The mountain with the shells and the Error of God

The mountain with the shells and the Error of God

Monte Bulgheria
Suitable for:
Trekkers - Difficoltà E

It is one of the most beautiful mountains in Cilento, and is located a few kilometres … from the beaches of Palinuro!

In fact, Mount Bulgheria is an offshoot of the Lucanian Apennines towards the sea, a “wall” of rock that closes the coast between Camerota and Scario, between the valleys of rivers Mingardo and  Bussento. This peculiar shape, a barrier to protect the coast, has created a mild microclimate that allows tropical plants to thrive alongside the typical mountain vegetation.

Finds in its numerous caves testify it has been inhabited since the Palaeolithic. In ancient times, however, it was not called that way.

In fact, it owes its name to the Bulgarian soldiers, mercenaries in the pay of the Lombards allied to the Byzantines during the Greek — Gothic War: all the municipalities and villages that rise at its feet tell this story — Camerota, Celle di Bulgheria, Poderia, San Giovanni a Piro.

The Basilian monks who arrived in this same historical period left their eternal trace on Mount Bulgheria: they planted a very precious plant, licorice, which still grows today, 1500 years later, now spontaneously.

Geologically, Bulgheria is the result of movements of millions of years. Its carbonate rock, formed in the Jurassic, Triassic and Cretaceous, has marine origin. The marine fossils found on its summit testify to this: Mount Bulgheria is the mountain with shells.

This type of rock has another beautiful peculiarity: when the sun sets, it turns pink.

When you get to the top, you’re out of breath, not because of the effort, but because of the view: the gaze can embrace, at 360°, the peaks of the Cilento Mountains Gelbison and Cervati, the Lucan Apennines, the Orsomarso, towards the Pollino, the whole valley of the Mingardo river, the sea of ​​Palinuro, the Gulf of Policastro, the coast of Maratea, Calabria and the island of Dino and, on days with clear skies, Stromboli and the Aeolian Islands. A unique show,  dressed in every season in different colours and beauty.

The biodiversity observable along its slopes is worth a visit at least as much as the views just described.

In a tiny space, majestic secular olive trees can be observed alongside secular chestnut trees, ferns and again ash trees, Holm oaks, hornbeams, strawberry trees, maples, hawthorns, and Mediterranean scrub, with holly, sarsaparille, Italian buckthorn, tree heather, asparagus, mastic, helichrysum, Ampelodesmos mauritanicus, habitat of Galatea Italica (Italian Marbled White), endemic lepidopteran of Southern Italy included in the IUCN red list because it is at risk of extinction.

And if it were not enough, a high number of plants that grow spontaneously such as orchids, origanum, the aforementioned licorice, dog rose, and lavender, whose flowering on the rugged rock gives a magical spectacle.

Linked to lavender the legend of “God's error”: they say that when the Creator was giving shape to the world, he lost lavender seeds from his hands, which fell only on one side of Mount Bulgheria, the driest one.

However, not wanting to waste that good, the Creator decided to give it sprout anyway, despite that hard earth. Each flowering on the bare stone is therefore the repeat of the “miraculous error”.

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