Sant'Ambrogio

vineyards at Santa Anastasia

views of Mt Etna during the walk

people that you meet along the way

Castelbuono

Castelbuono

View of Petralia Soprana

Abbazia Santa Anastasia

Gangi

Self Guided Walk from centre of Sicily to the coast

Your journey begins in the centre of Sicily, and takes you across the Madonie Mountains, passing ancient oak and maple trees as old as 800 years. You travel along a Roman road following in the footsteps of those who once used it as a trade route to the coast.

 

As you emerge from the forests, you are met with breathtaking views of the coastline across to the rock of Cefalu and the Aeolian Islands, where you descend through olive groves and fruit orchards using an old mule track, into the village of Sant'Ambrogio.

 

The level of activity is moderate with some short strenuous uphill sections. The paths are mostly unmarked but easy to follow using the descriptions, maps and GPS co-ordinates provided.

 

On request the tour can be shortened by 1 or 2 days. 

 

Day 1:  
Transfer from Catania or Palermo airport to Gangi
Overnight: at a restored Baronial villa, dating back to the 1700s, situated in a tranquil valley behind Gangi. 
Dinner included.

 

Day 2:
Gangi - Geraci Siculo
From Villa Raino you walk up an ancient drover’s road, before descending into a valley using the old trade route. You cross a Roman bridge and pass rugged scenery by walking on an ancient mule track which leads up to the town of Geraci Siculo and the ruins of the 11th century Saracen castle. Here you have time to wander and explore the town before being driven to Gangi, the 2015 winner of the “Borgo Più Bello d’Italia”, (the most beautiful village in Italy), known for its artistic qualities, culture, local handicrafts and wonderful cuisine.  
Dinner and breakfast included.
(Distance 11km; ascent 520m; descent 176m)

 

Day 3: 
Geraci Siculo - Petralia Soprana
This morning your route manager takes you on a short drive, (30mins), back to Geraci where your walk ended yesterday.
The walk begins along a wide path which winds its way through woodlands taking you up to an altitude of 1077m, before descending through open countryside revealing wonderful views of Mt Etna, Enna and Gangi.  The final part of the walk includes some sealed roads, before ending in the Medieval town of Petralia Soprana.
Breakfast included.
(Distance: 11.15km; ascent 407m; descent 339m)

 

Day 4:
Petralia Soprana to Pomieri
Today's walk begins with a downhill path taking you into the town of Petralia Sottana, where you have time to stroll around before making your way along a sealed road which leads to ‘regia trazzera’,the road once used by Royalty to travel to Castelbuono.
After a short distance, you leave the ancient road, making your way to a bridge called Ponte di San Brancato. At the bridge, you take a small path which climbs uphill into an open landscape with wonderful views. Continuing along the path you travel through pinewoods to reach Portella Mele, before descending into Piano Pomieri. 
Dinner and breakfast included.
(Distance: 11.40km; ascent 586m; descent 384m)

 

Day 5:
Piano Pomieri – Castelbuono
The walk today takes you through the woodlands of the Madonie Mountains, passing maple and oak trees ranging in age from 600 to 800 years. Throughout your journey, you enjoy spectacular views across the mountains towards the sea. A highlight of the walk is arriving at Piano Pomo, where you find 1,000 year old Holly trees located near a traditional thatched roof shepherd's hut. Continue on your journey until you arrive at Piano Sempria, where you may like to take a lunch break at the Rifugio (mountain hut), before descending through woodlands, using the old coal burners’ trail. Travelling through cobblestoned streets, you arrive at today's destination, the picturesque town of Castelbuono, passing through the historical centre and on to your accommodation.
Breakfast included.
(Distance: 16.2km; ascent 292m; descent 900m)

 

Day 6: 
Castelbuono – Abbazia Santa Anastasia
 
Today's walk is short, beginning with a 500m walk uphill to a plateau with sensational views, looking back upon the area just covered. From here you descend to the luxurious country resort of Abbazia Santa Anastasia, a 12th century St Benedictine monastery, nestled amongst vineyards and olive groves, with wonderful views towards the sea. Spend the afternoon relaxing by the swimming pool or exploring the surroundings.
Breakfast included.
(Distance: 7km; ascent 478m; descent 451m)

 

Day 7: 
Abbazia Santa Anastasia – Sant’Ambrogio
Leaving Abbazia Santa Anastasia, you walk downhill alongside the vineyards arriving at the path which takes you into the valley and then winds uphill through olives groves and oak woods, arriving at a sealed section of road where you can admire the magnificent views across the sea to the Rock of Cefalù and the Aeolian Islands. From here you resume your walk, going into the woods known as “Bosco di Guarneri”, travelling on a track which passes through cork oak woods and Mediterranean shrubs. Our final descent into the quaint village of Sant’Ambrogio is done on an old mule track which passes through picturesque olive groves and orchards. A highlight of your stay in Sant'Ambrogio is this evening's tasting of local wines at Mimmo's Cellar followed by dinner at Osteria Bacchus
Overnight: Varies depending on your choice of accommodation.
Dinner included.
(Distance: 10.40km; ascent 350m; descent 550m)

 

Day 8:
Today is a free day giving you the opportunity to visit the bustling seaside town of Cefalù, taking in its sights, including the magnificent Arab/Norman Cathedral and the medieval washing troughs. For those who enjoy shopping, Cefalù is a treasure trove of interesting shops with something for everyone. After all of the sightseeing and shopping, you may choose to enjoy some relaxing time by the seaside. 
Overnight: Varies depending on your choice of accommodation.

 

Day 9:
Transfer to Palermo airport
Breakfast included         

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cost:     Euro 1,050 per person minum of 2 people
(two people sharing a double room)

Tour Dates:  On request

The tour includes:

  • Accommodation as specified.
  • Arrival transfer from Catania or Palermo airport to Gangi
  • Meals as specified. 
  • Wine tasting at Mimmo's cellar and dinner at Osteria Bacchus
  • Transfer of luggage and pickups as required during the walk
  • Maps, photos, gps coordinates and walking notes.
  • Historical and cultural information.
  • Departure transfer from Sant’Ambrogio or Cefalù to Palermo airport
  • The services of a Tour Manager for any assistance required throughout the tour. 

 

The tour does not include:

  • Packed lunches and any other meals not specified in the itinerary.
  • Accommodation in Sant'Ambrogio or Cefalù
  • Air travel to Sicily
  • Travel insurance which is a requirement of the trip
  • Personal items or any other services and provisions not mentioned in inclusions.
  • Single room supplement.

Accommodation:
The accommodation chosen in the Madonie Mountains is varied starting from a family run agriturismo (farm stay), 3 star hotel, mountain chalet, B & B and luxury country resort).
Self-catering accommodation is available in the village of Sant’Ambrogio. Alternatively, you may choose to stay in a hotel in the town of Cefalù. Whichever your preference, reservations can be made on your behalf upon request or independently.

Food:
The evening meals that are included in the tour are based on the local traditional cuisine of the area. Where meals are not included, suggestions are provided on where to enjoy the most authentic cuisine, ensuring you are able to enjoy local produce at its best, including where to buy a packed lunch to take with you on your walks. 

 

 

 

 

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