Excursion to Mount Specialize

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Climbing

Itinerary of great charm that allows you to reach the highest peak of the Zingaro Nature Reserve. The route winds through the two Gulfs, Cofano and Castellammare, offering magnificent panoramic views now on one, now on the other. From the top, the view dominates the entire Dorsale dei Monti of the Capo San Vito peninsula which, like the back of a huge reptile, flows into the Mediterranean. The naturalistic aspect of the walk is also very interesting due to the presence of patches of spontaneous vegetation, especially on the western side of Mount Passo del Lupo, and the possibility of spotting the numerous species of birds of prey that nest in the most inaccessible areas of the Reserve, including the now rare Aquila del Bonelli.

How to get

From Trapani, follow the coastal Provincial Road towards San Vito Lo Capo. After Castelluzzo, after about 3 kilometers turn right onto Via Rocca Perciata, which slightly uphill leads to the town of Macari. When you reach the intersection with Via dell’Acqua, turn right and continue climbing until the asphalt road gives way to a narrow cemented road that climbs steeply up the slopes of the mountain above the village. After about 750 meters the road turns decisively to the right. Here, in a small grassy space on the left, you can leave the car.

Description of the route

From the starting point at an altitude of 296 m, take the narrow path that goes up the Marcato Grande valley, leaving the village of Macari behind. After about a quarter of an hour we arrive at the metal fence that borders the boundaries of the Zingaro Reserve. After the access gate, the path starts again slightly to the left, in correspondence of a small pile of stones that indicates the point of attack.

Among magnificent panoramic views of the Gulf of Cofano and the typical vegetation of the garigue, dotted with bushes of thorny broom (Calicotome infesta) and arboreal euphorbia (Euphorbia dendroides, in Sicilian Camarruni), isolated holm oaks and palms, it continues to rise for about 45 minutes until you reach Marcato Puntino. This is the port, called San Giovanni (m 655), which separates the dolomitic crest of Monte Acci, on the left, from Monte Passo del Lupo, on the right. Of great landscape impact is the splendid view that suddenly opens onto the Gulf of Castellammare.

The Gulf of Cofano and Bonagia

For Monte Speziale continue by taking the path on the right, as indicated by the Reserve signs. Keeping always at high altitude you now cross the eastern side of the Zingaro Mountains in the North-South direction. The path winds along the sides of the mountain following the orography, in an open and barren landscape, dominated at the bottom by the blue of the sea and at the top by the slow flight of birds of prey. When you reach Portella Mandra Nova (732 m), continue straight until Pizzo Aquila (m 759), a dolomitic limestone spike emerging from the side of Monte Speziale. Here it is necessary to leave the path and climb up towards the summit. As a reference point for the climb you can take a beautiful example of holm oak that rises up isolated in the summit of the mountain. In about 20 minutes, after passing a small antic, you reach the summit at an altitude of 913 m. The view is magnificent. At the same time, three gulfs embrace: to the east, Castellammare, set in an uninterrupted crown of mountains that go from Monte Gallo to the tops of the Conca d’Oro and the Valle dello Jato, up to Monte Bonifato and Monte Inici; to the west, in succession, the Gulf of Cofano and that of Bonagia, dominated one by the Cofano and Palatimone Mountains and the other by Monte San Giuliano (Erice), with the Egadi islands in the background. To the north, the mountain ridge of the Cape San Vito Peninsula culminates in Monte Monaco. To the south, finally, the massive mass of Monte Sp├áragio that almost closes the horizon.

On the way back, follow the road to the Portella Mandra Nova. Here you turn left following the sign for Monte Passo del Lupo, and then immediately right, when, after about 80 meters, the path forks. We are now again facing the Gulf of Cofano. The itinerary continues along the western side of Monte Passo del Lupo, in an evocative scenery characterized by the presence of holm-oaks perched on the rocky ridges of the mountain, a residual testimony of the dense woods that once covered the entire area. After about 250 meters, the trail turns sharply to the left, descending in altitude until you reach the Wells Acci (m 619), a spring outcropping in a clayey pocket of the ground. From here we continue in a straight line along the demarcation network of the Reserve, and then turn back to the interior secondhand.

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