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Saturday, 9 January 2016

VISETTI'S FAVOURITE TRAILS 7 - THE RIDGE OF MONTE SAN COSTANZO

The last of Giovanni Visetti's favourite trails is probably the best known of the seven, taking us from Punta Campanella up to the paths around Monte Santa Croce.
view from Rezzale
The route is almost completely visible from the sea and much of it  from Punta Campanella as well. Its profile can also be seen from Sprito on the way to Jeranto, but many people take one look at it and give up on the idea before even starting. And yet it really is not  impossible, being relatively short: just 1500m as far as Campo Vetavole where the climb is virtually over and with it the best panoramas.
If you decide to go for it, Giovanni suggests starting from the area above the Torre Minerva, at the end of the ancient road,  going steeply uphill at the edge of the cliff until you come to the sharp bend of a cemented track (alternative path) which is the belvedere of Rezzale.
Here you need to start following the red/white CAI signs (and not the cement track). From now on  the only way is up, but the spectacular views provide an excellent excuse for stopping  every now and then to catch your breath and take photos. Do not forget to look back towards Punta Campanella and Capri as well as down to the Bay of Jeranto. 
Once you reach Campo Vetavole, you have a choice of 4 diffferent ways of returning to Termini, each one interesting and panoramic, but some best at particular times of the day.
As you can see from  this segment of the map, when following the ridge along the CAI300 trail, you will find three intersections, all to the left and in this order:
  • Vuallariello path, almost completely level, perfect for enjoying the sunset. This will take you to the spectacular entrance to the path Le Selve  which will lead you to Cercito, just a few hundred metres from Termini.
  • the path to the belvedere/cement platform above the 1973 landslide at Mitigliano and the simplest way of getting to the road to San Costanzo. This too is excellent for  sunsets.
  • the old CAI300 trail that follows the ridge up to the "radar" enclosure, before continuing to the right below the fence. This is perhaps the most challenging and certainly the steepest. From here the view of Capri  is one of the best.
If you ignore these three turnings, you will remain on the present CAI300 path which, having left the ridge, continues more or less on a level until you come to the pinewood. This trail is the most exposed of the four, and whilst not particularly dangerous, if you suffer from vertigo, you might disagree.
Giovanni (and I concord )  advises not to walk the ridge in the opposite direction (ie downhill). It is very steep and there are a lot of loose stones which make it slippery. Uphill is much better, inspite of its steepness, unless you are particularly fit and sure footed.
At present, the path to Punta Campanella is closed for restoration work, so in order to complete the classical Athena Trail (Termini - Campanella - San Costanzo - Termini), we will have to wait for its re-opening. This should be imminent, since at least 80% of the work should have been completed by the end of 2015. Even if the area around the tower may still be off limits, hopefully it will soon be possible at least to reach Rezzale and from there join the CAI300 path.

Video of the Athena Trail 
Link to Giovanni's blog
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