The Bussento is a river which is 37 km long, and it is one
of the most important rivers in the National Park of Cilento.
It consists of mountain streams from the Campania Apennines
that join in the south-west of Sanza and flow into the Tyrrhenian
Sea in the Gulf of Policastro. Born from the southern slope
of Mount Cervati, near Caselle in Pittari, it sinks into
a large sinkhole in the town of Sanza and later, passing
under Mount Panel, it re-emerges after about 5 km in the
area of Morigerati.
In the trekking routes of this area, the real protagonist is the water and his strength able to create artworks from rocks throughout the centuries. Indescribable is the feeling you have when you go up the 'Vallone dell'Inferno' (Valley of Hell) to the sources of the Bussento River, or when you walk through the tunnel dug into the rock, to get to the 'mouth' of a huge sinkhole called "Affondatore di Vallivona". A lanscape borrowed from Dante's Divina Commedia!
The trekking route towards the 'Vallone dell'Inferno' begins in locality Ponte Inferno/Ponte del Diavolo (Hell or Devil Bridge) at an altitude of 550 m and starting from the fountain. After 1 km walk along the Bussento River we arrive at a crossroads from which to proceed uphill to the right, thus entering the Valley of Hell, dominated by majestic rocky mountains. The trail here becomes more sinuous and is approx. 2.5 km long passing through woods of hornbeam, oak and maple trees. Along the way admire a breathtaking view over the gorge of Bussento! After about 2 hours walk we arrive at the sources of the Bussento River at an altitude of 909 m, springing from a cave. Continuing to trek right through a valley, you arrive on a winding dirt path that leads to the entrance and the 400m-long tunnel, which acts as a sort of gate toward the center of the 'Affondatore di Vallivona' (1070m). Here a flashlight is needed. The sinkhole has an elliptical shape, with sheer cliffs from 60 to 100 meters high and there are no words to describe the grandeur of Mother Nature in this work. The waters of the river have virtually cut in the limestone for centuries, and the waters of all streams of the entire Vallivona Valley are stored here to give birth to a beautiful waterfall and a pond.
Getting back on the dirt road you can continue until you reach the locality called 'Varco del Pero' at an altitude of 1250m, to enjoy a spectacular panoramic view that extends from Mount Cervati to the Gulf of Policastro. For the return you should follow the same route back.
The Caves of Morigerati, a WWF Oasis: we said that the Bussento river plunges into a massive sinkhole for a mysterious journey into the bowels of the earth, to reappear, a few miles further south, below the village of Morigerati. Another good walking tour is in fact the one that starts from this typically Cilento-style small country and allows you to enjoy this important WWF oasis of Italy, made up of routes in direct contact with nature, and to learn about flora and fauna of the Cilento. The route is simple and is carried down along a beautiful mule track partly carved into the rock. It leads after a series of hairpin turns directly to the entrance of the cave reachable by a stone staircase, that allows you to cross the canyon carved by the river.
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