If it is true, as the famous saying goes, that “all roads lead to Rome”, then it is also true that all consular roads disect the Rome Province. By taking one of these, the via Tiburtina Valeria, one reaches the Giovenzano Valley; a land of peace and authenticity couched in greenery, just a few kilometres South-East of the magical, yet chaotic metropolis of Rome.
A place filled with thousands of years of history, wonderful architectural and artistic masterpieces, traditional and craft knowledge, rural and pastoral culture and a natural environment that has the rare distinction of never having been contaminated by human hand.
Its seven municipalities, Cerreto Laziale, Ciciliano, Gerano, Pisoniano, Rocca Canterano, Sambuci and Saracinesco are enchanting villages dotted over a mountainous, hilly or flat landscape which conceals and then discloses to the beholder breathtakingly beautiful sites, swimming in an overwhelming sea of green and ideally suited to be walked, cycled on a mountain bike or discovered on horseback.
We would like to point out a few of these enchanting nature trails: Via Rocca d’Elci trail Near Ciciliano, wonderful views open up as one climbs along the Via Rocca d'Elci as far as the "Rocchetta" (the d’Elci Fortress) where one can see the remarkable castle ruins. The fortress dominates the Empolitana valley and one can enjoy the glorious views of forests, stone outcrops and villages that fade away into the distance. The itinerary that leads to the Monte Spina Santa Soon after leaving Ciciliano one can make a short detour to visit the Rural Church of S. Pietro. Then one continues up to the Fortuna pass which offers great views of the Mentorella Sanctuary which lies in the territory of Guadagnolo (Municipality of Capranica Prenestina) and can be seen clinging to the craggy slopes of the Caprini mountains and dominating the Giovenzano valley from a height of 1030 metres. Having reached the peak of Mount Spina Santa one can enjoy the wonderful view of the minor mountain range of the Apennine foothills of the Province of Rome. Ancient path that leads to the Mentorella Sanctuary The first mention of this Sanctuary dates as far back as the 16th C. in the descriptions of the Pastoral Visits of the Tivoli Bishops. From the Fortuna Pass, at km 13.3 of the Via Empolitana, close by the rural Church of S. Maria Maddalena with its nearby Hospital, one heads towards Fossato, Colle di Tamanacca, Scaloni, Cerretana, Morrella, ara e’ Cioffaregliu, ara e’ Minchinegliu, ara e’ la Croce until one reaches the Mentorella and the Guadagnolo Mountain. Karol Woytyla path (7 km – 3 hours) Setting off along this path from Pisoniano one reaches the Mentorella Sanctuary, a place of worship which every year attracts an increasing number of pilgrims. It is part of the Sentiero della Pace (Peace Path - www.sentierodellapace.org) which connects the “Chiesa delle Vele” (Church of Sails) designed by the architect Mayer in the Tor Tre Teste neighbourhood in Rome to the Benedictine Monasteries in Subiaco. The Sanctuary is perched on the top of the Guadagnolo Mountain (1030 m.), from where one can admire the entire Giovenzano Valley. The itinerary will offer the opportunity to see plenty of the local flora and fauna and in winter there are also a number of small waterfalls. The Church of the Madonna della Neve (Snow Madonna) and what is supposed to be the Roman villa of one Gaius Calpurnius Piso. From the Pope Wojtyla path, having reached Pisoniano, one can then set off on another itinerary, the San Filippo Sales path which leads to the Convent of San Francesco in Bellagra. Two averagely challenging walks depart from Sambuci towards some of the nearby peaks: The Colle Cerrito Piano Path (7km – 5 hours) It starts in Via delle Scalette from the Fontanile del Ponte (Bridge Fountain), which crosses the Fiumicino (or Giovenzano) stream. The path winds its way pleasantly up towards the Colle Cerrito by first passing over the Colle Cimino. As the path climbs one can enjoy a very thrilling view of Sambuci. Having reached the top the view opens out to include the Albani Hills and the Ruffi, Simbruini, Prenestini, Tiburtini and Lucretili Mountains. The Fonta Acqua Jara Path (3.5 km – 2 hours) It starts off at the entrance of the garden to the Castle in Piazza di Corte. From Via dei Colli, along a mule track, one climbs up the wooded slopes of Mount Sainese as far as Saracinesco, and then on until one reaches a high panoramic plateau from where one can take in the Prenestini Mountains, Mount Guadagnolo, the Mentorella Sanctuary and even the Tiburtini Mountains. Mount Costa Sole Itinerary From Saracinesco one can also ascend to Mount Costa Sole. Leaving (by car) from the large square at the village entrance and following the downhill road towards the parking lot one then continue on as far as a junction. A dirt track departs from here that crosses a few pastures until it reaches a drinking trough. Having negotiated a few steep inclines one continues among thick vegetation up to a picnic area and a statue which is where one can park the car. From here, on foot, a mule track leads up to a junction, where one takes the left hand fork uphill. On reaching the crest and catching sight of the Prenestini Mountains, one then continues in the wood as far as the Travella Fork, from where one can admire the Cavaliere Plain and the Velino. By continuing to the right along a fresh path, and once out of the wood one keeps walking on the level up to a saddle (1225 m.) from where one can climb to the summit (1253 m. )
From Cerreto Laziale: Sentiero Ara delle Valli, Sentiero Cerreto Laziale - Valle Costa Sole - Saracinesco, Sentiero Cerreto Laziale - Forca Travella - Cima Costa Sole; from Gerano: Sentiero San Francesco; from Pisoniano: Vado della Selva, Sentiero Pedemontano; from Saracinesco: Strada Vicinale del Nocchieto.
For information on protected areas:
Monti Simbruini Park please phone 0774 827219-21
Monti Lucretili Park please phone 0774 637027 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting0774 637027end_of_the_skype_highlighting