Excursion on foot round the western part of the Island: from Marciana to Chiessi

Difference of level: 340 m; 680 m;
How long it takes: 6 hours;
Difficulty: medium.

Marciana is a small, hillside town with granite paved roads and narrow houses sitting on a promontory that lokks like the tip of an arrow. You start off near the fortress exactly at the highest point of the town and you follow a wide, paved path that takes you to the Madonna del Monte Sanctuary.

The Stations of the Cross are along the way, and the churchyard is an exedra dating back to the end of the seventeenth century, where a natural spring gives out crystal clear water all year round. A quick stop in this holy place and then on your way again along path num. 3 for Chiessi. From now on the route follows a wide, well signed path, with hardly any difference of level (about 100 m), and takes you to the "Troppolo".

Infinite views of sea and land open up before you as you go along. On a clear day you can see Capraia and Corsica really well. Huge erratic granite boulders keep what looks an impossible balance, like a frame round this rough, varied nature. In some parts ancient chestnut trees alternate with the low bushes of perfumed garrigue.

From the Troppolo, keep going along path num. 3 for about 40-50 minutes, more or less at the same level all the way, until you get to the junction for path num. 4 that leads to Pomonte; the way down to Chiessi starts here. A quick turn off for a visit to the only wall left of the XII century church bearing the same name as the San Bartolomeo Hill.

Even though all that's left are the remains of the outside walls and part of one of the sides, you can't help feeling the essential and primitive religion of the past in the air, or wonder how the people who used the church lived. It takes about an hour to get back on the steep path, and as it takes you through ancient terracings and tiny, make believe gardens, you reach sea level, if possible at sunset, when it is splendid over Corsica.

Heights

  1. Marciana: 355 m;
  2. Madonna del Monte: 630 m;
  3. Troppolo: 692 m;
  4. Chiessi: 13 m

Information from the Tuscan Archipelago Tourism Promotion Offices

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