Cammino degli Aurunci
One of the most popular mountain bike routes in the Aurunci Mountains, a breathtaking panorama of the Gulf of Gaeta and the Pontine Islands. The route leads to Monte Altino, where one of the 20 statues of the Redeemer has been placed on the most beautiful peaks in Italy. The hermitage of San Michele is a little further down. Departing from Maranola, an ancient village on the slopes of the Aurunci Mountains, in the Formia area, the trail follows an uphill mountain road for 6 km to the Pornito Refuge. It continues uphill and shortly afterwards the road becomes a dirt track, passing alongside a beech forest to the hamlet of Valliera. Here, the route continues to the right along the path towards the Redeemer. The technical descent passes the hermitage of San Michele, a rural church set into the rock, and closes a loop with a series of hairpin bends along a fairly demanding single track. Alternatively, you can return by taking the same route in the opposite direction. The route is physically demanding since the elevation gain is covered without respite for the first 11 km to the statue.
In the ‘Enciclica Praeclara’ of 1894, Pope Leo XIII expressed a disappointing judgement on the 19th century that was coming to an end, since it had been full of disasters and wars, while wishing the whole world a prosperous and peaceful 20th century. His advisor Count Acquaderni proposed that he start the century by placing 19 monuments to the Redeemer on the most beautiful and scenic Italian peaks to mark the end of the old century. The monuments later became 20, since a few years later Ludovico Pecci, nephew of Pope XIII, proposed the addition of another monument to the 19 planned, placing one at Monte Capreo di Carpineto Romano where his uncle who had become Pope was born. The Pope accepted the idea of placing twenty monuments of the Redeemer on as many scenic peaks to pay homage to the 20th century. The statue was manufactured by the Rosa Zanazio Company and cast by the Tuse Mense Foundry in Paris in a single block with a total weight of twenty-one quintals. It was transported by rail and arrived in Formia in September 1900. From the city it was transported to Maranola, in a huge cart pulled by four oxen provided by a farmer from the municipality of Elena di Gaeta. It was kept in the Church of the Annunziata in the small village of Formi for the entire winter. In the meantime, work began to create a twelve-kilometre road to connect Maranola to Monte Altino.
On 4 June 1901, the statue began its journey uphill on a specially built sleigh pulled by oxen and hundreds of people who reached the summit after forty days, although only fourteen of these days were devoted to transportation.
On 29 July 1901, a lightning rod was affixed to the cross and 33 shots were fired from a small cannon to announce this felicitous event.
Sources of water along the trail
The hermitage of San Michele Arcangelo is a small sanctuary dating back to 830 A.D. set in the rock of Monte Altino at an altitude of 1158 m, below the summit of the Redentore
FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
VIA VINDICIO 49
04023 FORMIA (LT)