EXCURSION from Ghorio di Roghudi to Pesdavoli
Elevation difference: 876 metres
Altitude: Ghorio (759 metres above sea level) – Pesdavoli (1,403 metres above sea level)
Time required: 4 hours
Water: drinking fountains at Ghorio and Pesdavoli
Signposting: red and white indicating path n. 102 of the Aspromonte Park’s pathway register. This is part of the track connecting Bova and Delianuova.
Ordinance Survey Map: F° 602 II San Lorenzo
This pathway is the most direct route connecting the mountains and the majestic Corsican pine woods. Walk along the edge of a landslide that discharges its soil into the Beretta valley, in a manner specular to the larger Colella. This spot provides superb views of the Amendolea River below as it winds its tortuous way towards the sea.
At the beginning of the 1990’s, I began acting as a guide to groups of excursionists in the Aspromonte area, and Roghudi Vecchio was one of our stop-overs. This little village, hovering above the Amendolea River, was declared uninhabitable in 1972 and left, therefore, without supplies of electricity, water etc. Don Rafele (Raffaele Favasulli) was one of the three inhabitants who refused to move away from the place.
We used to arrive with a backup of a pair of vans full of food and camping equipment for 40 people but, despite this deployment of goods and our numerical superiorly, he was the king of Roghudi. We used to sleep in the deconsecrated church which, although crumbling, was the only building that could provide such a large group with a roof. It was he who gave me the keys, after several recommendations about how to behave in a similar building, for him still sacred, and in particular, concerning how the women should dress. We tried to return the favour by offering him confectionary or other things but he usually beat us to it. He used to go into one of the abandoned houses and return with a basket full of cherries or from another with a crate of cool beer or a punnet full of fresh figs from a balcony. Not to mention the dinners in the hamlet’s tiny and only square (it could barely seat 40 of us) where, as soon as the pasta was served he would come around to grate salted ricotta on it, so thick that it looked like snow. It gave him great joy to see the village come back to life again, even if only for one night. But my joy was greater because he permitted me to go on admiring flickers of the dying embers of an ancient civilisation.
Arriving by car
The excursion departs from a tiny abandoned hamlet called Ghorio di Roghudi. You reach it at about kilometre 36 of the Melito – Roccaforte provincial road which links Bova Marina to Bova. This route cannot be used in winter if there is snow in the Campi di Bova district.
Once you enter the village, pass uphill through the narrow streets until you leave the buildings behind you. here you will find an ancient mule track, initially paved, but farther on, dilapidated and full of stones. After a short stretch wedged between some dry stone walls you arrive above a clearing (the Mesamalo locality) full of ferns and a chestnut grove to your right, to begin a steep uphill climb with several bends along a trail littered with stones. Here, a section of level path, cut into the rock, provides an increasingly larger view of Roghudi and the Amendolea River below. Having passed a second chestnut grove you follow the bends until you arrive at a rocky crag (Punta Vividdo) hovering on the brink and providing an exceptional viewing point. The climb grows a little less steep from here to the third chestnut grove and a barbed-wire fence, from where, turning left, you continue the steep climb. When you reach the fourth and last grove the path, which continues to be bordered by barbed wire, turns downhill for a while and overlooks the Beretta valley landslide. On the opposite side you can see Monte Iofri, the houses of Carrà (red roofs), Casalinuovo and the Verde [Green] river. A very narrow pathway crosses the edge of the landslide and then continues uphill as far as a pass, after which, it descends for a while through pines, to end at a small clearing. Here you take a cart track, but after a few paces, you leave it for a short while to follow the signposts to the right indicating a pathway bordering on an abandoned sheepfold , which leads back again to the cart track. You arrive at a large clearing which marks the Pesdavoli carrier. The signposts indicate a route around a hill overlooking it and lead you to the cart track which continues uphill towards the mountain. To reach the barrier you need to pass through the gates and fences that surround it.
Source: Guida Naturalistica della Calabria Greca– Alfonso Picone – Rubbettino Editore – Collana Parco Culturale della Calabria Greca