Having managed to escape the UK for only a week this year and finding ourselves in Sicily for sport climbing and sunshine, I was surprised that there wasn’t more information on hiking in the mountains given that Sicily is quite mountainous. In fact the only map I could find was of the Etna region.
Spending a few days in Castellamare del Golfo we were making the most of the beaches and the sport climbing in nearby San Vito. Castellamare del Golfo is busy little fishing town which has a typical touristy beach and restaurants. Its is also overshadowed by Mont Inici.
Despite the dominance of the mountain on the town it seemed few people walked up there, with no maps available and very unloved footpaths and trails. There were however intermittent signposts at junctions making it possible to see that once it had been a popular area to hike.
So, armed with digital mapping (which turned out to be pretty accurate on all our walks in Sicily) we set off on the tracks from the view point above the town.
While Monte Inici stands at 1060m and looks like an imposing mountain, its actually covered in wide tracks which are suitable for mountain biking as well as hiking. This does mean that Sicilians also drive off-road vehicles to the summit to forage for fungi and other delights.
From Castellamare the track zigzags endlessly up the steep hillside and heads into the pine woodland.
From here the path splits and we headed East towards Pizzo Stagnone and round to the East side of the hill before more zig zags upwards. The view across the other side of the mountain was fantastic.
As we reached the col between Monte Inici and Pizzo Delle Niviere we entered dense deciduous woodland and we met a German hiker who warned us about large pigs.
Wondering about if he meant wild boar and how dangerous they might be, we continued on to the rather disappointing summit of Monte Inici – and its radio masts. Ok not the summit trig point we were hoping for but worth it for the view.
Since we were here we walked across to the slightly more impressive (definitely only slightly) of Pizzo Delle Niviere. At least this had a trig point of sorts.
After a bit of debate we decided to make the walk a circuit and descended westwards before contouring round to reach the path across Pizzo Crastone and then northwards to Pizzo del Dottore.
On the descent from the summit we met 2 vehicles of Sicilians collecting mushrooms who also warned us of wild pigs.
At this point the endless switchbacks became a bit tedious in the scorching sunshine and we were pleased to finally reach the descent path on the Northside down to the road.
This section was the only bit that was on narrow paths, and these were a bit overgrown and like wading through the undergrowth and fallen trees, but even then relatively easy to navigate.
We never did see the wild boars/pigs, but I did find porcupine spines and this praying mantis.
The whole circuit turned out to be 26km so a good hikes albeit on relatively easy tracks. A mountain bike would definitely have been the best way to descend!