Short stage with no technical difficulties, but with a discrete climb: the first since Muggia.
The beautiful Castelmonte repays the effort. From the sanctuary with the same name (which houses a black Madonna), we enjoy the first aerial view of the Natisone Valleys.
Signage is quite poor and it is easy to get lost in the paths: better to keep an eye on the GPS.
Risk of ticks.
Drinking spots absent up to Castelmonte: bring a good supply.
After passing the Judrio river through the Schioppettino bridge, we continue on a paved road towards the hamlet of Centa. From there, we take the path that climbs towards Monte Brischis (about 200 m height difference).
After a long stretch along the hillside, in the thick woods, we pass the village of Stregna and with another climb (approximately 250 m height difference), we reach the small church of Pieve dei Tre Re.
A comfortable forest road takes us to the asphalted road that reaches Castelmonte. Before reaching the ancient village and going up to the sanctuary, the small hill to the left of the road is worth a detour. It offers a glimpse of the whole of Castelmonte and the Natisone valleys.
We start to perceive the altitude that we have reached.
The Sanctuary of the Madonna di Castelmonte is one of the oldest sanctuaries in the North-East. Although the first written document that mentions it dates back to 1175 AD, its origins probably lie in primitive Christianity.
Today it is a religious landmark and a source of pride for Friulians all over the world. The cult of the Black Madonna is flanked by that of San Michele Arcangelo, introduced by the Lombards.
The surrounding village was born from a Roman parish. It was founded by peasants who took refuge on the promontory to defend themselves from the Barbarian invasions.
In addition to the sanctuary and the surrounding ancient village, about 1 hour
walking distance from there, we find the Kot Waterfalls, a small natural oasis near the town of San Leonardo.
The blecs ("patches" in Friulian) are a type of irregular pasta made with wholemeal flour and eggs. They are seasoned with cheese (such as montasio or smoked ricotta), or with game sauce. The fregoloz ("crumbs") are a poor version of the gnocchi, similar to the spatzle, made of flour and water, usually seasoned with herbs (or pumpkin) and cheese.
Osteria di Delizie e Curiosità, in Castelmonte. Tel. +39 0432 700 380
Starting point reachable by car.
Starting point reachable by bus from the city of Udine with a change in Cividale.
Here the LINK to check the timetables.
Departure point NOT reachable by train.
Va' Sentiero is a grassroot project, thanks to the spontaneous contribution oft housands of people.
Even the most complicated dream, a 7,000km uphill dream,
can be achieved... together.