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Monday, 4 April 2016

Springtime hikes 1 - Monte Vico Alvano, Monte Comune and more

Last week, taking advantage of the warm, sunny weather and a day's holiday, I took myself off for a solitary hike along one of my favourite trails.
Setting off from Colli San Pietro, I zig-zagged my way leisurely up the slopes of Monte Vico Alvano, a major victim of last year's fires. Now, although the charred skeletons of the bushes and trees are still evident, the new vegetation has taken the upperhand and it is all fresh and green. It was good to see.
Once at the top of the hill, I then headed down the other side to the Sella di Arola, passing a guy on a mule going in the opposite direction.
I love this place with its fine views of the Amalfi coast to one side and the Bay of Naples to the other. I had hoped to find an orchid or two in flower up here, but I found much more than that - there were literally dozens of bright pink butterfly orchids colouring the way.
I walked slowly along the grassy plateau enjoying the scenery. Once at the old toll gate posts, I had to make a decision: take the path leading down to the left which would take me straight to the village of Arola, or continue straight ahead and tackle the imposing Monte Comune over 300 metres higher up. 
It would probably have been more sensible to go straight to Arola, but it was such a lovely day that I decided to be bold and bad and take the longer and trickier route. 
As I  made my way up the stony trail I found more orchids,  this time the pale yellow orchis provincialis and then finally a couple of dark purple orchis morio. Half way up the mountain side I met a couple of German hikers coming down. They were walking the length of the Monti Lattari in stages and well happy with their experience so far.
Once at the top of Monte Comune, I paused for my lunch
by the wooden cross. As bad luck would have it, a tractor arrived pulling a trailer dispensing some foul smelling liquid onto the tilled land just below. The air was no longer fresh, nor pleasant, so I headed off again, cutting down across the fields to join the path leading to the village of Preazzano and on to Arola, rather than following the more usual route to Santa Maria del Castello and Positano. 
The path to Preazzano is easy to follow and pleasant, with excellent views of  Vesuvius, the Bay of Naples, Vico Equense and the surrounding villages. From there I walked down the main road to Arola, where I took the lane to the left of the water fountain. This  lead me back up to the Sella di Arola and with that, the loop was complete.
Back up Monte Vico Alvano, down the other side, and  a good day's hiking was over.
 

 
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