EXCURSION from Staiti to Monte Cerasia
Elevation difference: 464 m
Altitude: Staiti (549 metres above sea level) – Monte Cerasia (1,013 metres above sea level))
Time required: 3 hours
Water:drinking fountains at Staiti and at the beginning of the dirt track, a fountain at Acqua Ruggiata
Ordinance Survey Map: F° 255 III SO Africo; 264 IV NO Palizzi
Monte Cerasia is an exceptional and under-appreciated viewing point, between the Ionian Sea and Aspromonte. The view, in fact, allows you to pan over most of the massif: the central part covered with woods from Montalto down to Campi di Bova as the mountain sweeps down to the Ionian Sea with steep barren slopes, its valleys criss-crossed by numerous rivers. The fortresses of Bova and Pentedattilo stand out sharp with Mount Etna in the distance. The hike follows a small dirt track from Staiti uphill most of the way and skirting the National Park.
Well worth a visit is Staiti, a village that still conducts life on a human scale, situated on a hilltop with a beautiful layout of steps and where there is little room for cars.
Arriving by car
Drive down the SS 106 as far as Brancaleone Marina and then turn off for Staiti, which you reach after 12 kilometres
Leave the car near a wide curve where the public buses park. The streets in the centre of Staiti are so narrow that it is difficult to park and, at times, even to drive through. Walk up to the main square and then up to the top (Calvario- Calvary) and then leave the town. A small roadway takes you up in the direction of the mountain and later joins a beaten earth pathway. Continue uphill, disregarding all the secondary trails. In the more exposed points you will notice, to the left, some booster installed on Punta di Gallo [Cock Point], which covers the view of the hamlet of Pietrapennata, and slightly below you, the ruins of the Monastery of La Madonna dell’Alìca. A number of shortcuts allow you to cut across the road’s wide curves and arrive at the spring which the Ordinance Survey Maps call Acqua Rugiada (which means dew water but this an erroneous Italianisation of the local term rruggiata, actually meaning ferrous). having passed the Falcò picnic area, leave the main road and take the narrow road to the left that passes through pines and holms leading to Piano di Maroprete where a number of skidding trails ascend to Monte Cerasia. Take the right-hand one, which climbs more and more steeply up to a viewpoint with a trigonometric point facing Monte Cerasia. Follow the track, now on a level for a hundred metres and near what remains of a large oak tree, leave it to turn right into a pathway passing through oak and heather and following a barbed wire fence. We are now at Tre Limiti [Three Boundaries], so called because here the borders of the towns of Bova, Palizzi and Staiti meet. Outside the wood, you enter the saddle below Monte Cerasia, then, after a short climb you arrive at the top. But before you get there, you cannot but notice the specimens of the huge oak trees that grow in this area.
These are Hungarian or Italian oaks (Quercus frainetto Ten.), in dialect carrà, carria, carru, registered during a census carried out by the Aspromonte Section of the Club Alpino Italiano [Italian Alpine Club] on behalf of the Aspromonte Park Authorities, with the specific support of the Faculty of Forestry Sciences of the University of Reggio Calabria.
The largest specimen has a circumference of 4.5 metres and is 35 metres tall.
Source: Guida Naturalistica della Calabria Greca– Alfonso Picone – Rubbettino Editore – Collana Parco Culturale della Calabria Greca