ITINERARY OF THE RUPESTRIAN CHURCHES
The Natural Park has a parking area where it is possible to stop. Walking to the welcome centre we are in the lay over an area with several tables and chairs, didactic panels which inform us that we are in a protected area, full of flora and fauna species in an environment characterized by Palagianello’s gravine, where human work in respect of nature has created an unique scenario: Palagianello historical hamlet.
A naturalistic, historical and artistic itinerary leads to the rupestrian church of Saint Lucia with its arched entry door with a semicircular lunette, where inside it is still possible to see traces of an incised cross.
On the left of the entry door there is a tomb, a cistern and a small cave house. Saint Lucia was a sanctuary were the devoted followers, since the IX to the XIV century, made several Greek and Latin inscriptions and graffito as that one about a peacock who pecks at a snake. The trail’s signs leads us to the gravine’s bottom. Along the two trails there are lay over areas to admire the opposite side of the gravine, caractherized by medieval rests of Old Palasciano, as the rupestrian settlement and the rupestrian churches of Saint Gerolamo and Saint Andrea. The trail which goes to the bottom of the gravine, passes across a naturalistic landscape full of brooms, Calicotome Spinosa, Malosma, and big bush of Phlomis fruticosa. Rosemary and cistus characterize the trail which leads to a carsick puddle of sweet water where different species of amphibians live in a scenario of Aleppo pine forest. Here the microclimate and the underbrush is formed by the Mediterranean bush: malosma, rosemary, myrtle and other species and the presence of satureja is characteristically. The fauna is the typical one of the gravine, in particular, among the reptiles besides the lizards, the tarantula (gekkonidae), the Hierophis gyarosensis there is also the rare Kotsky’s gecko.