basic skills who desire to enlarge their personal portfolio with unique documentary and landscape captures and live a collective experience. We expect participants to be familiar with their (digital) camera and lenses and work easily with common post-production tools.

Adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • Destination
  • Departure Time
    9:00 AM from Palermo Central Station.
  • Return Time
    6:00 PM at Palermo Central Station.
  • Included
    Personal Guide
    Photography Coach
    SiciScatta Travel Kit
    Training Materials
    Welcome & Farewell Meal
  • Not Included
We depart in a minivan to the limestone canyon of the Gorges of Tiberio. About 200 million years ago, the river Pollina blazed it's trail through the rocks which created a mystic atmosphere and unique landscape that will be the perfect set-up for our nature shots. Immersed in the rivers flow, we will try to capture the stunning reflections at the rocky walls in the morning light. After a picnic brunch in middle of nature we enjoy the panoramic view over the little village San Mauro Castelverde and head to our accommodation in Polizzi Generosa. Here we will come together for our first photo lab and get to know each other. All photographers will get the chance to introduce themselves with a portfolio of their photographs and exchange ideas about expectations and plans for the following days. 
Our second workshop day will start with a delicious breakfast in the morning and the assignment of your daily "mission". After that we depart for our trekking tour up the mountains where you we will get in touch with nature in Madonie. Lonely mountain trails and unforgettable views on Sicily's rooftop will offer you plenty of colorful landscape shots. Before we will return to our accommodation we enjoy our picnic lunch based on traditional products of the Madonie. In the evening you can join our editing workshop and discussion of the best shots of the day. Here you have the possibility to be inspired by your tutor, other participants and talk about your own impressions. 
After breakfast we leave for the mountain village Caltavuturo, where we meet our local hero Tommaso. It needs a special guide to grasp what lies behind a simple look. For example in forgotten places like the "park of monsters". Here Tommaso will lead us to a creative silence where the pareidolia appears in a unique and personal way within the soul of the olive trees, grown in an extraordinary environment. We will visit ancient sheepfolds among the rocks ands see large valleys with the sea in the background. We will then cross a stone forest up to a cave where in ancient times, the Sicilian bandits hid themselves. All in one day and with the support of Tommaso's vintage Land Rover made to effortlessly cross stony tracks. The last evening together with the group will conclude in a special farewell dinner. 

During the last day you will be free to choose from joining another editing class in the morning or heading to one of the medieval villages in the Madonie that fascinates within its small alleys and historical character. Here you can photograph some imposing street views and bring home a complete set of original images. After lunch we will meet for a last screening of our favorite shots we captured during the workshop and say goodbye to the mountains before we had back to Palermo.

In the northern part of the Province of Palermo you reach the European Geopark "Parco delle Madonie". The Madonie are an extension of the Nebrodi and Peloritan mountains at the east side of Sicily. The Madonie boast Pizzo Carbonara (Carbonara Peak) is the highest point in Sicily after Mount Etna, with 1979 meters (about 6000 feet). Other summits in the high peaks range of the Madonie are Mount San Salvatore (1912 m), Mount Ferro (1906 m), Mount Mùfara (1865 m) and Corcò Peak (1857 m). Many of the towns nestled into the Madonie are founded by the Saracen Arabs, around the ninth century, and have been grown up to larger villages within the Normans conquest. Several are built upon former Greek and Roman settlements. The Madonie region extends, between the towns of Gratteri, Isnello, San Mauro Castelverde, Scillato and Castelbuono, from the Pollina to the Imera rivers, reaching down the coast of Cefalù. Driving northward along the Palermo-Catania highway you reach the stretch near Polizzi Generosa, Sclafani Bagni, Caltavuturo (former Arab Kalat-Abi-Thur) and Collesano. Here you pass a series of high rocky peaks usually covered with snow from late December until mid-March. Other typical villages on the Eastern side of the Madonie are Geraci Siculo, Gangi, Petralia Sottana and Petralia Soprana. The land itself is mostly wooded and houses a few wild cats and deer, porcupines, foxes, hares and numerous birds of prey like eagles and hawks. Among the native flora are the giant holly (some over three hundred years old), wild olives (oleasters), and the rare local variety of Madonian Spruce or "Sicilian Fir", as well as the flowering Manna Ash. Like many "micro-regions," the Madonie has its own cuisine, and a typically rural lifestyle. It's a favorite area for hiking and at Piano Battaglia you will find also a skiing ressort for a few weeks between December and February. Indeed, these mountains are the only area in western Sicily where snow typically lasts for more than a few days. The Tiberio Gorge, formed from limestone erosion, on the Pollina River near San Mauro Castelverde, is one of the area's many attractions.
  • Workshop type: Landscape & Nature Photography
  • Skill level: Beginners, Advanced
  • Class: 4-8 participants
SiciScatta Travel Kit:
  • Personalized map of Sicily
  • Digital Guide on Google Maps
  • Lecture about cultural side looks, local project and history
  • SD Memory Card for your camera
What you need to bring?
  • Digital photo camera, with everything that comes around (cables, charger, card reader) Consider an external hard disk to make a back up of your daily shooting.
  • Minimum of lenses (we recommend a 24-50mm prime lense + zoom lense and/or tele lense)
  • Laptop and charger
  • Other photo equipment (tripod, filter and what ever you desire)
  • Comfortable footwear (for trekking)
  • Swimsuit (optional)
Find here all detailed information about our terms & conditions.