The completed painting of Monte Corona initially looks like a large green hill but as with the real thing, with careful examination, you can see how it is made up of lots of little bumps and lumps, each decorated with different arrangements of trees, crops and bushes.
Buildings on the hill
The main points of focus are from (left to right), the Abbey of Monte Corona, with a closed order in residence in the monastery on the hill behind. The are also many brightly, ochre coloured warehouses that can be found throughout the area. Each with beautifully made name-plates indicating their original purpose. Podesta di Miele, pesce and tori (honey, peaches and bulls) can be found here, on the fringes of the tobacco fields.
Sanctuary on top
Sitting on the peak of Monte Corona, at 503 metres is the hermitage of San Salvatore. This is a closed order and you can only get as far as the main gate. Although glimpses of life inside can be gained through a hole in the woodwork.
A little further along and down the hill are the villas of Prato di Sopre and Sotto. These stand above the enigmatic, medieval walled village of San Giuliana, from where you can follow the road down to the Torre San Giuliana, which once acted as a watch tower for the valley and is now a luxury B&B.
The winding path
Weaving its way through this landscape of olive groves, oak trees and pines, is the white road that leads up to the sanctuary and on, over the hill, to Pierantonio. While the tarmac road from the abbey eventually brings you out at Pantana, passing the quarry on the way.
The mountain presents a beautiful place to explore and it is no wonder that three places of religious sanctuary have established themselves on its wooded slopes. The tracks, glades and white roads that criss-cross Monte Corona are well worth the hike.