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Stage 9 : Sanza / Cervati Mountain / Sanza.

When you reach the ninth stage you are faced with an important choice: either to set off again at a leisurely pace to reach Casaletto Spartano or to climb the 1898 meters of Mount Cervati, the highest mountain in Campania. If you choose this second option, it will be necessary for you to prepare yourself adequately: the Cervati is spectacular, but you will have to face 24 km uphill, 7 of which are on asphalt and 17 on dirt road, with the last stretch to be done on foot by dragging your bike. Therefore, we recommend that you leave your bags at the facility that will have hosted you overnight and bring only a backpack for a sack lunch. At 1100 meters above sea level, at Colle del Pero, you will encounter a sign pointing to the Vallivona Sinker; following the sign will take you momentarily off the trail, but in 10 minutes you will reach the mouth of a tunnel about 400 meters long. To walk through it on foot, the use of a flashlight will be essential due to the total lack of light inside and the use of shoes with non-slip soles. At the end of the tunnel you will come out into the swallowhole: the feeling will be that of having gone through the time tunnel. The walls of the 100-meter-high crater are carpeted with hygrophilous species that have developed due to the special microclimate here. The huge leaves of Greater Farfaracchio (locally called pàmpani) look like those of a prehistoric undergrowth. Re-cross the tunnel in reverse, pick up your vehicle (which you had better have secured with a chain to some trees) and return to the main road that will take you to the top of Mount Cervati and the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snow. Here the spectacle of nature is unparalleled. We are above the forested elevation line where only prostrate junipers still manage to vegetate. All around, outcropping limestone rock and silence. There is no better place than this to thank those who one day will have told you about that Silent Way, so far from the world and so close to God.