EXCURSION from Pietrapennata to Madonna dell’Alica
Elevation difference: irrelevant
Altitude: Pietrapennata (734 metres above sea level) Alica (682 metres above sea level)
Time required: roughly 30 minutes
Water: at Pietrapennata
Ordinance Survey Map: F° 616 IV Capo Spartivento
The small hamlet of Pietrapennata is situated in the Alìca Valley, where remains of what was once a church, maybe a monastery, stand in an open, silent environment, gentle and severe at the same time, as places dedicated to meditation often are.
Nestling in the heart of a dell, the visitor will see, in the foreground, the walls of the sacristy, the bell tower and, on the side overlooking the valley, a series of terraced fields. Until 1887, the monastery housed a particularly prestigious half-length white marble statue of the Madonna and Child attributed to Antonello Gagini, now housed in the parochial church of the Holy Ghost [Spirito Santo] at Pietrapennata. The surroundings of this hamlet, especially its holm woods, which he chose as the subject of one of his pictures, fascinated the English painter and writer Edward Lear, during his journey here in 1847. He speaks of Pietrapennata in the following terms: “… woods fringed the park-like glades, or formed magnificent pictures with their grey trunks, and arms flung out over rock and dell ! O rare woods of Pietrapennata!”.
Arriving by car
The most direct route to Pietrapennata, a small hamlet belonging to the municipality of Palizzi, is along the SS 106 from Spròpoli, near Capo Spartivento. After about 6 kilometres, at the chiesa del Carmine, it meets the road connecting Palizzi and Pietrapennata. Turn right here and after 5 kilometres you will arrive at your destination. However, for those who are not familiar with it, we suggest that, on the way back, you take a short detour to Palizzi to visit this well-preserved village.
When you reach the cemetery at Pietrapennata, leave your car in the parking lot facing it and, on foot, take the downhill, unpaved pathway, in places overgrown with vegetation. After about 15 minutes, this pathway becomes a track, not easy to manoeuvre in spots due to landslides, but the church is now visible and close at hand.
Source: Guida Naturalistica della Calabria Greca– Alfonso Picone – Rubbettino Editore – Collana Parco Culturale della Calabria Greca.