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Sunday, 15 February 2015

MONTE COMUNE

What ( or rather who) goes up must come down and this is only too true if you want to go to Monte Comune. From whichever direction you approach it, there is going to be a lot of very steep uphill and then a lot of very steep down. It is one of those trails where my walking pole quickly becomes my best friend, since the path is often little more than a goat track covered in the loose scree-like stones  so common to this area. 
However once you get to the top of its 876 metres and emerge onto the plateau with its 360° views of the peninsula, you quickly forget about what has been and what is still to come, and just enjoy. 
In spring it is a riot of colour: flowers of every hue, yellow, white, pink, blue and purple  on a vast green carpet. For a couple of weeks the meadow turns red, clover clad. Meantime the ferns grow higher and higher, the brambles extend their thorny tentacles  and the vegetation runs riot.
In the height of summer everything dries out, gold replacing green as the hay is cut and 
rolled into bales scattered about  the fields.
In late autumn it is still fairly arid and the trees turn russet as they prepare to shed their leaves. Winter is much more barren, the grass taking on a muddy hue and the trees standing skeletal and forlorn. Last week   snow covered the distant peaks of Conocchia and Molare making it seem even colder than it was.
Many a picnic has been consumed up here, perched on a rock, admiring the views: the Sorrento peninsula with Capri behind, sea to the right, to the left and beyond. A simple sandwich tastes so much better from a place like this.
You can get to Monte Comune from S. Maria del Castello (Positano side) or from the Colli San Pietro (Sorrento side). We tend to walk it in either direction, using either the path of Le Tese or the trail via Capodacqua to get to or from Positano.
You do not necessarily have to pass through the small hamlet of Santa Maria, however it has the advantage of having a bar/restaurant , plus a public water fountain near the church; in other words it is a useful stopping point, especially since there is no other source of food or water between there and the Colli.The signage is not particularly brilliant, so do take a map. Again it is not a hike for the less fit or for anyone suffering from vertigo, and yet again, the correct footwear and a good supply of water are essential, especially since there is nowhere to top up along the way.

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