This group tour is carried out on foot along the Magna Via Francigena of Sicily on a path of 160 km that connects Palermo with Agrigento, from the Tyrrhenian coast to the southern one of the Mediterranean.
It crosses the lands of 3 provinces, from the north Palermo, Caltanissetta and Agrigento.
It is scheduled from 17 to 28 March 2021 and is suitable for experienced walkers.
ITINERARY: PALERMO / MONREALE - PIANA DEGLI ALBANESI - SANTA CRISTINA GELA / CORLEONE / PRIZZI / CASTRONOVO DI SICILIA / CAMMARATA - SAN GIOVANNI GEMINI / SUTERA / RACALMUTO - GROTTE / JOPPOLO GIANCAXIO / AGRIGENTO / PALERMO
1st day: PALERMO In the afternoon, individual arrival at the hotel and meeting with our environmental guide who will accompany us along our journey. Welcome dinner and overnight stay in reserved rooms.
2nd Day: PALERMO - MONREALE - PIANA DEGLI ALBANESI - SANTA CRISTINA GELA / Km. 23,80 total - Km. 12 on foot Uphill height difference 1188 mt - Descent height difference 539 - Easy difficulty
After breakfast, release of the reserved rooms and departure by private bus to Monreale where we will visit the wonderful Duomo. From here begins our journey on foot.
Description of the stage Route: 70% dirt road 30% asphalt low distance Slope: 39.9%
This variant allows you to avoid the many kilometers of asphalt of the first stage and through a medium line allows you to reach the city of Piana degli Albanesi, Hora and Arbëreshëvet in arbëresh, the language that testifies to the Greek Albanian tradition of this proud people who in half of the fifteenth century. he took refuge in Sicily after decades of opposition and struggle against the Ottoman occupier. Piana is the largest city of the Albanian eparchy in Sicily, and deserves a visit along our route. Although not a project partner, protocols link Piana to its neighboring Santa Cristina Gela, Sëndahstina, which, despite its current size, recurs in documents much earlier than Piana and is remembered as "Land of Constantine", along the consular road that connected Agrigento with Palermo. Certainly what unites the two localities are the common Greek-Albanian origins that from the fifteenth century allowed the settlers to re-establish the districts abandoned during the previous centuries, a mysterious and fascinating language, still defended today in the memory of the elderly and by our Constitution. a passion for superfine desserts and among these cannoli are famous and renowned throughout Sicily. The nearby lake of Piana can be reached through comfortable paths that allow a quick but wonderful stop at the lake. The track leaves the town of Piana and after 2 km joins a dirt path that reaches the town of Santa Cristina after about 3 km.
Day 3: SANTA CRISTINA GELA - CORLEONE Km 22 Ascent height difference 784 mt - Descent height difference 930 mt - Normal difficulty
Description of the stage
Route: Asphalt 30% Dirt 70% Max gradient: 28.9%
"The Magna Via leaves the town of Santa Cristina Gela following the path of the Regia Trazzera (RT) 28, which runs along the valley to reach Mount Giuhai and through the Portella Sant'Agata, to the top of the hill. near the Masseria Sant'Agata archaeologists have found a necropolis from the Hellenistic-Roman age with the presence of ceramics that go back to the Byzantine age. The pass has always been a privileged point of control of the road and the ascent through the wood area which extends to the lake, allows the view of special and unexpected panoramas. The road, after the Masseria Sant'Agata, continues straight along the trazzera still used today by shepherds for transhumance. You pass several farms up to the Catagnano crossroads from which the road deviates towards the Sanctuary of Maria SS del Rosario di Tagliavia, a place of prayer and hermitage which over the centuries has always hosted pilgrims and passing travelers. Today a religious Marian community , The Five Stones, guards it and animates its cult. After passing the sanctuary and the Cozzo Saladino watchtower, the road intercepts the SS118 and the left Belice river from where it continues turning left to intercept the cycle path on the opposite side of the road and arrive at the heights of P.zo Nicolosi and Rocca Argenteria , today excellent plateaus for nature observation and geological analysis but once settlements to control this pass, of the Greco-Roman road. Along the cycle path at km 17.5, you will find the deviation (3.2 km a / r from the base track) for the naturalistic system of the Gorgo del Drago, a series of lakes and rock jumps carved by the tributary of the Belìce Sinistro river . From here the RT28 takes us straight to Corleone among endless fields, farms that are lost in time, climb it and tackle one of the most demanding of the whole route and for which concentration and technique are a must and the spectacular Roman milestone that testifies to the presence of the street built by the Roman consul Aurelius Cotta during the First Punic War and which today makes a fine show of itself at the Archaeological Museum of Corleone "
4th Day: CORLEONE - PRIZZI Km 19.20 Ascent height difference 973 mt - Descent height difference 529 mt - Easy difficulty
Description of the stage
Possible stop at the Tagliavia Sanctuary at 12.9 km Route route: 65% dirt road - 35% asphalt low distance Slope. 23.9% "Corleone and its hundred baroque churches, Corleone and its waterfalls, Corleone and the hard and sincere beauty of its people who want to overcome the clichés that want to talk about themselves and not just the crime news that has often involved the politics and life of a difficult municipality. Even Corleone, although not a project partner, opens its arms to those who walk and with the Sicilian spirit that distinguishes these areas, welcomes the pilgrim. A visit to the town at the Archaeological Museum is a must. to visit the miliarius of the Roman consular road and to follow, a must visit the CIDMA, the International Documentation Center on the Mafia of the Anti-Mafia Movement. The past and present of this land rich in history and tears. The road follows from here the directional trazzera RT 80 along the plain of the Scala until you meet the ruins of the church of S. Maria della Scala that are located along the street: by closing your eyes you can still hear the noises of the floats and people. You pass another control site, C.zo Spolentino and its door at 905m and following the viale delle Sorgenti, you go along a trazzera that takes you to the Masseria Imbriaca and its door and climbs towards the artificial lake of Prizzi, which runs from the north side. The inhabited area appears clear and the tough climb takes us to fill the 400 m difference in height that takes us to the village "
5th Day: PRIZZI - CASTRONOVO DI SICILIA Km 24.40 Ascent height difference 972 mt - Descent height difference 668 mt - Normal difficulty
Description of the stage
Route: 65% dirt - 35% asphalt Slope: 17.8%
The stage begins in the historic center of the Sicani town, near the mother church and the Town Hall, seat of the “Universitas Prixiensis”. You leave the village following the public road that departs from the fountain located at the entrance to the village and heads south east, skirting the school complex just outside the village. The trazzera continues almost to the hamlet of Filaga, and continues eastwards towards the Monte Carcaci Nature Reserves and the Santa Caterina equipped area, green lungs of the Parco dei Monti Sicani, among the expanses cultivated with wheat and wheat, where there is the possibility of making stops to refill water and take advantage of the fire points of the Forestry Department. You continue to walk the kilometers you face along the cobbled road called "military road" for its use in the nineteenth century as a fast connection route for the armies that crossed the area, up to Borgo Riena, peasant village abandoned in the 80s of the last century that offers the walker the idea of the numerous agricultural villages of the last century, now abandoned. Dirt roads and wooded woods and stretches on the provincial low-flow road The last kilometers allow you to reach the path that leads to the Kassar plateau, an archaeological area of primary importance, which is giving in the latest excavation campaigns, organized by the University of York and Roma Tor Vergata, precious reconstructive fragments of the Byzantine phases of the place. The fortified plateau protects the village and the road from above, descending along a new path built by the Forestry within the Bosco Comuni, with the characteristic peasant haystacks, ending its run at the Town Hall square under the sign of the Magna Via Francigena "
6th day: CASTRONOVO DI SICILIA - CAMMARATA - SAN GIOVANNI GEMINI Km 12.7
Ascent height difference 692 - Descent height difference 380 - Difficulty Easy
Description of the stage
Route: Asphalt 35% - Dirt 65% Maximum gradient: 24.3%
"The heart of the Magna Via Francigena is right between the Rocca di San Vitale with its Norman ruins and its churches and the plateau of Kassar on the mountain from which the road descends. A visit to the whole center of the Sicani village allows you to understand the authenticity of the welcome is better. The road continues along a nineteenth-century trazzera that, cutting the modern hairpin bends, passes the sports field, the emergency runway for the helicopter rescue and the cemetery and reaches the intersection of the provincial roads that lead to the fast flowing From here, 400 m after the crossroads, you will find the turning point for the path that leads to the Colle San Vitale company which preserves within its grounds the precious archaeological remains of the Necropolis of Capelvenere: a large rock excavated for the arrangement of the burials and reused over the centuries also for residential purposes. After passing the site, cross the Platani along a passage which in winter is not recommended due to the flow of water but which in spring ra and in the summer allows the pleasure of a refreshing foot bath. After crossing the river, you reach the most impressive control site of the Magna Via, the Casale di San Pietro, which probably preserves the memory of the Islamic settlement that stood around the farmhouse mentioned in the Norman diplomas underground. The excavations of the Archaeological Superintendence of Palermo and the missions of the University of Rome Tor Vergata and York are bringing to light new discoveries that will better clarify the history of this place that has always seen the passage of people from north to south. Leaving the Casale behind you reach a fountain and from here you begin to climb the trazzera that follows the course of the tributary of the Platani, the Saracena stream, until you come within sight of Cammarata and its castle. Entering the village allows you to stock up on food and water and continue along the track towards the neighboring municipality of San Giovanni Gemini "
Day 7: CAMMARATA - SAN GIOVANNI GEMINI - SUTERA Km 19.90
Ascent height difference 654 mt - Descent height difference 250 mt - Normal difficulty
Description of the stage
Route: 75% dirt - 25% asphalt low distance Slope: 25.8%
"From the village of San Giovanni Gemini, an interpoderal road allows you to leave the town and take the trazzera that descends towards the river. The stage towards Sutera can easily find a stop in the accommodation facilities in the area that provide hospitality and refreshment to the traveler and from here continue along the old national road for about 2 km and then pass the railway and the SS 189, in a stretch of straight road where it is easier to cross while keeping your attention high. A trazzera begins that climbs for about 1, 5 km and reaches the cemetery and the town of Acquaviva Platani, where it is possible to rest and top up the water. From here a disused former provincial road takes us along the trazzere that walk on the crest of the hills that surround Sutera and the Rocca di San Paolino. Enchanting landscapes in every season of the year that form the backdrop to the farms along the route, like the last one before Sutera which preserves the medieval origins of the abbey. itate. The last kilometers lead to the town and its imposing fortress, a sacred site that can be visited and perhaps fortified in the medieval period. A visit to the town and its small precious pearls is unmissable: the ràbato which still retains the Arab-type urban layout, made up of small streets and houses built one close to the other, the ancient church of San Simone, the church mother dedicated to the Assumption and the municipal ethno-anthropological museum located in the former Carmelite convent, the Santa Croce hill and the palace of Francesco Salamone, one of the 13 Italian leaders who played the famous Challenge of Barletta "
Day 8: SUTERA - RACALMUTO - CAVES Km. 26 Ascent height difference 649 mt - Descent height difference 149 mt - Normal difficulty
Description of the stage
Route: 80% dirt - 20% asphalt low distance Slope: 32.1% "The longest stage of the entire route, about 22 km, is also the only one that crosses many urban centers that are part of the Magna Via Francigena project . Leaving Sutera, its monuments and its majestic fortress that controls the Valle del Platani and looks towards Aragon, the road takes a particular direction. Recent excavations have brought to light the layout of the trazzera that led to the Gallo d'Oro river which it skirts the municipal territory and marks the border with the town of Milena. The remains of a bridge used until the last century are still visible along the valley and testify to the progress of the main road network. The geographer al Idrisi in his story, precisely in this area it says that "Sutera is a busy center where travelers go back and forth", most likely in the direction of Palermo / Agrigento. The ancient road is passable and accessible in the summer months, in the direction of the river and the Monte Conca Reserve. During the winter months the problem is solved by taking the provincial road which, leaving the center of Campofranco, continues towards the modern bridge over the Golden Rooster. to refill the water and in a short time you enter Milena, the second center of the stage. Here, as in every center of the route, it is possible to break the stage, finding hospitality and stocking up on water and food. The ancient Milocca and its farmhouses today are a welcoming agricultural center nestled on its flourishing hills and the road in a short time reaches the settlement of Serra del Palco with the archaeological areas of the Bronze Age and the Byzantine and early Middle Ages. After passing them, you enter the wooded state area of "Bosco Zellante" from which you take the path that leads to Racalmuto, the birthplace of Leonardo Sciascia and for this reason inserted along the Via degli Scrittori. A Chiaramonte castle, the fountain of "Novi Cannola", the Mother Church and that of San Francesco are just ideas for an afternoon visit "
9 Day: RACALMUTO - JOPPOLO GIANCAXIO Km 18.70 Climbing difference 583 - Descending difference 239 - Normal difficulty
Description of the stage
Route: 65% dirt - 35% asphalt - Maximum gradient: 26.5%
"A few kilometers separate Racalmuto from the center of Grotte, an agricultural town full of stories that have been written in Sicilian history manuals since 1500, from the" Baroness of Carini "to Petra used as a necropolis and place of worship. is welcome and the welcome is lively and genuine, the road continues along a provincial road to the site of the Petra di Calathansuderj, an archaeological site that preserves the Arabic toponym. A rock of 30 meters high, full of burial holes and caves from the fairly well attested Neolithic period we pass to the centuries in which Sicily belonged to Byzantium, when the Petra becomes a dense network of tunnels on several levels, such as to make it considered a control site of the road system that comes and goes from and for Agrigento, a function that is maintained in the Muslim period, then Norman and Swabian. After passing the site, you begin a climb that reaches an altitude of 570mt and which leads to the top of the hill overlooking in the town of Comitini. We are welcomed by the astronomical observatory and the mining district with its exposed mines, full of history, joys and sufferings for the hundreds of sulfur miners who have written important pages of Italian work here. You reach the center where you can visit the churches and refill water or decide to stop. From here, the road continues up to the SS 189, which you cross carefully overcoming it and also passing the railway thanks to an underpass, you begin the climb towards Aragona, the largest center and, although not in the project, necessary to recharge water and food. or to stop the march and visit the baroque churches. In fact, the sacred and civil monuments are valuable, to be observed while heading towards the provincial road that takes us, through the fields as far as the eye can see, to the trazzera that reaches Joppolo Giancaxio, the last center of the journey before the final destination "
10 Day: JOPPOLO GIACAXIO - AGRIGENTO Km 13.20
Ascent height difference 322 mt - Descent height difference 105 mt - Easy difficulty
Description of the stage Route: 55% dirt - 45% asphalt - Maximum gradient: 22.7% "
Final stage that starts from the small agricultural center of Joppolo Giancaxio, 1230 inhabitants, founded at the end of the seventeenth century, with populandi license, the legal procedure to be able to establish new urban centers, by Baron Calogero Gabriele Colonna, Duke of Cesarò, on the fiefs of Realturco and Giancaxio. Certainly the hamlets on which it is built recall, in the name, the Arab origin: Rahal, village-farmhouse of the Turks; jan + qasr, castle of Jan. Autonomous since 1927, it was involved in the events for the autonomy of the land for the Sicilian peasants who strenuously claimed the land even without being able to obtain it. "From the town of Agrigento, the road proceeds in a south / south-east direction in a fairly linear way, between cultivated fields and high-altitude agricultural land, up to the intersection between the SS118 and the SP1. Here the road takes the Provinciale up to find the path that, cutting on the left towards the Akragas stream, leads us to the entrance of Agrigento, up to the Rocca della Cattedrale. The scent of the sea begins to fill the air and the last climb, in the suburban park of the Cathedral, leads to via Duomo, where the Chair of San Gerlando and San Giacomo protects and guards the city since the arrival of the Norman Counts. The foundation diploma of the Diocese entrusts a new Christian reality in the hands of the Cluniac Gerlando. With a view of the Mediterranean Sea and the long Pirandello beaches and an essential visit to the Cathedral and its tower, as well as to the Valley of the Temples - UNESCO World Heritage Site, the route of the Magna Via Francigena ends, 180 km between history and nature in the company of pr opri steps "
Day 11: AGRIGENTO The goal is reached and it's time to rest.
After breakfast at the hotel, free day for a possible visit to the Valley of the Temples. Free dinner, overnight at the hotel.
12 Day: AGRIGENTO - PALERMO After breakfast at the hotel, release of the reserved rooms and return to the various places of origin (travel excluded)
End of services.