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Michele Angileri

Torrente Sciarapottolo - ramo sinistro

From the little plains at the foot of the sanctuary of S. Maria delle Armi originate two small streams, usually dry, which cut through the steep and rocky southern slope of Monte Sellaro and then join together to form Sciarapottolo creek. For both, the descent features an almost continuous sequence of waterfalls, at the end of which the stream continues steeply through absolutely harsh and wild environments, at the foot of the spectacular walls of Serra del Gufo.

Name Torrente Sciarapottolo - ramo sinistro
Area Calabria
Nearest village Francavilla Marittima
Elevation loss 390 m
Length 1200 m
Highest cascade 27 m
Rock Limestone
Shuttle Needed
Explored by Michele Angileri; January 3rd 2024


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I remember ...

Until a few decades ago these places were inhabited. The people lived on the farms on the hills at the foot of Serra del Gufo, cultivated the land, led the animals to graze. A mule track connected the Damale area to S. Andrea plain and the sanctuary of Madonna delle Armi, a daring mule track with ramps made of dry stone walls, which initially ran through a ledge at the foot of the walls of Serra del Gufo, then went up in hairpin bends through the Mediterranean scrub between the two steepest branches of Sciarapottolo creek.
In the first nineties the mule-track had become a path, abandoned and in ruins but still passable. I walked that path, to go and see the Sciarapottolo, to understand if it it could be interesting in a canyoning sense. That time I judged it to be uninteresting as it was dry and decidedly open. Then, for years, I no longer thought about it, until, driven by a latent doubt, my eye began to rest on those two "scratches" in the Mediterranean scrub on the side of Serra del Gufo, which joined together to form Sciarapottolo stream. Those really looked like gorges, probably not very interesting in a canyoning sense but nevertheless gorges developing through a splendid and particular environment...

So one day I went to take another look. Everything had changed: in Damale some houses had been renovated and were now inhabited, some land had been fenced off, while other abandoned areas had become even more wild. And the path to the Madonna delle Armi had practically disappeared: I barely managed to find short segments of it that were still passable, the rest was closed by thick Mediterranean scrub. Getting to Sciarapottolo was a thorny matter, in every sense, but once I reached the stream I finally convinced myself to plan the descent canyoning style.

I did a few days later.

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