Trekking in Vallo di Diano, in Cilento. The Valley of the Orchids of Sassano
- National Park of Cilento and Vallo di Diano -The Valley of the Orchids of Sassano in the National Park of Cilento and Vallo di Diano is a popular destination for lovers of botany, as well as a source of great pride for the residents of the Vallo di Diano area. It's a real natural open-air museum of 47 sq km, and over a distance of approx. 13 km you can see many different species of wild orchids: about 180 (to be precise: 68 species, 57 subspecies, 35 varieties, 24 hybrids). A real concentration of orchids, if we consider that in the National Park of Cilento and Vallo di Diano there are in total 254 species of wild orchids, and throughout Europe and the Mediterranean Basin 319! The town of Sassano therefore retains a huge natural heritage, to be protected and defended.
The orchids of Sassano bloom from April to June, and even some varieties keep flowering until July. In the month of May, it takes places the traditional Festival of the Orchids with free guided tours, tastings of local products, and folk music shows organized by town of Sassano and open to everybody.
The trekking route that leads to this beautiful valley starts from the fountain with three stone masks in the center of Sassano: it begins from an altitude of 501 meters and ends at an altitude of 1175 m after going through five stations of observations of orchids. From the fountain, take the road uphill towards the church of S. Michael and past the medieval bridge of Peglio at the village of the same name, continue up to 'Campo di Gravola' and continue through the various stations (Affunnaturo, Coddate di Filano, Valtasso and Pietralieddo) in the area 'Campi di Filano', in order to reach the last stop 'Piscina del Brigante'.
This walking tour takes place in an extraordinary natural landscape, among flora and fauna, namely orchids, flowers, shrubs and trees, in particular beeches and white birch trees of the Southern Apennines, the latter survived the last glaciation, and among animals in the wild state.
We recommend you to not collect orchids in the Cilento National Park: it is strictly prohibited, and be careful to not step on them during the trekking tour. Take a camera with you to capture the best moments spent in the Valley of the Orchids of Sassano, and also to allow yourself to bring home at least a 'virtual' orchid...