Rather a long and tiring stage (it can however be broken off in Serravalle di Carda), with a tiring climb in the second half. It is anyway flowing, varied, and satisfying, in the heart of the land of truffles.
The summit of Monte Nerone (1,525 m) gives us an amazing view and is worth all the effort.
In case of rain, due to the clayey soil, the stretch can become difficult: the clayey soil turns into a very slippery swamp.
Especially in the second part, the signs are often absent and the track on the ground is not very clear: keep an eye on the GPS track.
We take the carriage road that starts right from the bend of the Bocca Serriola pass. We continue fast, practically leveled, among the trees and some sporadic badlands. In Prati, where the main cart track veers down towards the north, we take the dirt road on the right. We reach the asphalt road, pass the chapel of the Madonnina dei Cinque, then Monte Cucco (837 m) and we keep the road for a long time until we reach Monte Castellaccio, where we leave the asphalt road and take the dirt road on the left. We cross the Pian della Serra and go around Monte Cagnino from the west.
We arrive at the asphalted road, follow it to the right for a few hundred meters, and at Cascina Acquapartita we take the path again, detaching ourselves from the E1 route. In rapid ups and downs, we overcome Monte Soma (956 m) and Poggio Aguzzo (950 m), to then descend (facing a few short ramps and various passages overgrown with vegetation) towards Pian di Trebbio, at the Serbatoio fraction of Serravalle di Carda (where those who are tired can break the stage).
The second part of the stage has a very different pace than the first part. We leave again along the asphalted road that climbs to Monte Nerone, to leave it shortly afterward and take the path on the right, from where we start the long climb (700 m height difference). We move on hairpin bends in the woods, with a regular slope. A long uphill cross path brings us back to the asphalted road, which we cross reaching the small Rifugio Ranco (closed). We continue the ascent, without particular sudden climbs, through wide meadows. Once at the Rifugio Corsini, the path turns 90 ° to the right: we go up the ski slope, passing under the ski lifts. The climb is hard but constant.
Arriving below the summit, we face the last climb on a slightly exposed path, and finally, we reach the summit of Monte Nerone (1,525 m), manned by the RAI antennas. The view opens up: to the south-east, in addition to the many minor peaks of the Nerone massif, Monte Catria, and the Sibillini stand out.
We start the descent (800 m drop) along the path that cuts the road. We pass the Rifugio la Cupa and, from the slopes of Monte del Pantano, continue to descend into the woods following the course of the Fosso del Breccione stream. We walk by the foot of the beautiful rocky bastions of Sasso del Re and Sasso della Rocca: the stretch is very suggestive. Finally, an easy descent takes us to the magical village of Pieia (654 m).
The origin of the name of Monte Nerone is uncertain.
A popular local version says it derives from the dark smoke that rose from its sides following a strong earthquake. Another hypothesis is instead linked to the Roman consul Claudio Nerone, who in 207 defeated the Carthaginians of Hannibal on the nearby Metauro.
Here he would have gathered his legions before the famous Battle of Metauro (year 207 BC) during which he defeated the Carthaginians. A more recent hypothesis refers instead to the simulacrum of the god Mars found on the top (during the installations of the television antennas): some studies have in fact hypothesized that the place was consecrated to the cult of Nerio Martier, where nerio would mean brave, heroic.
Around Pieia you can admire some real geological monuments. In front of the town stand out the Sasso del Re, an imposing stone obelisk, and the Sasso della Rocca, a rocky tower often used as a climbing wall by climbers.
At about fifteen minutes walk from the town, you can see the natural arch of Fondarca (which we can admire along the route of the next stage). It is a karst formation formed over the centuries by the action of atmospheric agents that caused the collapse of the vault of a cave, leaving a circular amphitheater of high limestone walls, whose portal is a spectacular arch, suspended at about fifty meters in height.
In Pianello, a hamlet of Cagli, the Snail Festival takes place every year: snails are collected in large quantities on the slopes of Monte Nerone.
The snails in porchetta are excellent. They are cooked for a long time with garlic, chili, wild fennel, mint, and tomato - a gourmet recipe, not used in other neighboring towns.
Hotel Ristorante Montenerone, in Serbatoio di Serravalle di Carda. Tel. +39 0722 90136
Ristorante Rossana Pension, in Serbatotio Serravalle di Carda. Tel. +39 0722 90146
Rifugio La Cupa, just below the top of Monte Nerone, with a very beautiful and aerial view. Tel. +39 0722 90117
Casa Vacanze The Arco di Fondarca, in Pieia. Tel. +39 340 561 7918 - +39 338 153 1132
Starting point reachable by car.
Departure point reachable by bus, starting from the town of Città di Castello.
Here the LINK to check the timetables.
Starting point NOT reachable by train.
Va' Sentiero is a grassroot project, thanks to the spontaneous contribution oft housands of people.
Even the most complicated dream, a 7,000km uphill dream,
can be achieved... together.