Canale del Ciolo and the trail to the Cipolliane grotto

Canale del Ciolo - view from the path to Gagliano del Capo

Lovely Channel

Ciole means magpie in the local dialect. The name of the canal comes from the magpies who like it and like to fly over it from time to time or just sit on its rocky slopes. Canal del Ciolo it is a small but picturesque channel, sometimes also referred to as a fjord due to the steepness of the rock walls. There is a tiny beach at the bottom of the canyon. A narrow descent leads to it straight from the street.
The main road along the coast is laid over the canal. You will probably get here this way.
Lots of people stop here because… everyone stops. Even if you have no idea that there is something interesting in this place, you will definitely not miss the parking lot. There is always someone standing here, always someone stopping, there are always people. Even in the middle of winter, far out of season, in the middle of the week, driving along an empty road along the coast, I immediately realized that there must be Canal del Ciolo. There were a few cars, people were walking around, taking pictures, leaning over the bridge railing.
Of course, no matter how easy it is to get here, at the bottom of the post I will give you the detailed coordinates of the parking lot at the entrance to the canal.

A short, 1-minute panoramic video that I shot on the beach at the bottom of the Canale del Ciolo shows the beach and the inside of the canyon:

Bridge over Canale del Ciolo

The construction of the concrete bridge over the canal is simple and austere in form. At first glance, it looks nice, contrasts nicely with the fjord, and at the same time blends in with the rocky austerity of the fjord. The minimalist shape emphasizes the huge space opening under it. The first impression is very good, but going down into the canal, I immediately noticed (by the way, it is immediately obvious) that while the footbridge and shape are ok, the foundation of the supporting structure in the rocky walls of the canal does not look good anymore. The lower I descended, the more I saw and the more I disliked the amount of concrete that had to be covered with the canal walls.
Despite my doubts, the channel turned out really nicely in the pictures. After returning to our accommodation base in Lecce, I began to have doubts: maybe that day I was too strict in my opinion of the Magpie Canal?
You have to see it for yourself, the more that it is just next to the road.

Canal del Ciolo

The channel is not everything

There are several caves around the canal. Swimming enthusiasts with the right skills will be able to reach them. But BEWARE when bathing !!! The bottom of the channel goes down very quickly. The first few steps are gentle, but then the ground starts lowering faster and faster until it almost breaks off under your feet.
In summer, the tiny beach fills up quickly and can get crowded.
Seekers of stronger emotions often climb rocks and, walking along the canal, towards the open sea, look for places convenient to jump from the rocks straight into the sea (there is often a cave under such a steep bank). Then they come back to the tiny beach… and so on 🙂
Diving lovers can also enjoy their stay here. The water is clear and the rapidly sloping bottom and caves undoubtedly favor interesting exploration.
There are two walking paths from the canal (perfect for short trekking). In the vicinity of both paths there are other caves (located entirely on land). One path leads towards the village Gagliano del Capoand the other to the grotto Cipollian. I would especially highly recommend the latter, although both are really beautiful.

1. The trail from Canale Ciolo to Gagliano del Capo (Sentiero del Ciolo)

The trail is short. First you have to go down from the bridge to the beach at Canale del Ciolo, then follow the deeply rising path down the canyon. To the town Gagliano del Capo you walk about 1,5 kilometers in wonderful natural circumstances.
Walking the trail at a slow pace in both directions should not take more than 1,5 hours.

Map of the trail to Gagliano del Capo (Sentiero del Ciolo)
The initial fragment of the trail to Gagliano del Capo (Sentiero del Ciolo)

Part of the path to Gagliano del Capo. The photo is panoramic, you can zoom in and out and rotate it around the axis:

2. Trail from Canale Ciolo to Grotte Cipolliane

A path full of amazing views Cipollian (follow the direction indicators: Sentiero Cipollianewhich means exactly "Cipolliane path"), leads along the rocky coast and does not allow you to take a break from the magnificent landscapes.
The most convenient way is to start directly from the parking lot located at the beginning of the path, the coordinates of which are provided at the bottom of the entry.
The trail is less than 2 km long and walking it both ways at a walking pace should not take more than 2 hours.

Map of the trail to the Cipolliane grotto (Sentiero Cipolliane)

The interior of the Cipolliane Grotto. The photo is panoramic, you can zoom in and out and rotate it around the axis:

A short movie presenting the nature of the trail to the Cipolliane Grotto:

Useful GPS coordinates

Parking at the entrance to the path to Grotte Cipolliane, GPS coordinates:
39°50’40.9″N 18°23’10.7″E
39.844704, 18.386314 - click and route

Second parking at the descent to Canale Ciolo, located on the other side of the bridge, GPS coordinates:
39°50’36.4″N 18°23’09.8″E
39.843445, 18.386045 - click and route

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