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Thursday, 10 December 2015

FAVOURITE TRAILS 4 - BANDERA (FAITO)

The fourth of Giovanni Visetti's favourite trails is again on Faito, so still relatively high up. This time however we follow the trails around Punta Bandera, somewhere not so well known and which probably many of you will never have heard of, let alone walked. To better illustrate the specific area, Giovanni has adapted his Faito map accordingly. 
Strictly speaking, Punta Bandera is the rocky spur almost entirely covered in pine trees that can be clearly seen from any point of the Conocchia, from S.Maria del Castello and from many other areas of the western slopes of the Lattari mountains. However when talking about the Bandera trail , we generally refer to the path running along the upper edge of the imposing cliff above  the Vallone del Milo, from 500m north of the top of Punta Bandera to the edge of the deep valley of Campo del Pero.
Giovanni's suggestion is to follow it in this direction, slightly uphill, and it goes without saying that being one of his 7 favourites, it is extremely panoramic out in the open
Having said that, it has its good points and its bad (and this is Giovanni speaking..):
Good: at the end of the panoramic stretch, you may continue along the ridge of Monte Cerasuolo which being  a ridge offers even more extensive views, although at times restricted  by trees to the north.
Bad: the most scenic part is "seemingly" very exposed.  This means that whilst it is absolutely no more dangerous than many other trails giving a false sense of security with untrustworthy handrails  or bushes just hiding a sheer drop, for anyone who has  a fear of heights or vertigo, it could prove more stressful than pleasant or even impossible to face.
Although this trail is the least known of Giovanni's selection, it is actually one of the easiest to reach. You can in fact go by car as far as the Latteria and then walk just 300m along an easy path through the chestnut trees to get to the edge of the wood and the views.. and what views! Anyone not wishing or not able to follow the entire path should at least do this stretch (approx 700m there and back).. it is really worth the effort. 
From then on there are various tracks you can follow, but they are not real paths, so it is always best to go with someone who is familiar with them, even if just to save time trying to work out which is the best one to follow.
As you can see from the map, the first 600m go south to the tip before proceeding along the other side of the cliff. To begin with you have views of the coast: Vico Equense, Sorrento and the isles of the Bay of Naples, then  come the cliffs of the Vallone del Milo and finally, for the last kilometre, the Gulf of Salerno. Over these 1.600m you only gain about 100m in height and the overall elevation gain, thanks to a few up and down parts,  is little more than this; in other words, minimal physical effort is required.
Once you come to the end of the eastern stretch you can choose whether to return directly to the nearest road (Campo del Pero is 600m away through the beech wood) or continue on to the top of Monte Cerasuolo (1.213m) keeping to the edge of the wood, either passing
through it, or approaching from the outside through low bushes (little red dots on the map). There is no official path, but having to get to the highest point and with the trees as reference, it is really difficult to get lost.
Once at the top you should follow a track (in red on the map) going along the ridge to a small but very panoramic open space (photo above). From there (to the right, on the flat) you will find a clear path which a few metres further on becomes a wide dirt-track which in 800m will take you to Campo del Pero. 
  • For anyone with good legs and good will there are manifold possibilities of incorporating this route in longer hikes. For example: you can walk here from Piazzale dei Capi, Funivia (cable car station) or even from Moiano (via Villaggio Sportivo), via Latteria/Lontra spring, and then afterwards continue  to Campo del Pero (with or without Cerasuolo). You can complete your walk with whichever of the other usual routes takes your fancy (Conocchia, Acqua Santa, Molare) before returning  to your starting point via Porta di Faito, or in the case of Moiano, via the Conocchia and Anaro.
  • even longer hikes from the east could include Palmentiello either up or down from Sant'Angelo a Tre Pizzi.
The above photos are all Giovanni's. More, all taken between 2009 and 2013, can be seen at the link below:
Link to the photos
Link to Giovanni's blog 
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For once I have very little to add to the above. I can definitely vouch for the panoramic value of this route, having walked it on several occasions (in fact it is me wearing the nifty little sunhat in the photo above!) and also for the fact that it might not be suitable for anyone suffering from bad vertigo. However it is very much worth the effort, which if you limit yourselves to the shorter version, is actually very little effort at all!




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