Monte Cervati

Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 40.28300°N / 15.49000°E
Additional Information Elevation: 6232 ft / 1900 m
Sign the Climber's Log


Monte Cervati, an extinct volcano, is the highest peak in the Cilento region of Southern Italy.
The area it's in is pretty remote, unlike Bulgheria, Cervati is located in the heart of the region, the nearest town being Sanza.
A trail starts from just outside of Sanza, which is used every once in a while for people on a pilgrimage to the monastery on a peak about a mile west of Cervati's summit.
The mountain itself isn't really visible from the main road, because it's a part of a much larger massif with 5 or 6 peaks over 6000 foot.

Getting There

I would recommend coming by car. As i found out when i walked over to the monastery, there is a road going up there, ending only 1 mile short of the summit.
This option, though, i won't further discuss here.
The trailhead is at the end of a dirt track going up a valley towards a few farmsteads and some outlying farmland. It's possible to drive to the end of it, if you have a 4 wheel drive, cutting about 5 miles/8 km roundtrip, and about 1000 vertical foot. Better is, though to park your car at the beginning of the dirt road, because you won't clog up farm access, and you have a chance to start out a little lower = getting more vertical foot out of it.
The dirt road starts in a sort of housecluster at the bottom of this valley,on a elevation of 1,750 foot on the edge of Sanza, about 2 miles/ 3,5 km west of the actual town.

Red Tape

As far as i know, no red tape is present at this location.
The only thing here, just as at Bulgheria, farmers use the pastures on the slopes of the mountain for Buffalo grazing. The difference with Bulgheria here is, that these herds are largely unattended. They have large horns, so you really don't want to piss them off - they are better hillwalkers then you are!
Another thing i need to stress here is that you should not be afraid of dogs. When you'll pass through the valley, you'll pass by farms.
Farms here generally have guarddogs, and there are stray dogs in this area. They'll bark at you and try to act pissed off, but if you yell at them, most of the time they'll just bugger off.

When To Climb

Climbable year round: July averages 85-105F/29-40C in the Sanza Valley, and about 65-85F/17-29C on the summit.
In January expect 35-55F/2-12C in the Sanza Valley and 15-35F/-9C-2C on the summit.
In wintertime, nightly frosts are not uncommon in the Sanza Valley, and at the summit, even snow generally lingers until April. The last 700 foot/200 meters of the ascent are pretty exposed, so when going up in the dead of winter, you might want to carry crampons, just in case.
During the heat of summer, the trail is reasonably long (24km/15 miles) so carry enough water, and something to cover your skull. It's relatively easy to get overheated, especially when you're used to a Northern European climate.
Also, you can forget about Mountain rescue here, and reception on your cell phone might be a problem too.


Camping is probably allowed, but i wouldn't recommend it. Besides the fact that the trail can be done easily within a day (YDS 2: 4500 vertical ft, 15 miles RT, or 1350 vertical meters, 24 km RT) there are multiple herds of Buffalo on the mountain (see my post on Bulgheria) and virtually no reasonably flat areas near the trail which are not pastures. (Not that flat grounds matter anyway, i've seen these tasty hamburgers scale 50 degree scree slopes like it was nothing.) Personally i would not want to sleep on that mountain unless i absolutely had to.

Mountain Conditions

The nearest weather station is Potenza, about 20 miles/35 km to the east.
No further services anywhere nearer.
Southern Italy is generally in a high pressure zone from late June until early September.
Pros: Conditions almost guaranteed decent.
Cons: Intense heat.
Winter is not so predictable, though. Cervati gets about the most precipitation of any place in Southern Italy, and 99% of it falls in winter.