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In Valle Castellana between History and Nature
Crossing Salinello Gorges, enjoying a wonderful panorama on Montagna dei Fiori, you will reach Macchia da Sole, a small village dating back to the Early Middle Ages. From the town, a short tour on foot, on horseback or by mountain bike leads to the ruins of the Castle of Macchia, known as "Castel Manfrino", a Swabian building with Angevin donjon (13th century), clung to a rocky promontory between torrent Salinello and Fosso del Lago. Further interesting tours lead to the nearby mountains of Fiori and Campli.
From the nearby town of Leofara, of Lombard origin like many other settlements scattered throughout Valle Castellana, with tours on foot, on horseback, or by mountain bike across wonderful chestnut tree groves, it is pleasant to reach the fascinating abandoned villages of Laturo and Vallepezzata.
Beyond Vallenquina, with the picturesque Bonifaci Castle (20th century), you will reach Valle Castellana, with the beautiful Church of St Mary in Stornazzano, called today of the Annunciation (11th century). From the main town, like from the several country hamlets scattered throughout the valley, several trails leave: accessible also on horseback or by mountain bike, they develop along ancient ways of communication.
A detour leads to Morrice, with a wonderful chestnut tree grove rich in centuries-old trees like "Piantone di Nardò", over 500 years old, and to Pietralta, departure point for several tours leading to Mt. La Morra (1,377m), Valle del Rio Castellano, Bosco della Martese or Pizzo di Sevo (2,419m).
Once you reach Cesano, where, next to a small village of medieval origins you will find the beautiful Church of S. Rufina (12th century), you climb to S. Vito, with the homonymous wonderful church (12th century), and to S. Giacomo, both summer and winter tourist resort, with its ski lifts giving the opportunity to reach Mt. Piselli (1,676m). From here, wonderful naturalistic tours on foot, on horseback, by mountain bike but also with cross-country or mountain skis, give the opportunity to reach the summit of Mt. Girella (1,814m), touching the several dry-stone shepherds’ huts (called "tholos") scattered throughout Montagna dei Fiori.
Useful telephone numbers: Museo della Grotta di S. Angelo - Contact: Associazione Verde Laga - For info and bookings for the visit to the museum: Tel. +39 0861 918376 (Museum) - +39 328 6118276 (Fabrizio Fagnani)
(photo by M. Anselmi)
(photo by Archivio Ente Parco)
(photo by M. Anselmi)