Walk 1: Polizzi to the Mulino Petrolito and the Cozzo Morto
Apart from one steep 100m section, this is a relatively easy walk on an old, unused road from San Pietro in Polizzi to a pretty and interesting wooded area, above the village of Nociazzi, which has a small park and an old restored water mill, the Mulino Petrolito. The walk offers wide vistas to the west and south, across the hills of Sicily, and during the later sections, upward views of the mountain slopes below Madonna del Alto. At Mulino Petrolito there is a picnic and barbecue area, so you could take a picnic with you – and also explore the Cozzo Morto, a series of hills which feature megalithic graves
Time: 1.5-2.00 hours; Degree of Difficulty: 2
Total ascent/descent: 150 metres (500 feet)
Starting/finishing point: The children's park, on the Via San Pietro, above Polizzi (P on map)
Directions to start/ finish point: At the top of Polizzi, instead of turning left under the 15th century aquaduct, behind the Q8 petrol station, drive (or walk) up the steep Via San Pietro, to the right of the fountain. Half a mile from the fountain, it flattens out and widens by the apartment blocks. If in a car, park opposite the public garden and children's park (Photo 1) and the green refuse bins.
The Walk: walk straight ahead up the main road and just before the road bends, you will see a stand of transplanted Nebrodi Firs (see Walk 4) on your left by a small bridge (Photo 2, A on map). After about 15 minutes of gentle climbing, you pass a row of municipal recycling bins on the left and shortly afterwards, come to a crossroads (B on map). Turn sharp left up a steep, rough track (Photo 3) and then right. Walking through shrubs and grazing land, the road becomes metalled again after 25 minutes and you have a view down to Castellana Sicula on your right.
The road then climbs to its highest point at 35 minutes, easing through a gap between the rounded hill of Cozzo Croce on your right and steeper slopes on the left. It then descends, with widening views of the wooded mountain slopes below Madonna del Alto on your left. On the right you have a fine view of the hamlet of Nociazzi.
At around 45-50 minutes, you arrive in a wooded valley, with a white house on the right. Shortly after, there is a rather sad family shrine for a local young man who died here fairly recently. Next to the shrine is a gate into a barbecue and picnic area – walk through this and down a series of grassed steps to a recently restored water-mill (C on map, Photo 4), the Mulino Petrolito (all information in Italian), which is certainly worth a short detour. Returning to the road, turn right and you shortly come to a second picnic area, a large fountain (Photo 5) and an information board about the hills in front of you, the Cozzo Morto, with its megalithic graves, which you may want to explore.
Return back to Polizzi the same way.
[NB: You will see from a sign at the entrance to the track on your left, in front of the fountain, that the part-time convent of Madonna del Alto (1869m) can be reached from here in 4 hours. However, this is a grindingly steep and dull ascent of about 800m (2700 feet). If you want to climb to Madonna del Alto, I would recommend the much more pleasant route up from Polizzi, which continues on from the high point of Walk 2.]