Celtic basalt cross dominating the courtyard at the centre of the
Nelson Duchy is the only memento, left by his heirs, in Admiral
Horatio Nelson honor.
The Serra del Mergo Obelisk,
even if improperly known as the Nelson Obelisk, was erected instead
to honor one of his descendant: the fourth Duke of Bronte, Alexander
It was erected in 1905, at some kilometre from the Castle, in
the area of Serra del Mergo (1553 m. a. s. l.), close to Serra
del Re (1754 m. a s l) and Foresta Vecchia zone, by the
Duke Alexander Nelson-Hood in honour of his father deceased a year
At the base a large memorial tablet, now worn-out by time, holds a
writing in Latin that shows the date of its placing in memory of
Alexander Nelson-Hood, “illustrious descendant of the immortal
hero of the Nile”:
ALEXANDER NELSON HOOD DUCA BRONTIS,
QUI IN HAEC RURA,
QUAE ESEMPIO HAEREDITATE ACCEPERAT,
PLECLARO PARENTE HEROE IMMORTALI NILI, HUMANITATIS ET PROGRESSUS
NATUS FUIT 23 DECEMBRIS 1814
OBIIT 4 JUNII 1904,
FILIUS AMORE IMPULSUS HOS SIGUM POSUIT,
The Obelisk (1553 m. asl, already visible from a distance, is placed on
a panoramic spot and dominates what was once the Nelson’s estate (nearly
25.000 hectares of land).
view sweeps from mount Soro (1847 m.) to the Trearie Lake and the Nebrodi
forests and, turning south, to the imposing bulk of Mount Etna than
dominates Bronte and the other towns in its slopes, and, finally, looking
below, you can see the small Maniace village and the Nelson Castle to
whose history the Obelisk belongs.
How to reach it
Obelisk was put up on the Duchy highest and most northerly boundary, in
zone Serra Mergo on the Nebrodi Mountains.
The monument has now lost its original meaning to become the destination
of an enchanting excursion and a good starting point for the several
paths that go through the Nebrodi Park.
From the Nelson Castle, gone past the bridge over the Saracena torrent,
at the crossroad proceed to right.
Go along the asphalt road that skirts the little English cemetery where
are buried the Dukes and, from 1905, the English poet William Scharp,
and go straight for about 4 kilometre, steeply up to the Taiti houses as
far as the Corpo forestale di Segheria refuge.
Here it is better to park the car and proceed on foot, even if, in the
hot months, it is possible to continue with a four wheel drive till the Serra
The landscape is enchanting. After a first stretch of dirt road you get
back on asphalt and at the next crossroad turn left and soon after, near
a gate, proceed to the right on a dirt road going up.
The journey takes no more than about 90 minutes alternating woody
stretches to open areas.
Obelisk placed in a spot of extraordinary beauty and great charm,
because of general indifference is, in fact, completely neglected
and subject to any kind of vandalism. (photo Faranda)