Emilia Romagna boasts a unique national concentration of roads and paths which in the past saw the passage of wayfarers and pilgrims heading for some holy place, but also merchants interested in expanding their trade. Then crossed by trekking and walking enthusiasts, these paths guide hikers to discover landscapes of extraordinary beauty. Especially in the area between Piacenza, Parma and Reggio Emilia there are some itineraries that leave every traveler speechless.

Here are 4 unmissable paths for backpacking through Emilia.


Declared a Cultural Itinerary of the Council of Europe in 1994, the Via Francigena is an ancient pilgrimage route that led from Canterbury to Rome. The name “Francigena” indicates the way or ways that “from the Land of the Franks” allowed pilgrims from beyond the Alps to reach Rome. Of the over one thousand km that make up the Italian section, the route also crosses the provinces of Piacenza and Parma. It enters Piacenza territory with the Guado di Sigerico and, after a short stretch on the embankment of the Po, arrives in Piacenza touching Piazzale delle Crociate, with the Basilica of Santa Maria di Campagna, and Piazza Cavalli, with the monumental Palazzo Gotico. Beyond Piacenza, the Via Francigena coincides with various stretches of the Via Emilia and crosses Pontenure, Fiorenzuola d’Arda, Fidenza, Fornovo di Taro, Cassio and the Cisa Pass. An obligatory stop for pilgrims along the way was the Cathedral dedicated to S. Donnino Martire, exceptional from an artistic point of view for the richness of the bas-reliefs in Romanesque style.

For more information visit the official web site Via Francigena.


Also known as the mountain Via Francigena, the Via degli Abati is an ancient early medieval path that was traveled by the abbots and monks of the Abbey of San Colombano di Bobbio on their way to Rome. About 190 km long, the road starts from  Bobbio, to continue towards Bardi, cross Borgo Val di Taro and descend to Pontremoli in 5 stages on foot. Through this challenging route that winds along paths, mule tracks and cart tracks crossing valleys and ridges for a total height difference of over 6000 metres, hikers can discover the Apennines in its most natural and uncontaminated part. Among the points of interest we highlight: the Passo della Sella dei Generali, the highest point of the route; the Borgallo Forest and the panoramic ridge between Emilia and Liguria. Since May 2008, “The Abbots Way”, one of the most important ultra-marathons in nature, has been organized on the route.

For more information visit the official web site Via degli Abati.


The Sentiero del Tidone is a path almost entirely in dirt and gravel that crosses two regions: Emilia Romagna and Lombardy. Val Tidone, with its large spaces and small suggestive villages, is ideal for a trip out of town and for anyone looking for a relaxing place surrounded by nature, healthy and genuine cuisine and good wine. 69 km long, the route starts in the province of Piacenza, from Boscone Cusani (in the locality of Gerra Vecchia) and runs alongside the Po up to the point where the Tidone flows into the river, to then go up the stream up to the Molato dam where, skirting the lake of Trebecco, reaches as far as the province of Pavia and ends at the source. Wooden signs and notice boards provide information on the route.

For more information visit the official wb site Sentiero del Tidone.


The Via Matildica del Volto Santo is a 284 km long itinerary that crosses the territory of Lombardy, Emilia and Tuscany in 11 stages. It is divided into three historic stretches: the Via del Preziosissimo Sangue (from Mantua to Reggio in 3 stages); the San Pellegrino Way (from Reggio to San Pellegrino in Alpe in 5 stages) and the Via del Volto Santo (from San Pellegrino in Alpe to Lucca in 3 stages). Along the way there are suggestive villages, ancient and strategic castles in the lands of Matilde in a unique cultural variety and naturalistic richness. Among the cities it crosses in Emilia, we mention Guastalla, Canossa, Carpineti, Toano, Gazzano and Reggio Emilia, where you can admire some places of interest in the city such as the Parish Church of San Pellegrino and the Corbelli Tank.

For more information visit the official web site Via Matildica del Volto Santo.

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