The Pietra Cappa loop and the Rocche di S. Pietro
We are in the north-eastern area of Aspromonte National Park, called “Valley od the Great stones”, in the municipalities of San Luca and Careri, in that area which was chosen, many centuries ago, by the Basilian monks arrived from East, who were looking for impervious and lonely places, ideal for their ascetic and hermitic life. Silence is a constant along this path, the landscape’s beauty is an enjoyment for the spirit and the physical…
The hiking path starts from the St. Giorgio toll booth, from where we begin to go downhill along a wooden protective barrier that leads to the ruins of the little church of St. Giorgio. From here we can already see the imposing geological monolith of Pietra Cappa, on the other side of which, towards Carrà, there’s a forest of majestic chestnut trees. After passing the ruins of the little church, you’ll find yourself in a young holm oak forest and once you come out of it, you’ll be opposite the huge rock of Pietra Cappa, which seems to change forms as you walk around and look at it. According to recent studies, many geologists believe that its rounded shape was mold by the action of the last ice age.
We continue by following the path that winds around the monolith and allows us to go around it and to view it from many different perspectives. In front of us so there is the “Valley of the Great Stones”, huge monolithic rocks with extravagant shapes, repositories of legends and history; so there the “Rocche of St. Peter”, dug centuries ago to house the hermitage of byzantine monks; so there “Pietra Castello” (i.e. Castel Rock), with the ruins of ancient fortifications; and so there the grandeur of “Pietra Longa” (i.e. Long Rock) and the roundness of Stranghiolo. Everything immersed in antiquated forests of chestnut trees and oaks.
We are in front of a unique area, that fascinate for the majestic shapes that the Nature has taken and for the legends and the ancient history – of monks who lived here in prayer and solitude – that these stones can tell.
|Place||Casello San Giorgio|
|Starting location||St. Giorgio toll booth|
|Arrival location||St. Giorgio toll booth|
|Difference in altitude||15 m/td>|
|Minimum altitude||670 m above sea level (St. Giorgio toll booth)|
|Maximum altitude||685 m above sea level (Loop’s beginning)|
|Time||1 hour 30’|
|Route lenght||2.200 m|
|Periods of accessibility||Always|