After leaving the town, you won’t encounter a single dwelling. In fact, the island appears completely deserted. To get to the Stagnone, the first step after leaving the Plain is to take the junction for Monte Arpagna which takes you inside the Arcipelago Toscano National Park. After a while, the dirt track becomes strewn with stones and a sort of mule track starts, which is known as the Strada del Semaforo, and was originally built for carrying reinforcements to the Navy base.
The journey is uphill, but the vegetation forms a shadowy tunnel, which offers a welcome respite in summer. To your back as you walk along this stretch of path, in a north easterly direction, you can see the town dominated from above by the Forte San Giorgio with the sea on the horizon. In the middle of the island there are no natural water sources so it’s a good idea to bring a sufficient water supply with you, especially in summer.
The turning for the Stagnone appears 336 metres to the right of the Sella del Monte Cancelle. From here you can leave the Strada del Semaforo and venture onto a path through Mediterranean scrub, which is mainly made up of erica arborea, cistus and rosemary. The panorama opens up and after a while you can glimpse the sea with Corsica on the horizon. After the descent you’ll come across the Sella dell’Acciattore, which is worth the slight deviation and ends with a view of the sea. The west coast is steep and only accessible by boat; Corsica is a mere 30 kilometres away and on tranquil days you can also clearly see the town of Macinaggio with the wind turbines on the peak of the mountain.
Here, there are lowland grass meadows punctuated with stones arranged in mysterious circles. Nothing magical though: they were arranged there years ago by a group of scouts.