The Pianetto woods: the fence of the small dolmen (burial chambers)
A journey to discover the many small Sicilian “dolmen”, an opportunity to explore this land inventing fables and legends.
The trail features, along the way, many stone slabs almost entirely buried into the ground, and which take on very particular shapes. The most charming of them, atop the trail, were used by shepherds to make enclosures for their herds, and today, abandoned, seem small dolmen that lend themselves to inventing evocative fairy tales for children and adults alike.
To get as close as possible to the trail, we drive all the way to the entrance gate, but careful: parking can only accommodates not more than two or three cars.
This is a fairly comfortable trail even if, on your way back, the downhill slope may be steep in one section and quite bumpy in another.
It takes its name from the nearby hamlet of Santa Cristina Gela. The town, along with Contessa Entellina and Piana degli Albanesi, is part of Sicily’s three Albanian communities, where the old Albanian language (arbërishtja) is still spoken.
Although the result of recent large-scale reforestation efforts, the trail features a great variety of trees, including eucalyptus, cypress and different species of pines. The landscapes on the forest edge are seemingly lunar and it’s not uncommon to spot some hawks circling above.
Half-way to your destination, you come across the very evocative ruins of a fence we call “the small dolmen fence”, since the atmosphere seems to belong to an ancient and magical place. Not far away, at the end of a pleasant line of cypress trees, a trail leads to an impressive lookout as if by magic.
If you’re lucky, you can also spot a small herd of spotted horses that occasionally is brought here to graze: what else can you wish for?
Difficulty level: moderate
Average time: 2 hours
Length: 4,5 km
Elevation gain: 100 m
Trek stroller: yes, or pouch (provided that you are trained to carry your child in a pouch)
Departure point on foot: Agriturismo Al Poggetto, Santa Cristina Gela
All the details and curiosities about this itinerary can be found in single waypoints through a dedicated APP.