A stage of good length and significant initial positive gain in altitude.
We climb the ramparts of the Monti Alburni and reach the summit of Monte Panormo (1,742), from where we have a beautiful view of the entire group.
The initial ascent is straightforward and free of technical difficulties, but it is quite long and requires good physical preparation.
The initial descent from Monte Panormo is quite exposed and steep in places (although the path is quite wide): it requires a steady pace and a head for heights.
The only water point is about halfway through the stage (water is not always available): take a good supply with you.
We leave the village of Sicignano degli Alburni and, having abandoned the asphalt road, we soon begin the long climb (about 1,050 m height difference) to Monte Panormo. We walk along a wide, stepped path: the gradient is always steep but never excessive and we walk easily in the shade of the beech wood. After several hairpin bends, we come to a wide saddle, the Vuccolo dell'Arena, where we also find a few picnic tables. From here the path flattens out for a while and then climbs gently along the edge of the ramparts (without ever being exposed, as we are always inside the wood); finally we come out into the open and face a steep ramp (the track on the ground is not always very clear, but the direction is intuitive) that leads us to the summit of Monte Panormo (1,742 m), which offers us a beautiful 360° view, especially of the vertical walls that form the ramparts of Alburni.
After resuming the path, we begin the long descent (about 550 m drop) towards the end of the stage. The first section, still in the open, is the most critical: we walk along the edge of the gorge and although the path is quite wide, sure-footedness and a head for heights are required. We continue along a slightly uneven path until we re-enter the woods; the gradient gradually decreases and we take a comfortable dirt road (shortly afterwards we notice a large watering trough with a fountain in the middle of a meadow on the right), along which we have a long and easy walk and enjoy some memorable views - in particular, about 2 km before arriving, it is worth making a detour to Monte Figliolo (1,337 m), overlooked by a spectacular limestone spire. We come out into the open on a hilly prairie and, after a slight climb, we reach the astronomical observatory of Casone Aresta.
We continue walking across wide meadows with gentle ups and downs until we re-enter the woods again and, with a very easy descent along a comfortable dirt track, we reach Varco dello Schiavo, where we turn right. We continue through the woods gaining altitude (about 100 m height difference) until we reach Rifugio Corcomone, the end of a beautiful stage.
Casone Aresta belongs to the municipality of Petina, a village with ancient origins: the first settlements date back to between the 9th and 8th centuries BC.
Some remains from the Roman period have also been found: some villas and a necropolis. In the 8th century AD, the many caves in the area were inhabited by Basilian monks who created the Spirito Santo cave complex, characterised by the baptismal font in the Lauro Cave, dedicated to the cult of Saint Michael. From the Lauro Cave, a tunnel leads directly to the centre of Petina.
The development of the village as we know it today began in the year 1000, according to documents in the archives of the Badia di Cava.
The arrival of the stage corresponds to the Astronomical Observatory, built by the University of Naples in collaboration with the National Park of Cilento, Vallo Diano and Alburni.
The building was an ancient "casone" (hence the name of the place) where shepherds and drovers used to rest. Located at an altitude of 1,169 metres, on a plateau surrounded by woods, it is a privileged vantage point for observing the universe thanks to its dome with a diameter of 5 metres, its mirror reflector with a diameter of 850 mm and a fully computerised system.
At Costa Palomba, about 1,125 metres above sea level, the figure of the pagan deity Anthex, dating from the 5th-4th centuries BC, is carved into a boulder.
The effigy depicts a warrior holding a spear, dressed in a short tunic. Not far away, an elliptical basin with a drainage channel has been carved out of a huge boulder, believed to have been a sacrificial basin. The place, considered sacred due to the presence of the statue and the basin, takes its name from the Castrum Palumbus fortress built between the 4th and 2nd centuries BC and the remains of the walls of what was a perfect control point for the entire Calore valley are still visible today.
Among the many in the Alburni area, the Auletta-Pertosa cave is one of the most spectacular.
It is crossed by the underground river Negro, the only example of a navigable underground river in Italy. The flat-bottomed boat is pulled by guides through an overhead cable.
Another unique feature of the Auletta-Pertosa caves is the presence of a pile-dwelling village dating back to the 2nd millennium BC. The first archaeological research was carried out at the end of the 19th century. The cave presents different itineraries with different difficulties.
Typical of these areas is the caciocavallo impiccato, cooked by hanging it on a hook over the embers. The technique hanging technique makes it possible to regulate the melting of the pasta filata cheese, which is traditionally poured onto toasted slices of bread. The Hanging Caciocavallo was traditionally used by Lucan shepherds who melted it over the hearth of their bivouac on cold nights.
Rifugio Corcomone, under the Timpone Soprano (not always open, please call to check availability). Tel. +39339 286 9848
Starting point is accessible by car.
The starting point can be reached by bus, which leaves from the city of Salerno.
Here is the LINK, to check the timetable.
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.