Monte Speziale - and its neighbouring summit Monte Passo del Lupo (868 m) - is the highest elevation of an south - north running mountain ridge, which builds the Capo San Vito, a prominent headland on the northern shoreline of western Sicily. The ridge runs from Monte Monaco, standing high above the village of San Vito lo Capo near the very northern end of this peninsula to Monte Inici in the south. The peninsula separates the huge Golfo di Castellamare in the east from the Golfo di Cofano in the west.
Monte Speziale is part and highest elevation of Riserva Naturale dello Zingaro, a strictly protected National Park. It is a long stretched and during summer barren ridge. On the east slope are old farmhouses, caves and the biggest groves of the European dwarf palms (Chamaerops humilis, Palma Nanna).
Along the coast runs a beautiful coastal trail from the southern to the northern park entrance. There are many hidden beaches in little coves and bays - so you can hike and bathe, explore caves and study the former harsh farm life full of privations - and all that in one day !
Sicily without car is very difficult to do. There is no railroad in the western part of Sicily.
The public bus services can be - well - more than disappointing. And - as far as I know - there is no service to the entrances of the parks. If you don´t mind about that, check here if you can get a good connection. But always remember: if there is a bus on the schedule means not automatically that it will operate at all or be on time.
There are two trailheads:
- South entrance at Scopello
- North entrance near San Vito lo Capo
To reach the south entrance take the highway A 29 from Palermo or Agrigento / Mazara del Vallo or the A 29 dir from Trapani. Leave the highway at the exit "Castellamare" and follow the SS 187 in direction Trapani.
You can take the SS 187 from Trapani too, direction Castellamare del Golfo.
About 5 km west of Castellamare when the SS 187 leaves the coastline there is an intersection (Contrada Guidal-Barone). Take the road in the direction of Scopello.
At Scopello follow the signposts to Riserva Naturale dello Zingaro. The road ends at the south entrance to the parc; there is a good parking area at the entrance.
To reach the north entrance take the highway A 29 and the A 29 dir from Palermo or Agrigento / Mazara del Vallo in the direction to Trapani. Leave it at the exit "Erice" and follow the SS 187 in direction Castellamare del Golfo. You can leave the highway A 29 bewteen Palermo and Mazara del Vallo at the exit "Castellamare", too, and follow the SS 187 in the direction Trapani.
Near Baglio Messina leave the SS 187 where Custonaci and San Vito lo Capo is signposted. Follow the direction San Vito lo Capo until you arrive the village limits. Turn right for a shortcut to the eastcoast of the cape. Follow the coastal road to the south; after some old tunafish plants (Tonnara del Secco) the road starts ascending the east slopes of Monte Monaco. Follow this road until it ends at the north entrance.
The north entrance is less popular because you have to drive longer.
Riserva Naturale Orientata dello Zingaro is strictly protected.
You have to pay an entrance fee at the entrance stations north and south of the park.
It is forbidden
- to construct new buildings, roads and trails or alter existing ones
- to dig
- to hunt and to cast for fish
- to disturb or take away any animals, eggs or nests
- to collect or take away plants or parts of them, including seedlings
- to bring in foreign plants or animals
- to bring in dogs and other domestic animals, even when leashed
- to collect rocks, fossils and minerals
- to bring in cars, bikes
- to litter
- camping and fires
- firearms and explosives
- to enter the Riserva with motor boats
- to leave the marked trails
and some other activities a hiker normaly would not do (like burn down a harvested grain field ...)
With your entrance fee you will get an information sheet wth a very useful map for hiking and all those Red Tape topics in Italian, English, German and French language.
You can stay inside the parc at Contrada Sughero; there are some nice stone houses with simple overnight facilities. You have to book them in advance via Email. They are available from october until may each year. They look lovely and simple (see the pics at the link above) but I don´t know how comfortable they are.
You surely will find all types of accomodations in the surrounding villages and towns:
San Vito lo Capo
Castellamare del Golfo
Trails, Maps and Guides
There are several trails in the parc which can easily be connected together to a most satisfying day; for a first overview, look at that map.
You will get a good map at the entrance station so there is no need to look for one.
They will provide some hiking recommendations, too.
There is a good guide book with a hike onto Monte Speziale now also available in English:
Wanderführer Sizilien und Liparische Inseln
But I hope you will appreciate my suggestion on that; see my Zingaro loop route decription.