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Spallanzani Path

Spallanzani Path

Dedicated to Lazzaro Spallanzani, famous reggiano naturalist lived in the eighteenth century and considered the "Galilei of biology."

Created  by the Provincial Administration of Reggio Emilia, the Spallanzani Path is dedicated to Lazzaro Spallanzani, the famous reggiano  naturalist  lived in the eighteenth century and considered the "Galilei of biology", which the trail is named because of the many explorations that he did in the Apennines. The trail passes through all of the Apennines Reggiano vegetation zones, starting from Scandiano, birthplace of Spallanzani, and through Viano, Regnano, Carpineti, Bismantova, Ligonchio, Lama Lite, Passo delle Forbici and Passo delle Radici, ending  to San Pellegrino in Alpe, on the ridge Tosco Emiliano.

The fascinating route along 115 km with a total climb of 5,000 M.T., is marked not only by the red and white signs of the CAI (Italian Alpine Club), a butterfly symbol and the initials SSP. The route, which is not particularly difficult, it is also practiced by inexperienced hikers and lends itself well to the horse trekking. It takes place in seven stages, for a total of about 35h walk, and it's like walking a geological museum in the open air. Recommended in the summer to the cool weather, and, for the variety and intensity of colors in the autumn and spring.

Stage 1: Scandiano (Ventoso) - Regnano

The first stage of the Spallanzani Path starts from the village of Ventoso, one kilometer south of the town of Scandiano, near the western flank of the former lime kiln in the early industrial interest. It takes a track that goes up the valley of the creek Guiglia spots between shrubs and large fields until he reached the watershed, from where you can admire a splendid view over the valley Tresinaro. After passing a farmhouse building (Bottegaro), it passes next to a famous centuries-old oak tree and descend through meadows of grasses, where numerous orchids bloom in the spring, until the bridge over the Torrente Tresinaro, in front of the Church of Rondinara.

At this point, it goes up on the opposite side to the characteristic of Viano Castle, part of the defense complex of  Matilda. It now follows the paved road towards Mamorra for about 2 km, to abandon it after Casino onto a cart track on the right that meets the Rio Faggiano and the provincial road in rural building named Le Piane. Finally, you reach Regnano, famous resort for sauces, cold mud volcanoes that bubbles in the clay soil, a phenomenon caused by the presence of underground gaseous hydrocarbons that Spallanzani had studied several times.

STAGE 2: Regnano - Mulino del Tasso

From Regnano the route climbs towards Monte Alfonso, at which you go down a steep dirt track between fields, with beautiful scenery of the valley below. It goes up the valley of the Rio Cesella and you will find the entrance of Riolo, another charming little village. From Riolo you can reach the abandoned village of Cavazzone, a rare example of a court settlement in its current form dates back to centuries  XVII-XIX, characterized by a long porch which was passing under the main trail.

From Riolo it continues along a narrow wooded valley full of trees, among which the Scots pine stands, until you reach S. Giovanni Querciola, where there are numerous interesting tower houses. It is held via Michelangelo always among oak trees, to the nearby village of Prodiera. It passes the House of Charity, the cheese factory, and reach the nearby village of Ca 'de' Pazzi. After the town of  semi-abandoned Sorriva, the trail continues into the woods, where in spring you can observe beautiful specimens of orchid, until it reaches the level of the Mulino del Tasso, where it concludes the second stage.

STAGE 3: Mulino del Tasso - San Vitale

A trail climbs to Monte delle Ripe, ancient seat of the Castello del Giandeto, and then down into the southern side up to Case Mattioli, characteristic group of fortified houses. Continue to the Church of Giandeto, from which you reach Croveglia,  interesting village especially for the two tower houses of the fifteenth-century , placed in defense of the Rio Tresinaro in an impregnable position from enemy attack and linked to other castles of Matilda fortified system. Also for agricultural driveway you go down the Tresinaro and you get to an 'other township with tower house, Cerpiano.

The stage continues to the village called Mandra, to go up soon to the site of the medieval castle, which stands in the ancient and revered Oratory of Santa Liberata. A mule track to Mount Uccellara and then descends to Romagnano, one of the best preserved villages in the Apennines Reggiano, with some buildings of the fifteenth century of great architectural interest. At this point the trail continues up to the important archaeological site Pieve di San Vitale, whose ruins are located at a grassy plateau. The ancient Romanesque church remains only the narthex reduced to a chapel and rectory (XVI-XVII century.) Restored and converted into a hostel.

STAGE 4: San Vitale - Ginepreto

From San Vitale the path is now of great geological and botanical interest. You reach the Carpineti Castle, which was the residence of Matilda of Canossa and where stayed Pope Gregory VII. The castle, built in the tenth and eleventh centuries, is located on the summit of Mount Antognano (805 m. above sea level) from which dominates the valleys of Tresinaro and the Secchia, a few kilometers from the center of Carpineti. From the castle we cross forests of chestnut, beech and roach on the ridge until you reach Ca 'Fosola and the two big twins beech trees that characterize the grassy saddle.

At this point continue through other open fields with magnificent views of the stone Bismantova to the charming village of Saccaggio, dominated by two ancient tower-houses (centuries XV-XVI). Then we reach the village of Campolungo, where, crossing the road to Casale, a cattle track between fields approaches the Bismantova. Then you’ll pass the entrance of the well-known Ferrata degli Alpini and the hazelnut and clearings to reach the top of the famous rocky massif and isolated by the unmistakable profile shaped like a ship that distinguishes the landscape of the Apennines Reggiano. To get off the stone, take the easy path place to West which, turning around the base of the spectacular vertical wall, leading to the Hermitage of Bismantova. Continue on a dirt road leading to the Church of Ginepreto.

STAGE 5: Ginepreto – Casalino

From Ginepreto descend for mule tracks towards the river Secchia, whose bed is characterized by interesting chalk exposures. Cross the bridge and reach the Pianello, taking a path not marked, the spectacular karst hollow called Tanone of Gacciolina. Back at the marked trail, after a beautiful lawn there is the abandoned rural settlement of Ca 'Rabacchi, from which it descends again to the provincial road, cross it and take the dirt road that crosses the Rio Sologno bed.

It reaches Castellaro, delightful village perched on a hill of reddish volcanic origin, and take the mule track parallel to the road leading to the village Cerrè Sologno. The trail now climbs a roof ridge and passed the watershed descends to the beautiful village of Montecagno, cross it and you reach mule track Casalino, quaint old mountain village.

STAGE 6: Casalino-Rifugio Battisti

From Casalino it goes down to the mill ,on the creek Ozola, and then to the municipality of Ligonchio, the highest municipality of the Reggio Apennines and the heart of the National Park of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines. Its landscape still intact, natural and extraordinary beauty in an ecosystem of great scientific interest is rich in resources. From Ligonchio, at the fountain of Scodellino, follow path 635, which crosses the suggestive river valley Ozola winding halfway between sandstone cliffs outcrop.

At this point it begins a gradual climb up to Presa Rimale on the homonymous stream. The path continues to the Presa Alta, where you take the path that always uphill, after a few zigzags in the woods, reaches the beautiful plateau known as the Deer Lake ( Lago del capriolo ,although the lake was drained over 60 years ago). You climb to Passo di Romecchio, crossing the Apennine ridge at an altitude of 1680 m where is situated the small Oratory of St. Bartholomew (San Bartolomeo). Here the view opens on the Apennine ridge, overlooking Mount Cusna and, to the south, the Apuan Alps ( Alpi Apuane ). From the Passo di Romecchio the trail passes a bit 'below the ridge, through a cranberry heath, past the Rifugio Bargetana and climbs up to Rifugio Cesare Battisti in the locality Lama Lite, the oldest and most popular refuge in the Apennines Reggiano.

STAGE 7: Rifugio Battisti - San Pellegrino in Alpe

From Lama Lite Pass, take the path heading south-east to Bocca di Massa. Winds along the coast of the northern side of Mount Prado, in a heathland of blueberries, mixed with colonies of brachipodio. Cross the Rio Torto and climb gradually to Bocca di Massa (1806 m), crossing the ridge from which the Serchio valley is visible and the Pania of Corfino. Go down a steep descent in a forest of beech trees that leads to a dirt road a few meters from the Oratory of the Passo delle Forbici. From the pass, the trail circumvents the Monte Giovarello up to the pass of the same name and continues to Prati di S. Geminiano, an area already popular in ancient times as evidenced by relics from the Neolithic.

Continue along the ridge past the Mount La Nuda before falling in a beech forest until reaching the wide cartroads leading to the Passo delle Radici, also called the mouth of the Roots (Foce delle Radici), which separates Tuscany from Emilia and in particular the province of Lucca, town of Castiglione di Garfagnana, the province of Modena, municipality of Frassinoro. Here also converge the Matilda Path and Via Bibulca. From here through meadows and paths in the hillside forest it comes down to the meadows of Villa Bianca (farm with source). Here an uphill dirt road leads to the meadows of Pradaccio and finally the village of San Pellegrino in Alpe, the end of the Spallanzani Path. San Pellegrino is a small village perched at an altitude of 1525 meters above sea level, where you can visit the Hospice, stop for medieval pilgrims, the Sanctuary and the Provincial Ethnographic Museum "Don Luigi Pellegrini", with over 4,000 objects documenting life of the Apennine populations in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

For more information visit the official website of the CAI Scandiano.

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