It is definitely one of the most fascinating and mystical areas of the whole Aspromonte. The Valleys of the Big Stones are in truth the ridge between the Fiumara Careri and the Fiumara Bonamico. Here wind and water have formed and washed the once contiguous layer of conglomerate that covers this area, transforming it into a unique landscape of its kind with numerous and gigantic monoliths whose indisputably most striking and imposing one is Pietra Cappa, the highest monolith in Europe, geosite of international importance and symbol of the Aspromonte Geopark. It inevitably attracts anyone’s gaze from all sides with its shape resembling a huge panettone or an overturned cup which dominates the surrounding landscape. It seems to emanate a strange energy which is difficult to escape and for centuries the area with its rocks was a place of refuge, prayer and meditation. Approaching it seems to see various faces and figures on the rocks. And there are numerous legends that are handed down from generation to generation.
At the center of any excursion there is definitely the perimeter of Pietra Cappa which allows not only to see the rocks up close and to touch them with your hands but even to almost enter this giant that occupies 4 hectares and exceeds 100 meters in height in order to experience all its charm firsthand.
The most classic excursion starts from the Natile Vecchio village and also allows you to visit the top of Pietra Tonda which offers wonderful views both on Pietra Cappa and on the village just left behind and on the entire valley until down to the sea, and the Rocce di San Pietro with the hermitage who offered refuge to the Basilian monks during the Byzantine period. (Hiking time: approx. 5 hours, elevation gain: 420 m)
The excursion can be shortened by starting directly from locality Scaru to avoid the heat of summer and limiting itself to the simple perimeter of Pietra Cappa. (Hiking time: approx. 2 hours, elevation gain: approx. 100 m)
From Pietra Lunga above San Luca Pietra Cappa can be reached via a path almost completely in the shade and therefore very pleasant in summer. In the holm oak forest it is easy to meet both wild boars and free running black pigs and the San Giorgio forest hut in the midst of a chestnut forest with some centenary specimens invites with its clear and fresh water fountain to a stop and a delicious picnic. It is possible to integrate the excursion with a visit to the nearby and enchanting Pietra Cappa Waterfall, known by the local people as “u skicciu du rimitu”, a geosite which has not yet been registered. Inside the stretch of rock excavated for millennia, which shows a very open cave, you can breathe an almost therapeutic air and the characteristic shape seems to produce almost rhythmic sounds that clearly derive from the roar of the water. The energy released by the waters becomes a real temptation and in the summer it will be impossible not to take a bath. (Hiking time: 4.5 hours, elevation: approx. 300 m)