A stage of medium length, characterised by a long and strenuous climb to Monte Sirino (1,907 m). The effort is rewarded by the incredible view we enjoy from the sanctuary on the summit, a unique place.
The climb to Monte Sirino is long and in the second part quite steep and exposed to the sun: it therefore requires good training.
Because of the strong sunlight, it is advisable to tackle the climb in the early hours of the morning.
Last water point at the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Sirino.
The descent from Monte Papa (from the saddle with the cable car) is on gravelly and very slippery ground, so be careful.
We leave Lago di Sirino and return to the cycle path that runs just above the lake along the flat southern slopes of Monte Sirino. We then turn off the path and take an easy dirt track to the left to begin the long climb (about 1,050 m height difference) to the summit. Shortly afterwards, we return to the tarmac road, cross under the motorway and, after a few bends, enter a small sheet metal subway; we return to the dirt track and start climbing again, mostly in the shade of the woods. We continue up to a large spring in the shade of huge beech trees, a good place to catch our breath for the second half of the climb.
From the spring we take the path; the path is not always visible and we have to sharpen our eyes to see the trail markers. The wood thins out until we are completely out in the open; after a short while, the track disappears on the ground and we walk by sight, following the markers whenever possible (in any case, the direction is very intuitive: uphill!). Then we reach a wood, return to the shade and enjoy a short flat stretch before returning to the track in the open and, with a traverse, we meet a wide path for the last metres of the ascent: we are on the summit of Monte Sirino (1,909 m), which houses the sanctuary of the same name (there is a fountain on the back and a small square that is always open where we can rest in the shade).
From the summit, we take a dirt road and lose altitude slightly until we reach a saddle, from which we re-enter the woods and continue on the flat until we come across a small path on the right that leads between the thick trees. This is how we begin the climb Monte Papa (about 150 m height difference): after the first stretch in the wood we come out into the open and, after a traverse, we climb gently up to the summit (on the left, 2,005 m), from where we have a wonderful view: the sea, Pollino, Cervati, the Lucanian Dolomites...
We continue to the summit and, after a traverse, we start the descent (about 550 m drop) to the Conserva hut. The path is clearly visible and leads to a pass near a cable car station: from there, along the cable car, the ground becomes gravelly and we have to be careful not to slip - the section is steep and treacherous. Then we enter the woods, the descent becomes gentler and we arrive near the asphalt road; but we turn right and walk along the ski slopes down the final descent to the hut, which is very popular in winter (thanks to the ski lifts) as well as in summer.
Rifugio la Conserva is located in the municipality of Lauria, a vast area that stretches from 600 to 900 metres above sea level.
The place is sadly famous for the “Massacre of Lauria” (or Sacco, or Siege): a massacre perpetrated in 1806 by Napoleon’s troops on the local population who had risen up for the Bourbon crown.
The built-up area of Lauria, made up of the districts of “Castello” and “Borgo” separated by the Ravita district, was the set for some sequences in the famous film Basilicata Coast to Coast by Rocco Papaleo.
Not far away is Grumento Nova, a town in Basilicata named after the ancient Grumentum.
Today it is possible to visit the archaeological excavations of the Roman city dating back to the 3rd century BC, one of the most important testimonies of the Roman era in Italy. Located in the Agri Valley, the area was already inhabited in the 6th century BC and was one of the Roman outposts in the fight against the Samnites and to protect the important trade route between the Ionian and Tyrrhenian coasts.
The fertility of the area (especially known for its wines) allowed the town to flourish throughout the Roman period and it even became an Episcopal seat in the 4th century AD. After incessant Saracen raids in the 9th and 10th centuries, the town was abandoned in favour of the safer surrounding mountains. The first archaeological finds in the town date from the 16th and 17th centuries. In the archaeological area you can visit the remains of numerous buildings, including the theatre from the Agustean period, the forum, the baths from the Republican and Imperial periods (the latter characterised by black and white mosaics) and, finally, the amphitheatre, which was already known from the 18th century but was only brought to light in the 1980s.
In the neighbouring municipality of Lagonegro is the regional reserve of Lake Laudemio. It is of glacial origin and is located in the mountain range of Monte Sirino. In 1985, it was recognised as a regional reserve because of its valuable fauna and flora and the numerous animal fossils.
Typical of these mountains is Canestrato di Moliterno IGP, a hard cheese made from a mixture of sheep's and goat’s milk.
The cheese is treated with olive oil or wine vinegar and matures in the fondaci of Moliterno. It has an intense flavour, both fresh and matured, and is made only from wild pastures. When the cheese has not matured for more than six months, it is called “Primitivo”.
The name Moliterno possibly derives from the Latin word mulcternum, which means “place where the milk is milked and curdles”. A name that tells an ancient story that has been preserved to this day.
There are many soft drinks that are traded locally and stand as a symbol for a certain area. Historical brands that have become part of local customs over the years. Sarubbi gassosa is very popular in the area. In inns and bars it is usually mixed with red wine and accompanied by Lucanian taralli, which are distinguished by their figure-eight shape. Sarubbi fizzy drink used to come in a special bottle with a ball cap (later replaced for hygienic reasons), which became a must for locals.
Rifugio Conserva, the northern slopes of Monte Papa. Tel. +39348 528 1542
The starting point is accessible by car.
The starting point can be reached by bus, starting from the city of Sapri and changing at Maratea and Lagonegro.
Here is the LINK, to check the timetable.
The starting point is 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.