Path of the Brigand

Walking Route Length: 120 km
Walking Route Number of Stages: 4/9 Stages
Walking Route Duration: 7 Days

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The Brigante path is a Calabrian hiking trail that starts from the ski resort of Gambarie, a hamlet of Santo Stefano in Aspromonte, in the province of Reggio Calabria and ends in Serra San Bruno and Bivongi-Stilo, in the Calabrian Serre divided into 9 stages created by the GEA (Aspromonte Hiking Group) in 1989 and completed the following year.

The name comes from the fact that it was a road traveled in the past by numerous brigands including: Nino Martino, Giuseppe Musolino, the Mittica band, bizzarro and Giuseppe Pronestì the Sonnino brigand.

The path can be covered in 7 days in both directions and does not have any demanding or climbing sections. The conclusion of each stage ends near anthropized areas, so it is always possible to finish the path early or even just walk through individual stages.
The territory from Gambarie to the Limina Pass falls within the Aspromonte National Park and after that the Calabrian Serre chain begins.

It is traced with red-white-red striped signs and for some stretches it follows the Sentiero Italia along the ridge. It crosses the municipal areas of: Gambarie (Santo Stefano in Aspromonte), Oppido Mamertina, Platì, Ciminà, Cittanova (Zomaro), Canolo, San Giorgio Morgeto, Mammola (Passo della Limina), Fabrizia, Mongiana, Pazzano Bivongi and Stilo.

The Aspromonte National Park has included the Sentiero del Brigante in its trail network, to be covered in 4 stages, enhancing the route of the trekking trail also with publications of maps and brochures, increasing the presence of numerous hikers who also arrive from abroad, lovers of the Aspromonte mountains for their great naturalistic, landscape and historical-cultural value.

The route in the Aspromonte Park, in 4 stages:

  1. Stage 1, Gambarie – Carmelia
  2. Stage 2, Carmelia – Zervò
  3. Stage 3, Zervò – Zomaro
  4. Stage 4, Zomaro – Passo della Limina

The complete itinerary, in 9 stages, as proposed by GEA

  1. From Gambarie to Carmelia
  2. From Carmelia to Zervò (former sanatorium)
  3. From Zervò to Trepitò
  4. From Trepitò to the Merchant pass (Canolo Nuova)
  5. From the Merchant pass to the Limina pass
  6. From the Limina pass to Mongiana
  7. From Mongiana to Ferdinandea
  8. From Ferdinandea to Serra San Bruno
  9. From Ferdinandea to Bivongi-Pazzano and Stilo

Starting from the center of Aspromonte and heading north towards the Serre, a succession of toponymic designations tell of rebels and brigands who, in various historical periods, have traveled these mountains and found refuge there. But in addition to toponyms, even the stories, legends and numerous archival documents speak of brigands, sometimes feared and sometimes protected, considered heroes, executioners, rarely criminals.

Starting from the rebel slave Spartacus, whose deeds are told by the significant remains of fortifications found near Zomaro, on the so-called Tabular Ridge, we have news of many other characters, more or less illustrious, defined as brigands, who found refuge in Aspromonte and escape routes. The best known was the legendary Nino Martino, ubiquitous of Aspromonte and Sila, whose memory is still handed down in the stories and in the numerous toponyms that dot the Aspromonte. Then there was the Mittica Band of Platì, which together with General Borjès, immediately after the Unification, tried to restore the Bourbon Kingdom in Calabria, and which, after the attack on Platì, sought refuge near the Zomaro. And then the bloodthirsty Bizarro, always accompanied by ferocious dogs that he threw at his enemies. It is said that it roamed the woods of Rosarno, to then go up to Mongiana. Or even the brigand Sonnino, avenger of wrongs suffered, who during his escapes went as far as the woods of the Serre.

Walking along this path, therefore, means walking “in the footsteps of the Brigands". The Via Grande itself, an ancient road of prehistoric origin, is said to have been used as a road for trade, migration, transhumance and even escape. But the interest that the itinerary can arouse in visitors is not only historical.

The characteristic of the Sentiero del Brigante is that of linking and giving continuity and harmony to the rural and mountain landscape crossed by connecting areas of great naturalistic interest and rural settlements, inhabited centers and forests, architectural and archaeological emergencies. From its initial point to its final point, the path meets numerous sites of great interest, undervalued and almost forgotten. Old noble residences, fortified structures, archaeological remains, woods rich in biodiversity, exciting views and characteristic villages. Among all these "emergencies", the former Stilaro mining basin deserves a special mention.

Walkable in both directions, the Sentiero del Brigante can be a one-day experience or a multi-day trek, a walk in the woods or an organized excursion.
Since its first signing it has been divided into stages, so that it can be accessed from various points. It is therefore not necessary to go to Gambarie, Serra San Bruno or Stilo to cover a section of it. It can be traveled on foot, by mountain bike or on horseback, and lends itself to educational initiatives aimed at school groups.
The physical characteristics of the route, which does not present particular difficulties or dangers, make the Sentiero del Brigante a path for hikers, tourists, families, students: a path for everyone.

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