A stage of medium length and good altitude difference, not particularly scenic, with a long section on asphalt. We leave the Partenio mountains behind us.
The crossing of the Avellino plain is exclusively on asphalted roads: Watch out for traffic.
The signposting is discontinuous and for long stretches there is no sign: it is good to follow the GPS track.
The first part of the descent from Monte Faliesi is along a path overgrown with vegetation, but it remains clearly visible.
We leave the Sanctuary of Montevergine, we take the good, graded path that cutting across the hairpin bends of the asphalt road, descends towards the plain of Avellino (about 900 m drop); having passed the village of Mercogliano, we resume the path and go across the plain, with some ups and downs (in this section there are several unmarked junctions and it is advisable to keep an eye on the GPS track), until we come across a small asphalted road that we follow downhill until we reach the bottom of the valley, where we pass the motorway thanks to a subway.
Remaining on the asphalt road, we then pass the village of Alvanella and shortly afterwards descend to cross the Fenestrelle stream, arriving in contrada Bagnoli.
We leave the village road and take a small road on the left that goes through hazelnut groves and begin the climb (about 400 m height difference) towards the shoulder of Monte Faliesi. After a few hundred metres we pass onto a dirt road and reach the watershed without difficulty (we are about half way up the entire climb), near a metal fence; without crossing it, we take the path to the right and, paying attention to the signs, we take the Sentiero degli Studenti, with which we easily tackle the second part of the climb, halfway up the slope, immersed in the woods. At the end of the climb, near the church of San Michele, we can visit the Grotta dei Sette Giri, and not far from here is a panoramic promontory with a large cross.
We begin the descent (about 400 m drop) towards Contrada; the first section is along a narrow path covered with plants; then we come to a wide dirt road, along which we proceed in wide bends until we come to the asphalt road and reach the centre of Contrada.
Celzi is a hamlet of the municipality of Forino, a few kilometres from Avellino, the most representative town of Irpinia.
Irpinia is a historical-geographical area where the Irpini, a people of Samnite descent, settled around 2000 BC, although it is not clear how the Irpini relate to the other Samnite peoples. Given the common Oscan language, they are certainly all descended from the Sabellic group.
Like the other Samnite peoples, the Hirpini were born as part of the Ver Sacrum, or Sacred Spring: a rite that involved the sacrifice of the firstborn born between 1 March and 1 June. The children grew up "under the protection of the gods" and, after reaching adulthood, set out on a journey following a sacred animal. The Hirpini followed the wolf and became a proud warrior people who made life difficult for the Romans - who finally defeated them after the Social War in the 1st century BC.
Another hamlet in the municipality of Forino is Castello, a mediaeval village in a state of semi-abandonment that has a certain charm for lovers of peace and tranquillity.
The ruins of the Langobard castle and the Sanctuary of San Nicola are particularly worth seeing. Built by the Byzantines, it is the probable testimony of the oldest Christian cult in Forino, dedicated to Saint Nicholas of Bari, Bishop of Mira.
From the Roman period, in addition to archaeological remains, the production of hazelnuts is known, which was introduced during the construction of the Fontis Augustei Aquaeductus aqueduct to increase agricultural production.
In Contrada you can find a few B&Bs online.
Tenuta Montelaura Agri-Braceria, in Celzi (about 4 km after Contrada, along the next stage). Tel. +39347 755 5507
Starting point reachable by car.
Starting point NOT reachable by bus
The nearest location that can be reached by bus is Ospedaletto d’Alpinolo, starting from the city of Avellino.
Here is the LINK to check the timetables.
Starting 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.