Alicudi Excursion on land

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There is no road that follows the coastline of the island, so it is not possible to make a tour by land by car. There is only a narrow path which leads from the port to piana della Bazzina and, in the other direction, towards the Palumba cliff, near the Pirciatu, an arch-shaped rock which stands on the beach, in front of the Ericusa hotel.

The roads are mule tracks, with wide stone stairways, which lead to the summit of the island, Piano Filo dell’Arpa.

The vegetation and the disuse of the old pathways make it difficult to find your way around the network of tracks. It is therefore advisable to call sig. Peppino Taranto   to find a guide.

To reach the crater you should allow for two to three hours of climbing and equip yourself with comfortable shoes, in order to walk, without too much difficulty on the slabs of stone, called ‘i princhi’, which form the pathway. From the port a narrow paved path climbs up, passing some houses, to an old quay called scoglio Palomba. This picturesque hamlet of white houses climbs, terrace upon terrace, up the steep slopes of the volcano, surrounded by heather, reeds, prickly pears, caper and bougainvillaea bushes.

After passing the Carmine church and Piano Fucile, turn right at the first junction and, after a series of panoramic bends and a flat stretch, the mule track reaches a height of 400 metres and the church of Saint Bartholo-mew, the only important monument, rebuilt in 1821, upon the remains of the 17th-century sacristy. At the rear there is a large rainwater collection tank. A little further on, having left the main path and turning left, you climb up alongside the terraces on a grandiose stairway, which reaches a plateau at a height of 500 metres. On this plateau, the remains of a collapsed crater, you find the village of Montagna, now abandoned and in ruins, an ancient settlement built high up for better defence against privateers. From the high plateau you can climb up to Fossa Gebbia and, at a height of 662 metres, Piano Filo dell’ Arpa, an ancient crater, now the highest point of the volcano. From here, there is a truly wonderful view.

A less demanding excursion can be made climbing from the port towards the Carmine church. Passing through Piano Fucile, you continue towards contrada Mulino along an almost flat track overlooking the port, which leads to Tonna. This is a picturesque group of houses, huddled in the shelter of a valley and still inhabited, from which you can walk back down to the port. A unique feature is the presence of ‘rifriscaturi’ or cold soffiones which come out of underground cavities and are

not hot like those on vulcano. In olden times they were used by the inhabitants as natural refrigerators for conserving foodstuffs and cooling drinks.

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