Stage: 35% asphalt – 65% gravel/dirt track
The very heart of the Magna Via Francigena is found right between the fortress Rocca di San Vitale with its Norman ruins and churches and the plateau of the Kassar from where the road leads down to Castronovo. A visit to the center of the Sicanian town allows you to better understand the genuine hospitality of the locals. The trail continues on a 19th century drover’s road that cuts across the modern-day serpentine road past the sports ground, the heliport and the cemetery, and joins the road junction with indications for the highway. 400m after the junction turn on the path that leads to the farmstead Colle San Vitale which hosts a valuable archaeological site on its grounds, the Necropolis of Capelvenere with tombs carved out from a big rock which were converted for use as housing over the centuries. Once you pass this site, you will have to cross the Platani river. During the winter, when the water level is high, you should use the river crossing to your left, while in the summer you can wade through the shallow waters and enjoy a welcome cool bath for your feet. On the other side of the river, the trail reaches the most impressive ancient checkpoint of the Magna Via, the Casale di San Pietro, probably built on the grounds of an ancient Muslim settlement mentioned in Norman records. The excavations led by the Archaeological Supervisory Authority of Palermo together with the Universities of Rome Tor Vergata and York unveiled new elements that will allow a better understanding of the history behind this place, which has always been an important stopover for people traveling from north to south. Once you leave the Casale, you reach a fountain and follow the drover’s road alongside the Torrente Saracena, a tributary of the Platani river and after quite a climb you approach Cammarata with its Castle. Pilgrims are welcomed to the town of Cammarata by beautiful graffiti-colored walls. Cammarata is seamlessly attached to San Giovanni Gemini. Thanks to the willingness to cooperate on both sides, the neighboring towns have partnered up to join the project and jointly offer hospitality to the pilgrims.