EXCURSION from Tefani to Focolio
Elevation difference: 390 m
Altitude and partial times: Tefani (642 metres above sea level) Messari (390 m 0.50 hours) Focolio (252 m 0.20 hours)
Overall time required: outward 1.10 hours, return 2 hours
Water: the fountain at the Tefani barrier and a piped spring just before the Messari nursery.
Ordinance Survey Map: F° 615 I Bova Marina; F° 602 II San Lorenzo
At Focolio there are ruins of one of the area’s numerous flour mills harnessing the waters of the Amendolea River. The miller used to be Zindato from Roghudi who lived here with his entire family. Damaged by flooding in 1951, it was rebuilt immediately, but another flood in 1972 damaged it so gravely that it had to be abandoned. The same happened to all the other mills. It was the river itself, formerly their source of life, which, with the fury of its floods, decreed their death. Once, the people from the nearby villages would come to Focolio as testified by the many pathways leading here. Now, nearly all these trails have been forsaken, except perhaps for the one for Bova and for Gallicianò: n. 128 in the Park’s pathway Register. Most of the present excursion follows the easy cart track which provides a superb view of the river, Roccaforte, Gallicianò, San Lorenzo and Mount Etna. There are remains of a mill also at the Il bergamotto rural hospitality farmstead. Further information at Amendolea.
Arriving by car
Leave the SS 106 at Condofuri Marina and drive up to Condofuri Superiore. At the bridge over the river take the right and drive up to Amendolea. Having arrived at the houses, continue uphill along a narrow cement roadway straight to the deserted hamlet of Amendolea. Having passed the village, drive on as far as a group of houses amid vineyards in the Tefani locality. On the left side of a right-hand bend the trail we shall follow, begins.
The trail leads downhill and provides superb views of the river. Continue along this trail until you reach the Tefani barrier (and drinking fountain) and the end of this pathway. You are now in the valley containing a torrent beyond which you will find a fountain.
Do not follow the wide track skirting the fence, but follow the course of the stream until you reach a weir, to the right of which you will see a pathway created to cover a pipe carrying water from here to the Messari nursery. At the next crossing keep to the left and remain on this level. From here on the stream delves deeper and deeper into the rock. When you arrive at fields and the ruins of houses at Messari you will be overlooking a number of bends in the Amendolea River which here displays all its strength. A little further uphill a tributary enters the Amendolea and you can see the roof and some remains of the Focolio mill which can be reached by following a trail through some terraced fields, whose supports have given way in some places. The return is the same as the outward journey in reverse.
Source: Guida Naturalistica della Calabria Greca– Alfonso Picone – Rubbettino Editore – Collana Parco Culturale della Calabria Greca.