Trekking along the Brigante Path in Aspromonte

The "Calabrian paths" in the Aspromonte National Park
1 gambarie

© Sentiero del Brigante

Sport and nature

Feb 15, 2024 11:51 AM

The extreme strip of Calabria, stretching out towards the Mediterranean, preserves a unique geology and conformation that distinguishes it from the rest of the Italian Apennines and unites it with the Alpine arc.

The large white stone rocks, UNESCO World Heritage Geosites, take on giant monolithic forms, which the collective imagination associates with fantastic animals (Drako Rock) and legendary elements of ancient pastoral culture (Milk Boilers).

Among the dense woods and Great Stones of the province of Reggio Calabria are interwoven paths that the Aspromonte National Park has marked and traced out to allow trekking enthusiasts and more or less experienced hikers to enjoy the magic that characterises these uncontaminated places.

The Brigante Path

One of these paths is the Brigante Path, nationally recognised among the official "Calabrian Paths".

This walking route is the only one that joins the Aspromonte National Park to the Serre Regional Natural Park, thus the provinces of Reggio Calabria and Vibo Valentia, two areas of great natural and identity interest, crossing thick forests, streams and torrents, waterfalls, Mediterranean maquis, rural houses and noble palaces, small inhabited and abandoned centres, caves and caverns, archaeological sites, raw material deposits and everything that bears witness to the history of man in these lands.

Specifically, as its name suggests, the Brigante Path intends to accompany the hiker on a fascinating journey in the footsteps of the brigands and the legendary, sometimes tragic, stories that have written an important page in the history of Calabria and southern Italy in these woods.

Sentiero del Brigante
Sentiero del Brigante

It is a route that covers 140 km, physically and culturally recovered by the GEA Association - Aspromonte Excursionists' Group in the late 1980s, which placed about 8,000 red/white markers and the initials SB (Sentiero Brigante) along the route, thus contributing to the inclusion of the Brigante Path in the Digital Atlas of Italian Paths by the Ministry of Culture.

Those who wish to start the route from the Aspromonte side will find the starting point at Gambarie d'Aspromonte (a winter ski resort) and the conclusion in the forest of Serra San Bruno, in the Vibo Valentia area, after passing through Stilo, among The Most Beautiful Villages in Italy, and stopping at the "Ferdinandea", the ancient summer hunting estate of King Ferdinand II.

This is a unique opportunity to bring history and nature together, delving into the Risorgimento, Unification and post-unification events that characterised the troubled history of these territories.

Ferdinandea'
Regione Calabria

Along the Path are toponyms inspired by the stories of brigands and resistance fighters; places steeped in tales and legends, starting with the very ancient one of the rebel Spartacus, who led an army of slaves up the peninsula towards Rome, before being defeated and enslaved along the Dorsale Tabulare (or Dossone del Melia), between Aspromonte and the Serre, by the consul Marcus Licinius Crassus.

Among the most famous figures of Aspromonte and Serrese brigandage are those of Nino Martino, the "Cacciadiavoli", who with his band of brigands took refuge in Aspromonte for a long time during the second half of the 16th century, a ruthless avenger of the Spanish infantry; the bloodthirsty Bizzarro (Vizzàrru), accompanied by ferocious dogs, and the famous Giuseppe Musolino, the last of the brigands.

Excursions in the Aspromonte National Park

In addition to the Brigante Path, the Aspromonte National Park offers endless possibilities for hiking and thematic trekking.

Among the main visitor trails in the park:

  • Samo-Montalto Trail (No. 104);
  • Gambarie-Materazzelle Trail (No. 111);
  • Acqua Face-Nardello Trail (No. 120);
  • Gambarie Ski Path-S120 (No. 121);
  • Bova-Gallicianò Trail (no. 128), 
  • Amendolea Falls Trail (No. 132);
  • Carmelia-Monte Fistocchio Trail (No. 133);
  • Amendolea-Bova Trail (No. 152);
  • Mammola-San Nicodemo-Limina Trail (No. 212);
  • Moleti-Monte Antiminello-Caccamelle-Monte Tre Pizzi Trail (No. 213).

Not to be missed are the English Path, which passes through the picturesque "ghost town" of Pentedattilo, and the "Corrado Alvaro" Literary Park, two important literary treks dedicated respectively to the English writer Edward Lear at the time of the Grand Tour and to the Strega Prize-winning writer originally from San Luca, Corrado Alvaro.

Sentiero dell'inglese
Regione Calabria

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