Monte Catalfano

The itinerary, inside the Parco del Monte Catalfano, winds through two of the three hills which together form the
complex of Monte Catalfano, a limestone rocky promontory overlooking the plain of Bagheria.

The view faces one side onto the plain of Palermo, embracing a panorama that goes from Punta di Monte Pellegrino to Capo Mongerbino, on the other onto the mountains of Termini Imerese, in the background the Madonie range and then on the vast stretch of coast from Capo Plaia to Cape Saffron.

This is a strategically important position, occupied in the past by the Phoenicians and later by the Romans.
The remains of the city they founded today constitute the important archaeological site of Solunto, located on the east side of the promontory. Along the route there are a collection of natural features, such as the “zubbi ” (vertically developed karst cavities), marine caves, endemic and rare plants, nests of peregrine falcons and other rare birds of
prey. From a botanical point of view, quite valuable are the groves of Kermes Oak, a species that once
characterized the coasts of western Sicily and is today very rare. The trail starts at Portella Vignazza pass, near a park
area with children’s playgrounds, and climbs to the well-known Mount Catalfano (374 m) through a comfortable road that after a few kilometers turns into a well traced path. This climbs to the trigonometric point on the top with the wonderful panorama of the Capo Zafferana promontory underneath, called by the locals, for its shape, “Napoleon’s Hat.” You then go back for a short stretch until you cross another path that brings you back close to your
starting point. From here the route climbs to Cozzo San Pietro (345 m.), enters for a short stretch in a shady pine forest, passing close to a forest ranger station with water fountain, and then winds up the mountain on the western side before climbing towards the top. Finally, a comfortable dirt road goes back to the starting point. The path makes a ‘figure 8’ with two crossing loops: one leading to the summit of Mount Catalfano and the other to Cozzo San Pietro; you can also choose to tackle only one of the two routes as an alternative to the complete itinerary. The excursion, which has no significant difficulty except for some challenging, yet manageable, climbs is essentially on well marked and beaten paths and on comfortable rural roads.

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