EXCURSION from Misurici to the Colella landslide and Punta d’Atò
Elevation difference: 398 metres
Altitude: Misurici (981 metres above sea level) Punta d’Atò (1,378 metres above sea level)
Time required: 2 hours
Water: the picnic area at Zumbello
Ordinance Survey Map: F° 602 II ST Lorenzo
This excursion allows you to observe a number of important erosive phenomena which led Giustino Fortunato to call the Aspromonte massif “a mass of detritus overhanging the sea”. The hike takes you to the landslide invading the Colella valley, in the Punta d’Atò locality, above Roccaforte. This phenomenon has existed for over 70 years now, and, despite reforestation efforts, had continued to expand, becoming the largest in Europe. Here, the road connecting Roccaforte and the mountain has been swallowed up more than once by the landslide. This means that some sectors of the trail just come to an abrupt end, going nowhere. Furthermore, the quantity of detritus discharged from the Colella valley into the Amendolea River is impressive. To appreciate this fact from a visual point of view, it is sufficient to take a look at the bridge spanning the Amendolea River between Roccaforte and Roghudi. At the moment of its construction the archway under the bridge was ten metres tall; now it measures only a few metres, so much so, that debris that builds up here has to be cleared regularly lest the water from the river pass over instead of under the bridge. At a short distance from the landslide, the ample well-equipped Zumbello picnic area invites you to take a break, but first you must visit Punta d’Atò, the Calabrian-Greek for Eagle Point where you can get an idea of how exceptional the landscape is here.
Until only a few decades ago, this neighbourhood was the habitat of age-old pine trees, bearing the herring-bone scorings of the resin harvesters. Unfortunately, a recent fire which swept through the forest left very few trees standing.
Arriving by car
Leave the SS 106 at Melito Porto Salvo and drive uphill for 12.5 kilometres along the SS 183. Then take a right turn in the direction of Roccaforte del Greco. Pass the fork for San Lorenzo and, 3-4 kilometres farther on, that for Peripoli. Here the road descends towards the bridge over the Pisciato Torrent before climbing again through a series of bends. Having passed these, a straight stretch takes you to a pass from which you can see Roccaforte. After that the road begins to go downhill again. The place, indicated on the Orinance Survey Map as Misurici, is recognisable thanks to a small uphill tarmacked road leading to Monte Scafi and a dirt track to the right. Once you have parked your car, you take this track
Initially, the dirt track slopes gently upward bordered by some gigantic chestnut trees (disregard the track to the left). After a number of bends, it reaches a certain height and, following a ridge astride the Amendolea and Melito Rivers, provides a view of Roccaforte, right, and of the Strait of Messina and Mount Etna, left. The vegetation grows gradually thicker and pines, increasingly numerous, begin to replace the chestnut trees. At the next forking, turn right. Here the pathway becomes less steep and after a short stretch joins a small tarmacked road leading down to Roccaforte. It is at this crossroads that you find the Zumbello picnic area. Following the tarmacked road downhill for less than 500 metres, you will notice a dirt track to the left leading to a sheep fold. From here you can make your way freely up the slope and, having passed through a pine wood, you will emerge into the open at Punta d’Atò, on the brink of the chasm created by the landslide. The view is magnificent, unique: you are on the dividing line between the green of the forests that cover the Aspromonte massif as far as Montalto, and the yellow of the Mediterranean scrub and the garrigue sloping down to the sea.
Source: Guida Naturalistica della Calabria Greca– Alfonso Picone – Rubbettino Editore – Collana Parco Culturale della Calabria Greca