The last stage of the Alta Via dei Monti Liguri is a long walk in the woods, without major differences in height, with fascinating colors, and sudden glimpses among endless beech woods. We walk the last steps in the Ligurian territory and then move along the Tuscan-Emilian border.
The track is sometimes covered with rotten leaves and it is not always easy to follow.
Look carefully for the trail signs as they are not well placed.
Water points are absent: bring a good supply.
We start from Passo Cento Croci on the Alta Via dei Monti Liguri path which, shortly after, joins the even, very panoramic asphalt road, just below the ridge that separates the provinces of Parma (to the north) and La Spezia (to the south). We pass the Passo Scassella and continue straight, reaching under the gigantic wind turbines at the Passo della Cappelletta. Where the road changes side to descend towards the north-east, we take the wide AVML path which continues southwards, following the ridge.
Paying attention not to take the paths that descend into Val Gotra, we progressively gain altitude (approx. 350 m height difference) in the dense beech and chestnut woods, and cutting halfway up the northern slope of Monte Gottero (1,639 m), we reach the historic Foce dei Tre Confini (1,408 m).
We continue on the AVML (which now corresponds to the mythical 00 path), descending a little before slowly starting to climb (approximately 200 m height difference), always surrounded by splendid endless beech woods. We reach again the Tuscan-Emilian ridge and we go to Monte Penato (1,578 m). Up here, at times, there are glimpses of the sharp Apuan Alps.
After the last ups and downs, bypassing the summit of Monte Fabei (1,589 m) from the west side, we reach the end of the ski lifts coming from Passo dei Due Santi. We descend quickly on the carriage road that runs alongside them and we arrive at the pass.
During the Second World War, Lunigiana was crossed by the Gothic Line, the fortified defensive line, that cut across Italy (from the Adriatic Sea to the Tyrrhenian Sea), wanted by the Nazi-Fascist occupiers to delay the advance of the allied liberation army.
Given its strategic location for both sides, Lunigiana became one of the main places of action of the partisan brigades. In particular, we remember the International Battalion, founded by an English major who escaped from a Nazi prison camp in Piacenza. He placed himself in command of a well-assorted team of partisans and allied soldiers (who fled like him) of many nationalities: Poles, Americans, English, French ...
On the way, we meet the boundary stone of Foce dei Tre Confini, which today separates Liguria, Tuscany, and Emilia-Romagna.
It is a historical frontier that, even before the unification of Italy, marked the border between the Republic of Genoa (later annexed by the Kingdom of Sardinia), the Duchy of Parma, and the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.
The pansotti (from pansa, meaning "belly", as pot-bellied) is a typical Ligurian recipe: it is a stuffed pasta made with egg puff pastry, stuffed with vegetables, herbs, eggs, parmesan, and nutmeg, as well as with a local cheese, the prescinseua (or Genoese curd), with a very tender consistency (something between yogurt and ricotta) and a sour taste. Pansotti are served with butter and sage or walnut sauce.
Rifugio Zum Zeri, near Passo dei Due Santi. Tel. +39 0187 1981342
Starting point reachable by car.
Departure point reachable by bus, starting from the city of La Spezia with a change in Varese Ligure.
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.