gruppo escursionisti d'aspromonte
Via Castello, 2 - 89125 Reggio Calabria
FROM THE ASPROMONTE TO THE SERRE ON "THE BRIGAND'S PATH"
The Brigand's path is a long itinerary that develops, from south to north, along the ridges of the Aspromonte and of the Serre
This was the natural way covered, during the millennia, by Sicilian People by the Bruzi and Lucani, by the inhabitants of Graecia Magna and by Romans, ad so on.
They used this itinerary to move easily along the bottom of the Calabria Peninsula, without running into the unpratcticable gorges in the middle coast or into the coast swamps or marsnes.
During the centuries of the intense Greek and Roman colonization, the route Annia-Popilia was traced out; but the ridge way, the great route was the favourite way of brigands, rebels and fugitives.
This itinerary has an important historical interest that is witnessed in the distance between the Zomaro and the Merchant's Passage by the rests of long walls that are the traces of camps and fortifications, dating back to the "Bellum Spartacium" and in particular to the struggle here appened, in the winter between 72 and 71 b.C., between the Slaves' army and the Roman legions lead by the general Marco Licinio Grasso.
To the north, in the triangle Mongiana - serra San Bruno - Stilo, the traces of man's way and history are also more evident.
The Chartehouse of Serra San Bruno, the Cathedral in Stilo, San Giovanni Theresti, the Ferdinandea, Guida's Baths, are the witness of an intense civil and cultural life like the ironworks at Mongiana, the hydroelecric generating station at Bivongi, and the mines in the Basin of the Stilaro tell us about a happy season of economical and social development.
But this itinerary is also interesting for its naturalist features.
By going along all the 120 Kms of the "Brigand's Path" the excursionist will come into contact with most of the arboreus essences and of the vegetable endemiae that characterize the Aspromonte and the Serre.
He will also cross broad streams and brooks, he will quench his thirst at the water springs that flow directly from the roks, he will go along green and sunny glades, he will lean out dreadful precipices and he will contemplate wonderful water falls.
And all around a landscape unique in the world characterized by an intense green of the mountain, by the blue of the two seas, by picturesque villages set among the mountains and the apocalyptic landscapes that characterize the high Valley of the Torbido, by the Sciarapotamo, by the Marro of Ciminà and by the broad streams of Platì.
Unlike the other itineraries, the Brigand's Path crosses areas with low density of population and thus provided with few facilities such as restaurants, hotels, and inns. This characteristic makes this itinerary similar to the mountain ones where the excursionistic pratice is deep rooted.
It takes from 6 to 8 days of walking to go along the path that is characterized by red-white-red signs and by number 1. Yet we advise you to folow these ten halting places that can be covered in the two ways in the span of the day partially enjoying the path itself: Gambarie - Piano Melia; Piano melia - Sanatorio ; Sanatorio - Trepidò - Canolo ; Canolo - Passo della Limina - Croce Ferrata ; Croce Ferrata - Mongiana ; Mongiana - Ferdinandea ; Ferdinandea - Serra San Bruno ; Serra San Bruno - Bivongi - Pazzano - Stilo.
FROM SAMO TO MONTALTO, A TRIP IN THE ASPROMONTE'S HEART
In order to celebrate the Jubelee Year of 1900, Twenty monuments dedicated to The Redemeer, were set on twenty italian mountains
The Redemeer's statue, that stood on a marble basement over ten metres high, with the passing of times was so damaged by the inclemency of the weather that an operator in mission for the Military Geographic Institute in 1937 wrote: " only the basement of the statue has been found ".
Since then the statue has been rebuilt twice.
Since 20 th August 1994, not to far from the statue, there is also a bronze compass - card set on a stone monoblock from Lazzaro. Besides being an orientation instrument for excursionists, the compass card is also the symbol of research, reason, tolerance and brotherhood.
It is thanks to G.E.A. that the idea of the compass card has been realized thanks also the support of the Rotary and Lions Clubs of Reggio Calabria.
Montalto, with its landscape, with its silence, with its symbols is thus a destination privileged by excursionists and also an important cross-road for those who walk trough the Aspromonte
In Montalto you can also find Italy Path that, in five halting-places, leads to Polsi, Costantin Lake, to San Luca, Pietra Kappa and to Zervò where it connects the Brigand's Path. From Montalto, another path winds towards Gambarie, seat of the National Park of Aspromonte, to Join again to the Brigand's Path and all the itineraries of the territory. Near Montalto the Bova-Delianuova winds. Finally the itinerary that begins from Samo leads to Montalto, from the eastern side of the Aspromonte.
Samo the ancient Precacore, a Greek origin village on 200 metres above the sea, is linked to the Ionic Coast through a road suitable for vehicles that in few minutes leads to Bianco. Mountain Territories which are near Montalto, can be reached only on foot.
The only road suitable for vehicles, which has been built recently, is 1000 ms above the sea in totally unihabited areas, among woods ans ravines.
The several paths that for centuries and still today have been the only way of communication between the sea and the mountain, keep all their interest.
These paths, often dug in the rock by rude and wise hands, cross an unreal landscape characterized by ravines and gotges, by sunny peaks, by impenetrable woods, deep valley and impetuous torrents.
The itinerary proposed, used for the exploitation of woods and for pasture, was one of the privileged ways to get to western Aspromonte, together with the way that passed through Africo Vecchio and the "Campi di Bova".
But it was also the way followed by pilgrins that numerous went to the Shrine of Polsi on September festivities. The path, marked by a red-withe-red sign and by number 12, can be covered in two days, with a halting-place on Monte Jofri.
FROM BOVA TO DELIANUOVA ON THE ANCIENT GREEKS' STEPS
The inhabitants of the Greek Colonies on the ionic Coast of Reggio Calabria, searching more fertile lands and new markets, but also looking for safe landing places on the Tyrrhenian Sea, crossed over the Aspromonte in order to found important settlements on the western side.
The inhabitants of Locri founded Medma, near Rosarno, Metauro, today's Gioia Tauro and Hipponion, Vibo Valentia. Also the inhabitants of Delia, a little town on the mouth of the broad stream Saint Pasquale - between the actual Bova Marina and Palizzi - climbed up the ridges of the Aspromonte in search for new lands but also for safer places defensible from incursions coming from the sea. Most of them settled in Bova, others scattered through the Ionic side of the Aspromonte till Africo, some others went beyond it in order to found the ancient Paracorio, near Pedavoli.
Today Pedavoli and Paracorio are two centres forming Delianuova, an important centre leaning on the plane of Gioia Tauro and on tyrrhenian sea, even though the inhabitants of the two centres have not forgotten yet their different origins and their ancient rivarly.
Till the end of the XIX century the path traced out by the inhabitants of Delia has favoured intense exchange among the populations of Bova, Africo and Paracorio linked by brotherhood relations that cemented during patronal feasts.
The inhabitants of Bova and those of Africo, went to Paracorio on Saint Domenica's festivity, while the inhabitants of Paracorio went to Bova to celebrate Saint Leo.
Those who will have the chance to meet an old shepherd could ask him to revive, through his voice and his emotions, the long walking along the path that let to Paracorio.
They left from Africo, Bova and Roghudi before the sunrising, crossed over the Aspromonte and go to the market with their faithful travelling companion, the mule, burden with food stuffs.
In the first afternoon they came back home.
The building of more confortable roads suitable for vehicles, people moving from mountains to the sea, the abandoning of the typical activities of the rural and pastoral world, have made this path lose its function that had been described also by the English traveller Norman Douglas in his book OLD CALABRIA.BR>
Nowadays, the fans of the mountain and the excursionists may go along that path that holds all the history's fascination and live the same labour and the same emotions that so many men have lived a long before. Finally they may enjoy the splendour of the uncontaminated nature and unforgettable landscapes.
It takes from two day to four to go along this path marked by a red-white-red sign and by number two.
The main halting-places are: Bova-Roghudi ; Roghudi - Pesdavoli ; Pesdavoli - Materazzelli ; Materazzelli - Carmelia ; Carmelia - Delianuova
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Such ways, all identificable by maks of different colours, are described and traced out by a specific map realized by G.E.A. (Trekking in the National Park of Aspromonte - Map of paths - Territory of Gambarie) that can be ordered through e-mail directly to Promocalabria.