The panoramic route from the I Pianetti Saddle to Monte Grotta Grande is an easy hike along pastures used for extensive cattle grazing. Though you can't get lost, the correct path is often lost among cattle trails. Moreover there are several small wooded patches - dwarf beeches - which can form tiring obstacles. However, Monte Grotta Grande can be seen during two thirds of the route so that finally everyone will be able to reach it.
The character of the route is a mere panoramic hike for most of the time. However, shortly before reaching the summit you have to cross a saddle. In itself the saddle is unproblematic but it is overgrown with nettles and blackberries so that the logical route along the north ridge is out of bounds. Instead a wide loop leads to the easy south "ridge" and up to the summit.
Getting ThereThe saddle I Pianetti can be easily reached by a 30 min drive from Cefalu on the north coast. Buses go from Isnello to the Sanctuario at Gibilmanna, which is about 2km from the trailhead.
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- Start altitude: 834m
- Summit altitude: 1064m
- Prevailing exposition: E
- Type: 2h on paths (sometimes vanishing)
- Protection: unprotected
Between Gibilmanna and the village of Gratteri, there is a saddle, called I Pianetti, where you can find a place to park your car. The trailhead is 50m to the west of the saddle (Gratteri side), where you turn from the road onto a clearly visible path. As you hike along several more paths join and leave, all an indication of the area being used for cattle and sheep grazing.
Hike along the slope (called Contrada Tribuna), descending at first but later ascending and finally keeping almost level. Pizzo Carbonara, Monte Puraccia and Pizzo San Angelo accompany you along the way. You reach a small saddle, into which you have to descend. There is a small unused cabin at the base of the depression, located in a thicket of blackberries and nettles. Also the direct route to Monte Grotta Grande is barred by the thicket, so that generally the north ridge is not climbed.
Instead, hike to the cabin and cross the thicket at its narrowest stretch to the right (west). Circle around it until you get to a cattle fence. Don't cross, rather follow the fence since it ends almost on the Monte Grotta Grande summit. A few scrambling steps and you are at the summit cross.