Campofiorito e la vallata del Torrente Batticano

The approximately 15 Km journey travels largely between the towns of Campofiorito and Corleone; it has significant elevation changes and therefore requires some physical effort. The trails have natural interest for wide panoramic
views in the eastern direction towards Montagna Grande, the south face of the Rocca Busambra and the town of Corleone. In the wide valley of the Batticano stream, there are ancient water mills and the viaduct of the former railway track, near the village of Campofiorito. In the immediate vicinity, in addition to the archaeological site of
the ancient castle, there is the area called Conte Ranieri, identified as the seat of the Roman town of Thuryrium.

The loop route starts and ends in the center of the town of Campofiorito, a small settlement of about 1,300 inhabitants, located at 650 m. The itinerary, with an average slope close to 6%, takes place partly on asphalted roads with low traffic, sometimes bumpy, and partly on a stretch of former railway with dirt surface.

The itinerary crosses extensive cultivated areas, with prevalence of wheat and fodder that take on different colors depending on the seasons; there are almost no public services and facilities, and there are only a few houses, including the Case Grande Giammaria farm, to the north-west end and the Masseria Cammarata farm, in the district
of Conte Ranieri, near the village and the base of Mount Castellaccio.

From Campofiorito you will first descend into a stretch of farm road to the east of Fosso Castellaccio, with a slope to reach the section of the former railway track near the Batticano stream and the viaduct of the same name. From here you travel for more than 4 km to the north along the flat track of the old railway that runs about 500  high along the eastern flank of the valley and offers good valley views. After crossing the Ridocco district with the former station, arrive in the Madonna delle Vigne district, near the former Censiti stop, and enter the provincial road 59 with low traffic downhill for about 3 km to the Batticano intersection, from which you proceed to the left along the SP110 that
goes up on a steep slope to Campofiorito, at 650 meters high.

Mezzojuso e Campofelice di Fitalia

Il percorsosi sviluppa all’interno dei territori dei comuni di Mezzojuso e Campofelice di Fitalia e risulta particolarmente impegnativo, nonostante la brevità, per l’elevato dislivello che lo caratterizza (quasi 600 metri con pendenza media superiore al 6%) ), per dei tratti di salita impegnativa (oltre il 10%) e per la presenza di viabilità con tratti dissestati, o comunque con fondo sconnesso, nonostante sia a traffico basso o nullo ed in gran parte asfaltata. Il percorso attraversa vallate che alternano pascoli e boschi sotto il gruppo montuoso della Rocca Busambra e poi estese zone coltivate a grano, foraggi (con diversi colori stagionali) e qualche oliveto, con poche abitazioni e servizi ed esercizi pubblici assenti.

 

L’itinerario risulta di pregio paesaggistico per le visuali sull’ampia vallata del Torrente Azzirolo, affluente del Fiume San Leonardo, sul versante delle Serre di Ciminna e, verso Sud, per la vista della mole della Rocca Busambra e dei bordi orientali del Bosco della Ficuzza. Di pregio storico culturale sono il centro abitato di Mezzojuso, dall’arabo “Manzil Yūsuf” (il Casale di Giuseppe) rifondato poi nel XVI sec. dopo l’arrivo di profughi albanesi in fuga per l’avanzata turca, di cui rimangono notevoli testimonianze etnografiche come il bilinguismo o la doppia presenza dei riti religiosi cattolici e greco-ortodossi.

Sono importanti inoltre i resti medievali dell’abitato di Hasu o Chasu (torre d’avvistamento ed i resti di insediamenti del VII e VI sec. a.C., raggiungibile da Portella Guddemi tramite la Regia Trazzera 259), il paese di Campofelice di Fitalia, di fondazione ottocentesca a partire dal medievale Casale di Fitalia e la masseria Carcilupo del XVIII-XIX sec., posti lungo il percorso.

Il percorso inizia a Mezzojuso lungo il tratto iniziale della SP 55, per poi deviare verso Sud-Est all’innesto della Regia Trazzera 262 da percorrere fino alla Portella Guddemi (dalla quale si possono raggiungere i resti dell’abitato di Chasu) che conclude il tratto in salita di quasi 6 km. Inizia quindi una lunga discesa di quasi 10 km che attraversa il centro di Campofelice di Fitalia, e lambisce le Masserie Fitalia e Carcilupo, arrivando quasi al fondovalle con un dislivello di 500 metri. Raggiunta quota 314 metri s.l.m. in corrispondenza del bivio sulla Regia Trazzera 67, in località case Maragliano, il tracciato inizia a risalire attraversando campi e pascoli per ritornare verso Mezzojuso.

Ciminna, Ventimiglia di Sicilia e Baucina

The path, which has a “figure 8” route with a starting point and arrival at the center of Ciminna, about 650 meters high, reconnects the village to two nearby hilltowns of Ventimiglia and Baucina. Short, but rewarding, it has a change in elevation of almost 600 m with an average slope close to 6%; therefore it requires some physical effort and mainly follows along low or no traffic roads, mostly paved, except the only stretch along the Regia Trazzera 530 with dirt surface.

The route has natural attraction for the many tracts with panoramic views of the river valleys surrounding the three municipalities, of olive groves and of the mountain ranges of the Serra di Capezzana and of Ciminna and Pizzo di Trigna, the impressive mountain buttresses characterized by nearly vertical rocky outcrops. From the historical and cultural point of view, the itinerary connects the village of Ciminna, with foundations from the Norman era in the most ancient buildings, with the two villages of Baucina and Ventimiglia, which, with their regular layouts, are
examples of urban settlement projects of a feudal character of the period between the 16th and 17th centuries.

From Ciminna the route follows Corso Umberto I down to the intersection with the SP33 which, bending westwards, leads up and down to Trivio Balatelle, where you head east up to the village of Ventimiglia (540 m). Continuing the ascent to the north-west to the Portella of Ventimiglia pass (672 m), at the foot of the Pizzo di Trigna, the trail begins to descend in the middle of a forest along the Regia Trazzera 530 road to the village of Baucina and from here along the SP6, continues down southwards to Trivio Balatelle; here, taking the SP33 up to the intersection with a secondary road, the route goes back to Ciminna.

The East Coast: Bagheria, Casteldaccia, Santa Flavia e Ficarazzi

The route is relatively short (27 km), and, compared to other routes, less demanding, although it has a change in
elevation of almost 500 m and some parts on bumpy roads. It winds through the urban centers of Bagheria, Casteldaccia, Santa Flavia and Ficarazzi, and the related sea resorts of Solanto, Porticello, Sant’Elia and Aspra.
Much of the route, which runs along secondary roads in a hilly area full of orchards and vegetable gardens, is flat, but there are some challenging climbs, both in the interior and along the coast. The itinerary also uses roads with potentially significant traffic, especially in the summer when the coastal area is very busy and therefore requires close attention to motor vehicles.

Landscape and cultural interest is based on many features: the coastal and mountainous settings (the relationship between the sea and Mount Catalfano), the citrus cultivation in rural areas, the archaeological remains of the town of Solunto on the slopes of Mount Catalfano, patrician villas of the 18th century near Bagheria and Santa Flavia and the urban centers which developed from that period.

Starting from the square of the Mother Church of Bagheria, the itinerary climbs to Villa Butera and its western tower and, along urban roads, reaches the highway, crossed by overpass. Going south along the SP16, in a rural area with fields and dwellings, the itinerary reaches 116 meters above sea level, continuing with varying elevation for about 1.5 km.

Entering the Bellacera road, we continue to the highest point of the village of Casteldaccia (153 m), from where the route descends for about 3 km along urban roads to the coast, where it continues westward along the SS113 road to the Santa Flavia railway station and via urban roads comes to Porticello and its fishing port. Proceeding north, the route reaches the village of Sant’Elia and then the northern coastal road (SP 23) between Mount Catalfano,
Capo Zafferano and Capo Mongerbino, to the seaside town of Aspra.Following the waterfront (SP 74 road), the itinerary climbs along Via Leonardo da Vinci in Ficarazzi to the SS113 road, which extends eastwards as the main street of the town. Crossing the Eleuterio River, the SS 113 travels through agricultural areas, mixed with industrial and residential neighborhoods, towards the Bagheria railway area and from here again to the starting point on
Corso Butera.

Bolognetta, Baucina e Ventimiglia di Sicilia

The route begins and ends in Bolognetta (350 m high), passing through the villages of Baucina and Ventimiglia di Sicilia and passing from the south near the Natural Reserve of Pizzo di Cane and Pizzo della Trigna. The track, suitable for road bikes (despite bumps and potholes), requires good physical effort for the length and the sizable elevation changes over 1,100 meters with an average slope close to 5%) and goes mainly along on low traffic asphalt roads, with some tracts with medium traffic levels.

 

The route runs through cultivated areas with extensive presence of inhabited settlements and is of a landscape interest for the part near the mountainous group of Pizzo di Cane and Pizzo di Trigna and for the rivers Eleuterio and Milicia (to the west) and the tributaries of the San Leonardo river (to the east). From the historical and cultural point of view it is distinguished by the presence of the Thermal Baths of Cefalà Diana of Arab origin and the crossing of the
three villages of Bolognetta, Baucina and Ventimiglia, which, with their regular layouts, are examples of urban foundations of feudal character between the 16th and 17th centuries.

Starting from Bolognetta (350 m high), the route goes south along the SP77 in a slight climb up to about 480 meters and then descends back to Vallone Cefalà where the buildings of the Thermal Baths of Cefalà Diana are present. It climbs once again up to join the SP 6bis, then descends again down to the Vallone Buffa, passing under the overpass of SS 121 Palermo-Agrigento, and continuing along the SP 6 uphill to Baucina.

From Baucina, along the SP6, the route goes down to the south to Trivio Balatelle, then bends eastward to
the village of Ventimiglia (540 m). Going north-west up to Ventimiglia’s Portella (672 m), the route begins to go down along the southern sides of the Pizzo della Trigna and the Pizzo di Cane to first cross the SP16 near the Masseria Suvarita [cork grove] farm, continuing along the SP16 to the bridge over the Milicia River (124 m), from which it is possible to deviate towards the Bolognetta waterfalls. Beginning the uphill to the SP134 (277 m), the road
goes south-east towards the summits of Monte Dagariato, Cozzo Coda di Volpe and Scozzari, following a ridge between the Milicia and Eleuterio Rivers to return, in a slight uphill, up to the town of Bolognetta.

Roccamena e i Fiumi Belìce Destro e Sinistro

The route, which begins and ends at Roccamena (500 m high) in the upper valley of the Belìce river, on the provincial border with Trapani is mostly in the territory of Monreale, touching those of Camporeale and Alcamo. It requires some physical effort for the length and the presence of bumpy road sections. The track, mainly on low or no traffic roads, mostly asphalted but also on dirt farm roads, has generally moderate elevations, despite some challenging climbs, and generally bumpy surface and is suitable for MTB; despite some dirt roads, you can also ride carefully with road bikes.

The itinerary, which runs through extensive cultivated areas, scarcely inhabited and lacking public services and facilities, is of great natural beauty for the stretches of green valleys (in the spring) surrounded by higher reliefs, for the double crossing of the Belìce Destro river and for the view of Lake Garcia, formed by the Belìce Sinistro river.
The view on the way to and from Roccamena looks westwards, onto the Rock of Maranfusa and the remains of its medieval castle.

Descending from Roccamena along the SP27 to the Sparacia [asparagus] bridge on the Belìce Destro, the route climbs back to the Cozzo Maledetto crest to Case Sparacia and from here goes down to the valley to the SS624 Palermo-Sciacca road (overpass) to reach the crossroads of Ponte Pernice. Here you leave the paved road to take a rural road that winds north to bypass the hill of the village of Camporeale, joining the ex Consortile road 35 and from there to the SP111 westwards.

Begin then a slow climb up to the intersection with the SP30 and then southwest to SP 18 near the Rapitalà Wine
Estate. Continue downhill along the Regia Trazzera 119 road, which follows the North side of Mount
Pietroso to the Sirignano stream, to go up to the Croce di Fratacchia. The route goes south along the SP47, with a steady up and down to the Giampiartino intersection on the SP20, where a descent first to the south and then eastwards at the first crossroads along the SP9 ex Regia Trazzera 343 road leads to the bridge on the Belice Destro, near Poggioreale. From here, along the roads ex Consortile 53, SP45b, ex 27th and SP107, overlooking the valley that houses the artificial Garcia lake, you begin a climb that leads back to Roccamena passing through the Villaggio Capparini

Roccamena e Santuario di Tagliavia

The route begins and ends in the village of Roccamena (500 m), in the upper valley of the Belìce river
(between the right fork and the left fork of the Belice), but it takes place mostly in the township of Monreale and partly in Corleone. Utilizing mostly low or almost no-traffic roads, mainly asphalted, but also dirt farm roads, the route takes us to the Sanctuary of Tagliavia, located at almost 300 meters high.

Interesting for the continuous climbs and descents, the path requires good physical effort for the elevations, its length and the recurrence of rough tracts and is suitable for MTB bicycles, although it can be run by road bikes, despite the fact that presence of some dirt roads with bumps and potholes. The route crosses extensive cultivated areas, with very few homes and there are almost no public services or facilities; the crops are grain and forage, with different colors depending on the season, but there are also extensive wine-growing areas.

The territory crosses open views of the valleys of the tributaries of the Belìce river in a hilly environment with backgrounds of the mountain ranges of Rocca Busambra and Alto Belice. Of historical and cultural interest are the center of Roccamena, founded in 1796/97, the early 19th century Sanctuary of Tagliavia, the former 1886 Palermo-Corleone railway line, and the Borgo Schirò, reachable along the SP4 road, built in the 1930s, in a design linked to rationalist architecture that recall the paintings of De Chirico.

The route begins with a long stretch of descent from the center of Roccamena along the SP133 and SP27, to the Sparacia bridge on the Belìce Destro [right fork], then continues eastward in a progressive climb to the Sanctuary of Tagliavia, along the stretches of the provincial roads SP91, SP4, SP42. After joining the SS118 the route continues
slightly downhill along the bicycle route from the former Palermo-Corleone railway. At the Ponte Drago bridge you cross the river Frattina (left fork of the Belice) and then westward along the Strada Consortile Road 18 which connects to the SP4bis near Borgo Schirò. Once the SP27 is reached, the route continues uphill to Roccamena.

Godrano, Ficuzza e Mezzojuso

The path, circular and mountainous, begins and ends in the village of Godrano, about 690 m high, with a large part of the trail in the municipality of Mezzojuso and crossing portions of the communes of Corleone (the enclave of the village of Ficuzza) Monreale, Villafrati and Cefalà Diana. The path, with significant elevation changes (over 1,000
meters with an average slope of close to 5%), with notable climbs (over 17% uphill slope, and 21% downhill slope) and rough surface, requires good physical effort and use of a good MTB for the difficult conditions of the high roads in the Ficuzza Reserve. The first part up to Mezzojuso, with significant slopes, follows along dirt roads and/or partially paved roads and crosses wide wooded areas, with no dwellings and services, except in the village of Ficuzza where there are also rest/picnic areas. The route continues on paved roads with medium-level traffic, touching the centers of Mezzojuso, Villafrati, passing near Cefalà Diana, then climbing back to Godrano.

This itinerary is especially noteworthy for the landscape, for the presence of the Ficuzza Wood, the passage under the Rock of Busambra and the valleys of the tributaries of the San Leonardo River, where the colors of pastures and crops alternate during the seasons. Of historical-cultural value, the orderly urban layout of Godrano, a 17th century feudal agricultural village; the dismantled Palermo-Corleone railway; the Ficuzza hunting lodge, built in the early 19th century on the project of G.V. Marvuglia for King Ferdinand III of Sicily; Mezzojuso, from the Arabic toponym “Manzil Yusuf” (the Farmstead of Joseph) but restructured in the 16th century, after the arrival of Albanian refugees fleeing the Turkish advance and from which remain notable ethnographic testimonies such as bilingualism or the joint presence of Catholic and Greek Orthodox religious rites.

The route starts with a descent from Godrano to the former railway station where, via the abandoned railway line, with moderate climbs and descents, it enters the Ficuzza Reserve for about 8 km. The trailthen climbs to the highest point of the itinerary (about 1,000 meters) and then begins a long, steep descent to Mezzojuso (13 km). From here the route goes down gently to the valley floor on asphalted roads where it remains flat as it follows state road 121, sometimes with medium-level traffic, then touching the centers of Villafrati and Cefalà Diana and the medieval castle, finally returning to Godrano.

Vicari e la valle del San Leonardo

The route explores the eastern part of the Tourist district, crossing the territories of Vicari, Roccapalumba and Caccamo and requires good physical effort linked to some tracts with significant elevation changes. The hamlet of Vicari, almost 622 m high, is the starting and ending point of a nearly 27 km circular path with a height difference of 456 m and an average slope of over 4% with some remarkable climbing tracts (over 12%) and with a bumpy surface.

The route, which runs through extensive cultivated and grazing areas, with few public services and facilities, except in residential areas, is suitable for MTB bikes but can also be used with road bikes despite the presence of some dirt roads with bumps and potholes, and travels along mainly on low or no traffic roads, partly asphalted (with some bumps), but there are also some parts on dirt roads.

The historical and natural richness of the territory crossed is testified by the medieval village of Vicari with its castle of Byzantine and then Norman origin, from the town of Regalgioffoli (the ancient Rahal Jaffal of the Arab era) and from the orderly urban layout of Roccapalumba, typical of urban centers founded in the second half of the 16th century.

You can admire magnificent views over the valley of the San Leonardo River and its tributaries, overlooked
by the Vicari fortress and the Balzi della Chiusa reliefs of the Serre di Ciminna range. Starting from Vicari, a steep descent begins along the SP124 that reaches the bottom of the valley of the Macaluso stream, affluent of the San Leonardo river. Crossing the stream, the trail proceeds eastward along a road parallel to the Macaluso Bridge where the road begins to go north-east along the side of Mount Lista S. Giorgio along the Regia Trazzera 273
Vicari-Montemaggiore Belsito road. When you reach SS285, in the territory of Caccamo, the climb towards Roccapalumba continues south along this road, crossing the village of Regalgioffoli then reaching the center of Roccapalumba (541 m).The route out of Roccapalumba proceeds in a progressive and slight uphill along the SS121 to the overpass of Borgo Manganaro (620 m) over the Palermo-Agrigento freeway to proceed later via the SP84 north towards the town of Vicari.

Castronovo di Sicilia, Monte Carcaci e l’alta valle del Fiume Platani

The route, about 44 km, explores the upper valley of the Platani River on the southern side of the province of Palermo, in the municipality of Castronovo di Sicilia, except the stretch near the village of Filaga, in the municipality of Prizzi. The village of Castronovo, at almost 500 meters above sea level, forms the beginning and end of a circular route with significant changes in elevation(over 1,100 meters with an average slope of about 5%), with some remarkable climbs (over 10%) and over rough terrain.

The route, which is suitable for MTB, but is also accessible by road bikes despite bumps and potholes, travels  mostly on low or no traffic roads, partly asphalted (with some rough parts) with stretches on dirt roads and a highway with fast traffic (SS 188).

The places crossed are rich in history: Byzantine fortifications of the 7th & 8th century AD (11 towers and walls more than 3 meters thick) on Mount Kassar, above the village of Castronovo, asseria Melìa (ancient monastery founded by Pope Saint Gregory the Great (later known in the Byzantine period with the title of St. Stephen), remains of the Roman villa in Contrada S. Luca (near the intersection between the SP36 and SS188) and the ruins of the rural village of Riena, built in the 1940s in a rationalist style.

The valley of the Platani River, the woods of the Monte Càccaci Nature Reserve and Lake Fanaco, reachable through rural roads, offer interesting landscape views.

The route crosses a territory with pastures and far buildings but without housing and with almost no public services and facilities, except Filaga and the Monte Carcaci reserve in Colobria, with a picnic/rest area. The route begins with a short descent from Castronovo, followed by a long climb along the lake and the district Melìa (SP48), and then up to the Portella of the Olmos pass at an altitude of about 1000 m. From here begins a descent towards the SS188 and Filaga. Above the village, at the station of the former Lercara Bassa – Bivio Magazzolo railway, begins a steep climb on Monte Carcaci (MTB) to the Visitor Center of the nature reserve. Then begins a descent, interrupted by a short climb up to the village of Riena. From here, a downhill section reaches the intersection with the SS188 (about 500 meters), then climbing for 2 km before the final descent to Castronovo.To reduce the length by about 13 km and the
elevation change by 300 meters, it is possible, once you reach the SS188, to turn right (instead of heading towards Filaga) and return to Castronovo.

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