A walk to Monte Gelbison is a natural choice if you are in the Cilento Nature Reserve. Even before Christ was born, pilgrims from all over the area walked the holy mountain paths up to the Greek temple perched on the mountaintop. The temple’s thick walls can still be admired from the current church’s crypt.
The mountain is called Monte Sacro or Monte Gelbison, but the meaning is the same. Gelbison is an Italianised version of the Arabic for ’the holy mountain’. Throughout the ages the area has been under the rule of umpteen civilizations, but the mountain has always remained a symbol of supernatural powers, and generation after generation of local people have walked all the way from the coast to the summit.
You can choose to drive to the foot of the mountain and walk all the way up on a sturdy path that runs through forest and open fields. The walk takes about ½ day and can be done, at a moderate pace with breaks, by anyone in reasonable shape. If you don’t feel like walking all the way, you can actually drive right up to the top and just admire the beautiful scenery from the summit. There is a small restaurant and bar at the top run by nuns where you can buy a light meal and a drink. The opening hours can vary, so it’s a good idea to bring supplies with you just in case it’s closed. We have been up to the summit several times and were lucky enough, on a clear evening at the end of October, to glimpse Sardinia on the horizon at sunset.