Mammola and the “Path of the Greeks”
Mammola is a charming little medieval town located in the Torbido Valley, close to Limina Pass and only 9 km far from the Ionian Sea, at the northern feet of Aspromonte Massif.
Fascinating narrow alleys, stairs, ascents and little squares intertwine in amongst churches, modest homes and old mansions adorned with granite gates. Its history is linked to the presence of the oriental monasticism, particularly to the basilian monk Nicodemus, Patron Saint of the town, who lived on the uplands of Mount Kellerano. Mammola is renowned for its culinary tradition, especially for smoked ricotta and stockfish.
At the village’s entrance there’s one of the Gates for accessing Aspromonte National Park. Exactly from the Park Gate of Mammola, one of “historical” paths of the Park begins: the “Path of the Greeks”. In the Greek age, in fact, the colonies on the Ionian side communicated with those on the Tyrrhenian coast, especially Medma and Hipponion (today’s Rosarno and Vibo Valentia), through ridge paths that allowed exchanges of goods; the “Path of the Greeks” runs through again just a segment of these ancient communication ways. The first part of the path is walked by the Mammola pilgrims too, who travel to Mount Kellerano in May, when there’s the festival of the Patron Saint.
After taking a dirt road, we continue along the Torbido River for about 1 km. Once at Macariace Torrent – today a geological site with an ancient arsenic mine – we take a path that reach the historic palace of Barillaro family (XVII sec.). We continue on a sharp ascent and, after stopping at the Seja Fountain, we reach a wonderful plain dominated by Mount Kellerano, where the sense of vastness is breathtaking. The building of the St. Nicodemus Church stands out and houses the statue of the Patron Saint of Mammola and the frescoes of the artist Nik Spatari. From the churchyard there’s the access to a basement building containing the remains of the walls and apses of what once was the monastery founded by the Saint. On the opposite site of the sanctuary, an easy path leads to the cave where the Saint retired to pray.
Once we have come down from Kellerano, continuing on the asphalted road and following along the base of Mount Limina, we’ll arrive at “Limina Pass”, where this path ends (n° 212 of the Land Registry of the Park).
|Arrival location||Limina Pass|
|Difference in altitude||622 m|
|Minimum altitude||200 m above sea level (Mammola)|
|Maximum altitude||822 m above sea level (Limina Pass)|
|Route lenght||9.350 m|
|Periods of accessibility||Always|