Monte Etna hovering above Monte Sambughetti
Monte Sambughetti is a typical mountain for the green Monti Nebrodi mountain range in northern Sicily. Densely covered with trees it posesses a flat top on which you can find a beautiful flowery summit meadow. There are actually two summits, one slightly lower one to the east and the highpoint about 300m to the west. Hidden beneath the forest canopy are the granite rocks which make up the base of the mountain, a rock peculiar to the western part of the Nebrodi range while very scarce on the rest of the island.
Monte Sambughetti is located to the west of the Nebrodi range, separated by the wide Tusa and Calogino Valleys from the higher Madonie Range to the west. Though certainly not one of the highest mountains of Sicily, it is nevertheless an excellent lookout peak. The eastern summit looks across the bulk of the Nebrodi Range towards Monte Etna while the western peak offers deep glimpses towards the Madonie Range and the northern coast of the island.
The summits of Monte Sambughetti can be easily reached by regular hiking trails which sometimes widen into an access road. Since much of the area, especially on the lower northern slopes, is used for cattle grazing the mountain is kind of "developped". Numerous cattle fences divide the area into parts and several of them have to be surmounted to reach the top. On Monte Sambughetti's eastern slopes you kan fins the rocky summits of Monte and Rocca Campanito
together with the picnic area near the likewise named lakes. All three mountains can be climbed in one go and you will find three mountains of completely different character.
Le Madonie, Sicily's second highest mountain range. Hide / Show annotations
As said in the overview section, Monte Sambughetti is a good lookout peak. Sicily's first, second and third highest mountains are visible either from the western or the eastern summit (and probably the next three highest as well - but my statistics leave me alone at this point). Pizzo Carbonara and Monte San Salvatore (No's 2 and 3) are on display among the remainder of the Madonie range to the west, while mighty Monte Etna hovers above everything else to the far east. This latter giant is almost twice as high as any of the other mountains on the island...
Monte Malaspina (1328m)
Sicily can be reached from all Italian and the major European airports by plane. There are two large international airports, one at Catania in the east and one at Palermo. Since Palermo is much closer to the mountain than Catania my itinerary starts here. Also, Palermo is the main ferry port in the area.
From Palermo airport
- Take motorway A29 direction Palermo
- In Palermo the motorway turns into a four laned city highway which circles the city to its south
- The city highway turns into motorway A20 direction Messina
- Turn off at the exit Santo Stefano di Camastra. Here a complicated and quite unneccesary detour leads you to a roundabout on the valley floor only to head back up to the motorway exit and to follow SS 117 south in direction Mistretta and Colle Contrasto.
- Shortly behind the pass on the right hand side of the road there is a sign and a small parking space for the recreation area at the Laghi Campanito.
The whole of the large Nebrodi Range belongs to the Parco delle Monti Nebrodi, a natural park in which the obvious restrictions apply. You can climb and hike almost everywhere and there are quite a number of picnic and recreational areas. The range is popular among locals as the dense forest canopy offers a welcome protection against the intense Sicilian heat. Obstacles are the many barbed wire fences, which however can be crossed. They serve only for the pastures and to keep cattle, sheep and horses from getting lost in the vast terrain.
You can quite easily find hotel rooms and apartments everywhere on the coasts. All European travel companies offer accommodation so a visit to your nearest travel office will find you some (Cefalu or Santo Stefano would be the nearest seaside towns). In the mountains themselves accommodation is much harder to come by. Since camping is not allowed (see red tape) you have to ask at the local inns. Moreover there are some farms which offer “agriturismo” though on Sicily this often means only food and no rooms.
Sicily is located very close to northern Africa (Marsala on the west coast is closer to Tunis than to any place on the Italian mainland), thus temperatures can get very high. March, April and early May are the best months if you plan to hike the mountains, the winter can be wet, the summer scorchingly hot. Here the nearest weatherunderground link for Palermo:
Maps & Books
Unfortunately there are no current topographic maps of Sicily. The best are reported to be more than 50 years old and probably are the same as the basis for the digital maps of atlanteitaliano.it
As a workaround you can use street maps for general orientation together with a good guidebook (see below). The most accurate maps are scaled 1:200000, sometimes detailing everything down to forest and dirt roads through the mountains. I settled for
Mairs Geographischer Verlag
Since there are no good topographical maps of Sicily you should take care to get a good guidebook. The one I used is in general excellent and very accurate with respect to the hike up Monte Sambughetti. The book is available in German and English.
- Sizilien / Sicily