E1 North Appennines

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Walking the E1 in Italy

Part 3 Northern Appennines

WALKING THE E1 IN ITALY

PART 3 – NORTHERN APPENNINES

In September 2016, we started a multi-stage journey (to be completed over several years) to walk the E1 long distance footpath from one end of Italy to the other.  

In researching this route, we found that there are lots of resources available to support people walking the E1 in other countries that it passes through (especially Germany and Switzerland), but only limited resources covering the E1 in Italy.

These notes are a record of the practical details of our journey, and are aimed to help others planning to walk this route.

In this part, we cover the third stage of our journey – completing our journey east along the Ligurian Alps from Passo del Bocco (16 km north of Sestri Levante), and then turning south east along the Appennines as far as Pracchia (12 km north of Pistoia). We completed this journey in May 2017 over 12 walking days.  This stage covered c. 220 km of the E1 route (plus some minor extensions to reach nearest available accommodation).

GENERAL ROUTE DESCRIPTION

The first two days of the E1 route head east, continuing along the Alta Via dei Monti Liguri (AVML) long distance path, along the border between Liguria and Emilia Romagna), to reach Passo dei Due Santi (30 km NNW of La Spezia). 

Here the AVML meets up with the northern end of the Grande Escursione Appenninica (GEA) long distance path, which broadly follows the main ridge of the Appenines for the next 400 km, along the border between Tuscany and Emilia Romagna.  The E1 turns onto the GEA, and follows it to its southern end. The remaining 10 days of this stage covers the first 10 days and 180km of that route.

As this stage of the walk follows two long distance footpaths, it is mostly well marked with red and white markers, but some care is necessary.

This stage of the walk mostly follows the broad mountain ridges of the Ligurian Alps and the Appennines, mostly at heights of 1300 – 1800m, through woodland and grassland, and dropping down to cross passes at around 900m. The path is generally easy walking, with some steeper stretches. However, there is quite a lot of altitude gain and loss in most days of this part of the walk, which should be taken into account when planning distances covered per day. 

The walk is mainly through woodland and grassland, with good views of the Mediterranean in the first few days if it is clear. 

GENERAL ROUTE PLANNING

The E1 long distance footpath in Italy is administered by the Federazione Italiana Escursionismo (www.fie.com). There is a general description of the route of the E1, listing the towns and villages that it passes through, available on their site at:

http://www.fieitalia.com/fie/2012/04/10/conosciamo-meglio-il-sentiero-europeo-e1

Waymarked Trails website (http://hiking.waymarkedtrails.org) has a useful expandable online map, available here: 

 http://hiking.waymarkedtrails.org/#route?id=1947310&type=relation&map=7!43.9904!11.047

You can also download from this page a GPX file, which covers most of the route, including all of this part of the route. We found it pretty reliable.

For this stage of the route, the Sentiero Italia long distance footpath follows the same route as the E1. 

For general route planning, we used Michelin map 352 “Liguria” 1:200,000, which covers the first 5 walking days of this part of the route, and then the Michelin map 359 “Toscana” 1:200,000, which covers the rest.

The GEA is covered by a useful guidebook “Trekking in the Apennines” by Gillian Price (published by Cicerone, 2015), which has day by day guides, and accommodation on or close to the route. Unfortunately, it is written for people walking the GEA in the opposite direction, which means following the route descriptions backwards!

There is no national series of walking scale maps for Italy. For detailed planning and walking maps, this stage of the route is covered by a variety of walking maps from different publishers – we used six main maps (see details in specific sections below).  Some of these are available from leading mapshops internationally, but some only seem to be sold in Italy. The Italian bookshop chain Feltrinelli has a good selection of walking maps in their main bookshops in the cities, covering the local region (however, we found their website hard to navigate to find or buy maps!). 

The route is generally well marked on the maps, and by red/white/red markers on the ground. Note that there are some places where there is more than one variant of the route, and some places where the route on the maps takes you on a different variant of the route from the signposting on the ground - once we were aware of this, we did not find it a major problem – you just have to select a route! Also, be aware that the red/white/red markers on the ground are used for all designated footpaths, so some of them mark paths that diverge from the E1. The long distance footpaths are sometimes confirmed on these markers (eg AVML, GEA).

We complemented our maps using the Viewranger app on our smartphone, with the GPX file outlined above downloaded onto it. Viewranger has openstreetmaps covering Italy available on it free. We found this mapping pretty reliable for roads and tracks, but it does not include contours and only a few footpaths. We used this to confirm our location and routes when needed, and to track our journey. 

We have uploaded GPX files of our own day by day route onto Viewranger (see links on day pages below), which includes some minor variants, mainly to reach accommodation nearby.

There is simple accommodation on or close to the path for most of the GEA, mainly at passes and by lakes, but options are limited, so it is desirable to book ahead.  Note that not all accommodation hosts will accept credit cards, so it is wise to check in advance.

DAY BY DAY DESCRIPTIONS

Below are day by day descriptions of the various sections of this stage of the E1, which we completed over 12 walking days (walking 15-30 km per day). The times given are for average stamina experienced walkers, and include short stops, but not long stops of over 15 minutes.

Day 1: Passo del Bocco to Passo di Cento Croce

Passo del Bocco: Altitude: 950m. There is a hotel at Passo del Bocco (Rifugio del Bocco) with restaurant and bar.  There is a bus service 2-3 times a day to Passo del Bocco from the coast.

Distance: 26 km         Total Ascent: 1100m              Hours: 8.5 hours                

Map: ‘Alta Via di Vara’ (SP-4), part of the series ‘Alta Via dei Monti Liguri’, published by Edizioni del Magistero, Genova (www.edizionidelmagistero.it). 1:25,000. E1/AVML is marked on the map. Covers all of this day. 

Routemarking: The route follows the Alta Via dei Monti Liguri (AVML) long distance path all the way, and is generally well marked on the ground, but some care is needed. 

Viewranger GPX File Link: https://my.viewranger.com/track/details/NzczMjUxOA==

Route Description

  • * From Passo del Bocco (950m), the route heads south, climbing up the hill through woodland to Monte Zatta (1405m), where there can be great views to the coast (5 km, 2 hours, 500m ascent)
  • * From Monte Zatta, the route turns ENE, following the ridge and then dropping down through woodland to Poggio della Marchesina at 900m (5 km, 1.5 hours, 50m ascent)
  • * From Poggio della Marchesina, the route follows a shady track ENE, fairly flat, to Passo Chiapparino (950m) (9 km, 2.5 hours, 50m ascent)
  • * From Passo Chiapparino, the route continues east, climbing up through alpine grassland to Monte Ventarola (1477m),  and then drops down through woods to Passo di  Cento Croce at 1000m (7 km, 2.5 hours, 550m ascent)


Note: The Alta Via di Cinque Terre long distance path starts from this part of the E1 route, 0.5 km east of the top of Monte Zatta, making the 85 km journey down to the Cinque Terre towns - see separate route description (Part 2A).

Stay: There was no accommodation at Passo di Cento Croce.  We stayed in Varese Liguri, (18 km south along Route 523) at Albergo Amici (through Booking.com), who were kind enough to arrange a pick up from the pass, and a drop off again at the pass the following morning.

Day 2: Passo di Cento Croce to Passo dei Due Santi

Distance: 23 km                Total Ascent: 900m                 Hours: 8.5 hours                

Maps:

  • * ‘Alta Via di Vara’ (SP-4) – see Day 1 for details – covers the first 14 km of the route for this day
  • * ‘Monte Gottero’ (SP-5), also published by Edizioni del Magistero, Genova (www.edizionidelmagistero.it)(1:25,000).  This picks up the route 6 km out of Passo di Cento Croce, and covers most of the rest of the day (apart from the final 1-2 km into Passo dei Due Santi)

 

Routemarking: The route follows the Alta Via dei Monti Liguri (AVML) long distance path all the way, and is generally well marked on the ground, but some care is needed.  Note that there are a couple of variants of the AVML/E1 along this stretch of the route.

Viewranger GPX File Link: https://my.viewranger.com/track/details/MTUxMDQyNjE=

Route Description

  • * From Passo di Cento Croce (Alt 1000m), the route follows a fairly flat minor road southeast through alpine grassland, until Passo della Cappelletta (1065m)(5 km 1.5 hours, 100m ascent)(Map SP-5 starts here)
  • * From Passo della Cappelletta, the route heads SSE, climbing steadily through beech forest to the top of Monte Gottero (1639m), where it turns north east and drops back down to Foce dei Tre Confini (1430m), where a number of paths cross (8 km, 3.5 hours, 600m ascent)(Map SP-4 ends here)
  • * From Foce dei Tre Confini, the route continues NE, climbing up again through woodland to Monte Penato (1578m)(some great views), then  follows the ridge east to Monte Tecchione (1583m),  before heading NE again, dropping down to Passo dei Due Santi (1385m)(10 km, 3.5 hours, 200m ascent).  Passo dei Due Santi is a trailhead for a small ski resort.

 

Route Warning: For the last few km down into Passo dei Due Santi, at the time of our visit in 2018, there had been extensive tree felling across the route, which required us to go around or clamber over lots of tree trunks. This may now have been cleared.

Stay: There is no accommodation at Passo dei Due Santi. We stayed in Noce, which is 7 km south down the road from the pass, at Agriturismo Mulino Marghen (www.mulinomarghen.com) - they kindly arranged to pick us up from the pass, and drop us off again the following morning.

Day 3: Passo dei Due Santi to Passo della Cisa

Distance: 29 km                  Total Ascent: 900m           Hours: 9.5 hours

Passo dei Due Santi marks the northern end of the Grande Escursione Appenninica (GEA. At this point, the E1 leaves the Alta Via dei Monti Liguri (which turns south east for the last 50 km of its length, to finish near La Spezia), to head north east following the GEA, broadly following the border between Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany  . This therefore also marks the first walking day covered by the guidebook ‘Trekking in the Appennines – see general details above).

Maps: We were unable to find any walking scale maps covering most of this day’s walk, but the route is well marked on the ground, and we also used the GPX track of the E1 and the guidebook to confirm our route.  

  • * ‘Appennino Parmense Alta Lunigiana’: Map 13 in the series ‘Carta Turistica e dei Sentieri Appennino Toscoemiliano’, published by Edizioni Multigraphic Firenze: 1:25,000. This covers the last 6 km of Day 3 (and the following day and a half)

Note: Map 9 in this same series would appear to cover most of the Day 3 route, but we were unable to find a copy of this particular map in print

Routemarking: The route follows the GEA long distance path all the way, and is generally well marked on the ground, but some care is needed. 

Viewranger GPX File Link: https://my.viewranger.com/track/details/MTUxMDQyNjI=

Route Description

  • * From Passo dei Due Santi (1385m), the route heads north through woodland, climbing up to Monte Cucerna (1514m), then turns NE for a gradual descent through alpine grassland, with a short but spectacular ridge walk, before dropping down to Passo di Borgallo (1016m)(8 km, 2.5 hours, 150m ascent)
  • * From Passo di Borgallo, the route continues NE, rising up to Monte Cucco (1129m), then follows the ridge before dropping down to Passo di Bratello (950m) (5 km, 1.5 hours, 100m ascent). There a café/restaurant at the pass.
  • * From Passo di Bratello, the route heads north for 2 km, climbing up to Monte Croce di Ferro, before turning east and continuing a gradual ascent along the ridge through alpine grassland to Monte Molinatico (1550m)(8 km, 3 hours, 600m ascent)

Navigation Warning: The waymarked path comes off the ridge 2 km before Monte Molinato, passing to the south of the peak, about 100m below the peak.

* From Monte Molinato, the route continues east, following just south of the ridge line through beech woodland, before dropping down to Passo della Cisa (1050m)(8 km, 2.5 hours, 50m ascent). 

Stay: There are shops and restaurants at Passo della Cisa, but no accommodation at the pass. We stayed 2 km north east along the road (SS62), at Ostello della Cisa (email: forestalepassocisa@libero.it).  

Day 4 Passo della Cisa to Lagdei

Distance: 17 km                     Total Ascent: 650m                Hours: 6 hours  

Maps:

  • * ‘Appennino Parmense Alta Lunigiana’: Map 13 – see Day 3 for details – covers all of Day 4. Note that GEA/E1 is marked as footpath 00 on this map
  • * ‘Toscana Nord’: Map 2439: Karte/Foglio 1: Published by Kompass: 1:50,000. Covers all but the first 2 km of Day 4. This is a smaller scale map, but is much clearer, and has the E1 marked. (Note that there are two separate maps numbered 2439 in this series: identified as Karte 1 and Karte 2 – see Day 9 for details of Karte 2)

 

Routemarking: The route follows the Grande Escursione Appenninica (GEA) all the way, and is generally well marked on the ground, but some care is needed. 

Viewranger GPX File Link: https://my.viewranger.com/track/details/MTUxMDQyNjQ=

Route Description

  • * From Passo della Cisa (1050m) the route climbs steadily through woodland heading east to the top of Monte Valeria (1229m) and then along the shoulder through grassland to Groppo del Vescovo (1243m). From here, the route follows the main ridge south and then gradually back to east again, to reach the top of Monte Borgognone (1401m)(10 km, 3.5 hours, 400m ascent)

Navigation Warning: 3.5 km out of Passo della Cisa, there is a path junction, where there is poor signposting of the GEA. At this junction, turn south on the steep uphill path to the top of Groppo del Vescovo

  • * From Monte Borgognone, the path continue south, following the ridge down through open grassland to Passo Cirone (1248m), and then up again to the top of Monte Tavola (1504m)(3.5km, 1.5 hours, 250m ascent)
  • After a further 400m south along the ridge, take the path east off the ridge, to descend down to Lagdei (1268m)(3 km, 1 hour)

 

Stay: Rifugio Lagdei (www.rifugiolagdei.it), or 3 km further south along the path is Rifugio Mariotti is located on Lago Santo Parmense (www.rifugiomariotti.it)

Day 5 Lagdei to Prato Spilla

Distance: 19 km                 Total Ascent: 750m                  Hours: 7 hours  

Maps:‘Toscana Nord’, Map 2439, Karte 1: see Day 4 for details – covers all of Day 5

Routemarking: The route follows the Grande Escursione Appenninica (GEA) all the way, and is generally well marked on the ground, but some care is needed. 

Viewranger GPX File Link: https://my.viewranger.com/track/details/MTUxMDQyNjU=

Route Description

  • * From Lagdei (1268m), follow the path south, climbing up through woodland to the peaceful Lago Santo Parmense (1504m). From the south side of Lago Santo Parmense, the path heads SSE, climbing steadily up the hillside to rejoin the ridge (1670m), between Monte Aquila and Monte Brusa. (7 km, 3 hours, 400m ascent)
  • * Turning south east along the ridge, the route follows a fairly flat open ridge with stunning panoramic views over Monte Brusa (1794m), Monte Matto (1836m), Monte Paitino (1814m), Monte Sillara (1859m), Monte Losana (1840m) to Monte Bragalata (1856m) (9 km, 3 hours, 300m ascent)
  • * The official E1/GEA continues along the ridge, but if you are staying at Prato Spilla, you come off the ridge 500m east of the top of Monte Bragalata, at Passo Giovarello, turning sharp left down to a small lake, before turning east for a steady descent through grassland (marked as footpath 705 on the map) past the bottom of ski lifts into the ski station of Prato Spilla (1354m)(3 km, 1 hour, 50m ascent)

 

Stay: There is a large hotel (for skiers in winter, but open in the summer months) at the ski station in Prato Spilla: ‘Albergo Prato Spilla’ (www.pratospilla.pr.it)

Day 6: Prato Spilla to Passo del Cerreto

Distance: 20 km                   Total Ascent: 900m               Hours: 8 hours  

Maps:‘Toscana Nord’, Map 2439 Karte 1 – see Day 4 for details – covers all of Day 6

Routemarking: There are 2-3 variants of the E1/GEA on this stretch of the route. This description follows the northern option, passing to the north of Lago Paduli. The route is generally well marked on the ground, but some care is needed. 

Viewranger GPX File Link: https://my.viewranger.com/track/details/MTUxMDQyNjY=

Route Description

  • * From Prato Spilla (1354m) head east on footpath 703,  through fairly flat woodland to Lago Verdarolo, and shortly after rejoin the official E1/GEA, before descending gently to Lago Squincio (1239m)(4.5 km, 2 hours, 50m ascent)

Navigation Alert: The Kompass map shows the E1/GEA heading SSW from Lago Squincio, along a track above and to the west of Lago Paduli, before turning SSE at the south end of Lago Paduli, to reach Passo del Giogio, then eastwards, passing to the south of the top of Monte Palera, before heading NE to climb to the top of Monte Acuto. We took the alternative and shorter route from Lago Squincio to the top of Monte Acuto (marked as footpath 659 on the map) - as does the Trekking in the Appennines guidebook – as below

  • * From Lago Squincio, head south down to cross the road (665) and pass round the northern end of Lago Paduli (1160m). Then follow the footpath (659 on the map), for a gentle climb through woodland east and then southeast to pass just to the east of the top of Monte Acuto, where you will find the Rifugio Citta di Sarzana (1581m)(5.5 km, 2 hours, 450m ascent)

Note: Rifugio Citta di Sarzana is a basic rifugio, open weekends only except in high summer. It offers basic food and drink for a lunch stop if you pass by on the right days. There is a small dormitory when open.

* From the Rifugio (where we rejoined the main E1/GEA route), the route continues southeast, dropping down through woodland to Ghiaccioni at 1400m, before climbing again steeply through moraine to the spectacular Passo di Pietra Tagliata (just NE of the top of Monte Alto)(1780m)(4 km, 2 hours, 400m ascent)

  • * From Passo di Pietra Tagliata, the route continues broadly south east, descending steadily down to Passo del Cerreto, located on road 63 (1261m)(6 km, 2 hours)

 

Stay: Hotel Passo del Cerreto (www.passodelcerreto.it) is located at the pass, and offers B&B and can do evening meals.

Day 7 Passo del Cerreto to Passo di Pradarena

Distance: 14 km                Total Ascent: 750m              Hours: 5.5 hours                

Maps:‘Toscana Nord’, Map 2439 Karte 1– see Day 4 for details – covers all of Day 7

Routemarking: The route follows the Grande Escursione Appenninica (GEA) all the way, and is generally well marked on the ground, but some care is needed. 

Viewranger GPX File Link: https://my.viewranger.com/track/details/MTUxMDQyNjc=

Route Description

  • * From Passo del Cerreto (1261m). the route follows a minor road south east for the first 1.5 km, then where the road turns left, continues straight onto the path, climbing steeply up through woodland emerging onto a ridge just west of the top of Monte la Nuda (1863m)(7 km, 2.5 hours, 650m ascent)

Navigation Warning: The route is not well waymarked from the top of Monte la Nuda – care is needed in navigation at this point

  • * From Monte la Nuda, the route continues southeast along the ridge through grassland to Cima Belfiore (1811m), from where the route turns ENE to follow the ridge over Monte Scalocchi(1726m) and Monte Ischia (1732m), before dropping back down through woodland to a minor road at Passo di Pradarena (1575m) (8 km, 3 hours, 100m ascent)

 

Stay: Albergo Carpe Diem (info@albergocarpediem.com) is a good mountain hotel located at the pass.

Day 8: Passo di Pradarena to Passo delle Radici

Distance: 22 km                  Total Ascent: 800m             Hours: 9.5 hours                

Maps:

  • * ‘Toscana Nord’, Map 2439, Karte 1 – see Day 4 for details – covers all of  Day 8
  • * ‘Appennino Modenese Garfagnana’ – Map 18 in the series ‘Carta Turistica e dei Sentieri Appennino Toscoemiliano’, published by Edizioni Multigraphic Firenze: 1:25,000. Covers the last 10 km of this day, from Monte Prado onwards

 

Routemarking: The route follows the Grande Escursione Appenninica (GEA) all the way, and is generally well marked on the ground, but some care is needed.  

Note:  There is a variant of the E1 that comes off the ridge at La Forcella to take a more lowland route on footpath 633 to Rifugio Bargetana (accommodation option), rejoining the main ridge east of Monte Vecchio.  We followed the main route along the ridge, as below.

Viewranger GPX File Link: https://my.viewranger.com/track/details/NzgwMTcyMA==

Route Description

  • * From Passo di Pradarena (1575m), follow the track southeast through grassland up the shoulder to the ridge , turning east along the path to pass just south of the top of Monte Sillario (1874m) and Monte di Soraggio (1832m), then heading ENE along the ridge to the top of Le Porraie (1835m), and then continuing from there ESE along the ridge, before dropping down to a saddle at La Forcella (1743m)(9 km, 3.5 hours, 300m ascent)
  • * From La Forcella, the route continues southeast along the ridge, climbing back up to the top of Monte Castellino (1948m) and on up to Monte Prado (2054m), which is the highest point on this stage of the route, and offers great views. (3 km, 1.5 hours, 300m ascent)
  • * From Monte Prado, the route continues southeast along the ridge through grassland to Monte Vecchio (1963m), Monte Cella (1942m), to Le Forbici (1817m). From here the route heads ENE along the ridge, dropping down to Passo delle Forbici (1575m) (5.5 km, 2.5 hours, 100m ascent)
  • * From Passo delle Forbici, the route picks up a track heading east, passing to the south of the top of Monte Giovarello to Passo Giovarello (1662m), and continuing along the ridge to Alpicella delle Radici (1662m), before turning southeast to drop down to Passo delle Radici (1529m) (5 km, 2 hours, 100m ascent)

 

Stay: Albergo Lunardi (www. albergolunardi.com) is the hotel located at the pass, and offers B&B and evening meals.

Day 9: Passo delle Radici to Lago Santo Modenese

Distance: 18 km                 Total Ascent: 500m                Hours: 7 hours  

Maps:

  • * ‘Toscana Nord’, Map 2439 Karte 1 – see Day 4 for details – covers the first 14 km of this day’s route, as far as Col le Bruciata
  • * ‘Toscana Nord’, Map 2439 Karte 2 – Published by Kompass: 1:50,000 – picks up where Karte 1 stops, and covers the final 4 km of this day’s route
  • * ‘Appennino Modenese Garfagnana’ – Map 18 – see Day 8 for details – covers all of this day’s route

 

Routemarking: The route follows the Grande Escursione Appenninica (GEA) all the way, and is generally well marked on the ground, but some care is needed.  

Viewranger GPX File Link: https://my.viewranger.com/track/details/MTUxMDQyNjk=

Route Description

  • * From Passo delle Radici (1529m), follow the road south for 1 km, then branch left onto a track, then left again onto a footpath up to the ridge. Follow the ridge south east through grassland and woodland, over Cimetta (1660m), Monte Spicchio (1658m), to Monte Saltello (1682m)(7km, 2.5 hours, 150m ascent)
  • * From Monte Saltello, continue southeast along the ridge, over Monte Romecchio (1702m), passing south of the top of Cima dell’Omo, before rejoining the ridge at  Col le Bruciata (1767m)(7 km, 3 hours, 250m ascent)
  • * From Col le Bruciata, the route leaves the ridge, descending northeast (footpath 529) into the valley, down to Passo Boccata (1587m), where several paths converge.  Take the path to the southeast (GEA and 529) for the last 2 km to Lago Santa Modenese (1501m)(4 km, 1.5 hours, 100m ascent)

 

Stay: There are three rifugios at Lago Santo Modenese. We stayed at Rifugio Vittoria (www.rifugiovittoria.it). There is also Rifugio Marchetti and Rifugio Giovo

Day 10: Lago Santo Modenese to Boscolungo

Distance: 15 km                   Total Ascent: 600m               Hours: 7 hours  

Maps:

  • * ‘Appennino Modenese Garfagnana’ – Map 18 – see Day 8 for details – covers most of this day’s route, as far as Monte Comito – it does not cover the last 4 km
  • * ‘Toscana Nord’ – map 2439, Karte 2 – see day 9 for details – covers all of this day’s route

 

Routemarking: The route follows the Grande Escursione Appenninica (GEA) all the way, and is generally well marked on the ground, but some care is needed.  Note that there are two alternative GEA/E1 routes from Passo della Vecchia (see below).

Viewranger GPX File Link: https://my.viewranger.com/track/details/NzgyMzI2Nw==

Route Description

  • * From Lago Santo Modenese (1501m), take footpath 523 east from the Rifugio through woodland, then turning south. After 1 km, branch left onto footpath 519, following southeast up the valley, before a short steep ascent to rejoin the main ridge at Foce a Giovo (1664m)(4 km, 1.5 hours, 150m ascent)
  • * From Foce a Giovo, follow the ridge east through alpine grassland, ascending to the top of Alpe Tre Potenze (1940m)(3 km, 2 hours, 300m ascent)
  • * From Alpe Tre Potenze, the route turns northeast, dropping down to Passo della Vecchia (1794m), before climbing again up a fairly steep ridge to the top of Monte Comito (1892m)(3 km, 1.5 hours, 100m ascent)
  • * From Monte Comito, follow the ridge east and then north east, descending steadily, and passing the top of ski lifts on the north side. After 2 km, take the footpath north off the ridge, descending down on a minor shoulder between two ski lifts, into the village of Abetone (1380m)(4 km, 2 hours, no ascent)

 

Navigation Alert: From Passo della Vecchia, there is an alternative GEA route (used in the Trekking in the Appennines guidebook), which follows footpath 102, heading southeast for 0.5 km, before turning northeast to follow a high flat valley to the east of Monte Comito, rejoining the main route 2 km east of Monte Comito. This is an easier route, but with less good views!

Stay: There are several places to stay in Abetone and its neighbouring village 1 km down the road, Boscolungo.  We stayed at Hotel Primula (www.hotelprimula.com) in Boscolungo

Day 11: Boscolungo to Lago Scaffaiolo

Distance: 18 km                Total Ascent: 850m               Hours: 7.5 hours                

Maps: ‘Toscana Nord’ – map 2439, Karte 2 – see day 9 for details – covers all of this day’s route

Routemarking: The route follows the Grande Escursione Appenninica (GEA) all the way, and is generally well marked on the ground, but some care is needed.  

Viewranger GPX File Link: https://my.viewranger.com/track/details/MTUxMDQyNzI=

Route Description

  • * From Boscolungo (1337m), take the gently rising track north,  for 2 km, branching off onto a footpath heading northeast, climbing steadily up the hillside to reach the ridge at La Verginetta (1503m)(between Monte Maiori and Cima del Diaccioni)(4.5 km, 2 hours, 200m ascent)
  • * From La Verginetta, turn east to follow the ridge, emerging out into open grassland, to the top of Cima del Diaccioni (1583m), then climbing steadily along the ridge to spectacular views from the top of Monte Rotondo (1937m) (2.5 km, 1.5 hours, 450m ascent)
  • * From Monte Rotondo, continue eastwards along the ridge, over Cervinara (1776m),  Monte Lancino (1772m), to Cima Tauffi (1798m) (3.5 km, 1.5 hours, 50m ascent)
  • * From Cima Tauffi, continue along the ridge heading southeast, over I Balzoni (1752m), Monte Pizzo (1766m), and just to the south of the top of Monte Spigolino (1827m). A further 2 km along the ridge, take the path a short way down off the ridge on the north side to Lago Scaffaiolo (1790m) (8 km, 2.5 hours, 150m ascent)

 

Stay:  Rifugio Lago Scaffaiolo (www. rifugioscaffaiolo.it) offers simple food and accommodation in dormitories

Day 12: Lago Scaffaiolo to Pracchia

Distance: 18 km                 Total Ascent: 250m               Hours: 6.5 hours                

Maps: ‘Toscana Nord’ – map 2439, Karte 2 – see day 9 for details – covers all of this day’s route

Routemarking: The route follows the Grande Escursione Appenninica (GEA) all the way, and is generally well marked on the ground, but some care is needed.  

Viewranger GPX File Link: https://my.viewranger.com/track/details/NzgzNzY0Mw==

Route Description

  • * From Lago Scaffaiolo (1790m), take the path south east through alpine grassland, passing just to the north side of the top of Monte Cupolino and Cornaccio, then following the ridge ENE to the top of Punto Giorgina (1927m), then heading southeast again along the ridge, dropping steadily down to Passo dei Cancellino (1632m) (3 km, 1 hour, 150m ascent)
  • * From Passo dei Cancellino, the route leaves the ridge, following the footpath south, descending across the hillside to pass on the eastern slopes of  Monte Gennaio, then countours along the hillside heading south east, to rejoin the ridge 1.5 km south of Monte Gennaio, then follows it south into woodland to Poggio dei Malandrini (1657m) (4 km, 1.5 hours, 50m ascent)
  • * From Poggio dei Malandrini,  the path descends southeast, then follows a minor ridge south, to the top of Monte Grosso (1350m). From here, the route descends gradually south east along a shoulder to Poggio del Ronco (1136m), before turning east to drop down more steeply into the village of Pracchia (635m) (11 km, 4 hours, 50m ascent) 

 

Pracchia has restaurants, bars, buses and a train station. The train is a rural line connecting down through multiple tunnels to the town of Pistoia, from where there are trains to Florence (Firenze).