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Hiking on Elba » path Pomonte - Chiessi

Via San Bartolomeo leads off the main square of Pomonte. The street leads through the village, with a series of flights of steps, to the by-pass that runs around it. Path n. 4, signed for Colle Bartolomeo, starts from this road.

The path soon leaves the outskirts of the village and climbs into an area with a very long farming tradition. The southern slopes of Monte San Bartolomeo, which looms massively above the path, have been terraced since time out of mind to force the granite mountainside to yield some land for cultivation. There used to be vegetables plots and orchards closer to the village, and wine-covered terraces higher up.

The mule track climbs steeply, giving a view of the whole Pomonte valley stretched out below like a great sea-facing amphitheatre, a large proportion of it still occupied by vegetable gardens and vineyards. In the upper part of the valley most of the fields and plots have been abandoned, and the maquis is regaining what was once taken from it.

Around the path, the flora conists mainly of shrubs - cistus, heather and broom. Close to some rare spings and small watercourses, almost dry in summer, there are reeds, bracken and calamint, plants that like cooler, wetter ground. South-facing drystone walls are the favourite haunts of lizards, which love to sun themselves, but may also be home to long grass snakes and, especially around the dampest places, vipers too.

The krestel and buzzard fly above, scanning the ground in search of reptiles and rodents, ready to plunge down onto their prey.

The path continues to climb to 475 metres above sea level, where it joins path n. 3 for Chiessi: here the view over the Pomonte valley well repays the climb.

The walk now goes on towards Chiessi. After a short descent and a view of the charming little village on the mountain's western slopes, with its white houses overlooking the sea, there is a turn off for the plateau beneath Monte San Bartolomeo with the ruins of the Romanesque church of the same name: the view from up here over the two valleys below is magnificent.

Now retrace your steps to start the descent to Chiessi. Here again, the landscape shows the signs of old abandoned fileds and the drystone walls are covered with flourishing maquis.

These slopes are western-facing and on a clear afternoon the sun will provide warmth.

Near the square at Chiessi, head for the top of the village to the Cotoni stream and the start of the mule-track that leads back to Pomonte.

Hiking excursions: Colle San Bartolomeo


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