Quite a short stage with reduced height difference: currently, the conditions of the track are disastrous and from the beginning, there are dangerous sections.
The route develops along the Burano Valley along the ancient Via Flaminia, and reaches the picturesque village of Cantiano.
The stage presents considerable criticalities, due to the poor state of the path, which collapsed in two parts (at the start and at the highest point) and it is almost not accessible: it is easy to slip. The same stretches are also exposed and therefore risky: the stretch is absolutely not recommended. From Cagli you can instead take the 260 path, up to Monte Tenetra, and then go down to Cantiano.
The only water point is in the town of Foci.
We resume the path near the Capuchin Convent. The track is in bad conditions from the beginning and forces us to circumvent a landslide, with extreme caution (it’s easy to slip and it is exposed). After the difficult passage, we return to an accessible track and continue on a slight slope, with short ups and downs, until we skirt the Flaminia road and, crossing an underpass, reach the small hamlet of Foci.
We leave the built-up area passing a second underpass, at the exit we make sure not to take the trail that goes into the woods, instead we turn left, slightly downhill, to skirt the Burano river. We return to gradually gain altitude (300 m height difference) at mid-coast, alternating the dense holm oak forest with some open views, that allow us to admire the beautiful and wild valley.
Once in the highest stretch of the path (about 600 m), we spot the ancient Roman bridge in the valley. We face another really dangerous stretch caused by a second, large landslide and the thick brambles that cover the track. The track continues downhill, semi-abandoned (no indication whatsoever) until it returns to the valley floor. We skirt the Burano river, cross private property, and crossing the bridge over the river, we arrive at the houses of Pontedazzo. We continue for the last 2 km on an asphalted road to finally arrive at the charming and ancient village of Cantiano, with its beautiful churches.
Cantiano has a very troubled history: it was founded in the 6th century as a fortress, later conquered by Frederick II, who donated it to the city of Gubbio. Afterward, it was passed to the Duchy of Urbino and after its extinction (due to lack of male heirs ) was included in the State of the Church, until the unification of Italy.
Today it is a small, enchanting town, inserted in a naturalistic and landscape context of great beauty. In the historic center, there are stone houses, ancient churches, and museums, testimonies of its long and ancient history.
However, its population has drastically decreased, like that of almost all mountain villages, since the second postwar period, and many houses are abandoned. With the hope of reversing the trend, the administration has put these houses up for sale at the price of one euro, with the condition that they are renovated and inhabited within a certain period.
On the Nerone, Petrone, and Catria mountains, herds of Catria horses graze in the wild. It is a breed born by the crossing of native horses with Maremma horses (in fact there were frequent contacts between the Carbonari from the Marches and the Grosseto shepherds): very strong, suitable for mountain grazing, it was once widely used in agriculture, today for equestrian tourism.
In mid-October, the transhumance takes place in the valley followed by a large fair in Cantiano.
One of Cantiano's most renowned products is the visciola, a wild cherry imported to Italy at the time of ancient Rome.
These cherries have a sour and unpleasant taste if eaten raw, but become a delicacy if in syrup: place them in a glass jar with the same amount of sugar, preferably cane, then leave the jar in the open air and in the sun for about twenty days, stirring occasionally. At that point, the fruits can be eaten with ice cream, with yogurt ... the syrup can instead be diluted with water, lemon peel, and ice, for a very refreshing and fragrant drink.
The visciola wine is excellent as well, a sweet wine for tasting or as a dessert wine (excellent with cantucci): it is prepared by macerating the sour cherries in wine, with the addition of sugar, or by fermenting the sour cherries syrup in the must.
Locanda del Brolio, in Cantiano. Tel. +39 0721 783068
B&B La Badia, in Chiaserna (about 1 hour from Cantiano, on the route of the next stage). Tel. +39 335 659 9487
Camping Le Ginestre del Catria, in Chiaserna. Tel. +39 346 049 9219
Starting point reachable by car.
Starting point reachable by bus, starting from the town of Fano with a change in Calmazzo.
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.