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Wednesday, 15 July 2015

IMPORTANT - TRAIL TO PUNTA CAMPANELLA CLOSED UNTIL JANUARY 2016

One of the most popular hikes in the area of Massa Lubrense, from Termini to Punta Campanella, which is also part of the Athena Trail, is now off limits until January 2016 due to work being carried out on the path and in the area around the tower. A locked gate  by the shrine at the point called Cancello will bar all access not only for vehicles but also for pedestrians.
In his latest blog, Giovanni Visetti proposes an alternative route so that walkers will still be able to enjoy the amazing scenery and flora between Punta Campanella and Monte Santa Croce at the top of the ridge.  
His suggestion is to create a new circuit, for the moment named the Giro di Santa Croce, starting from Termini, but following the newly cleared path from Via  Cercito towards Vuallariello (see my blog "When in Termini - another option for an interesting hike" ). 
Once past the caves, up the steps and out into the open,  instead of following the  new trail up towards the belvedere,  ideally the original Vuallariello trail should   be cleared, so that hikers can follow this to  Campo Vetavole and join the official CAI300 path there.
When you join this path, marked  on all the maps and guides of this area, you will have the usual 3 choices of how to proceed:
- follow the path to the west towards the belvedere before coming out onto the road and walking  to the chapel of Monte San Costanzo and/or back to Termini.
- follow the old CAI path up to  and around the "radar" station and which then takes you back down onto the road and on to Termini and/or Monte San Costanzo.
 - follow the newer CAI path which takes you above the Bay of Jeranto and on to the pine woods and Monte San Costanzo (very panoramic but not for those with vertigo).
Whether or not the local authorities embrace Giovanni's suggestion (I am optimistic they will), it is of paramount importance that clear, multi-lingual signs are in any case put up at all key points of the original routes to warn  hikers of the new situation; this not only in the centre of Termini and at the start of Via Campanella, but also  along key points of the CAI 300 trail,  on Monte San Costanzo, at the Belvedere, at Rezzale, at Campo Vetavole, in order to warn anyone  walking the Athena Trail clockwise (Monte San Costanzo - Punta Campanella - Termini) that they will find a locked gate at the end. Their only option then will be to retrace their steps and face the long climb back up the ridge. To be honest I wouldn't wish that on anyone and especially not in the heat of the day or even worse as night is drawing in. 
Giovanni continues his blog with the consideration that since the path to Punta Campanella is going to be closed for months and that from September onwards there will be a great number of hikers in this area, it might be an idea  to propose the "Giro di Santa Croce" as a valid alternative to the classical Termini to Punta Campanella  or Athena Trail, with a view to it then even becoming an official route in its own right, especially if the feedback of those that have tried it out over the coming months is positive.
In fact if you compare the three, Santa Croce is shorter and has less elevation.  What is more, you avoid the long stretches along the paved road to Punta Campanella, have shade for the uphill part, but still have the views :
  • Athena trail - 7km and 500m elevation
  • Punta Campanella  there and back - 6km and 300m elevation
  • Giro di Santa Croce - 4.5km and 250m elevation.
The most important thing now is to get the signs up as quickly  as possible and the rest of the path cleared.
Click for link to Giovanni's blog.
NB the purple "x"s on Giovanni's map indicate where the path is now closed.




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