A long but very varied stage, without excessive differences in height: beautiful landscapes.
You can stop at Santo Modenese Lake (in summer, its fresh water is a boon): however, the Bivacco Lago Nero has an atmosphere that is worth all the effort and the stage itself.
The stage has high mileage but it can be easily broken at Santo Modenese Lake, a beautiful place. However, we decided to continue to the Bivacco Lago Nero for its uniqueness and atmosphere.
The only points of water are at the mountain lodges of Santo Modenese Lake.
We leave, going slightly downhill, Passo delle Radici on the comfortable carriageway immersed in the woods that leads us to San Pellegrino (the highest permanent non-municipal inhabited center in the whole Apennines!), with the homonymous Sanctuary. On an easy path, we go up (about 100 m height difference) to the Giro del Diavolo, where we resume the ridge and the route of the Great Apennine Excursion.
We follow the carriage road up to Monte Spicchio (1,658 m), then we proceed on the ridge with light ups and downs. Between the Cime di Romecchio (1,784 m) and the Cima dell'Omo (1,860 m), the climb (approx. 200 m height difference) is accentuated and the bottom becomes slightly bumpier. The view is satisfying, from the wooded expanses of the Garfagnana to the rugged walls of the Apuan Alps.
We thus reach Colle Bruciata (1,767 m), from which we leave the 00 path, and, following the GEA (on the left), we proceed on a comfortable and wide cross path up to the nearby Passo Boccaia. With a short descent, we reach the splendid Santo Modenese Lake (those who are tired can interrupt the stage here and take advantage of the various mountain lodges).
We continue on the hillside path that climbs gradually (approximately 150 m height difference), crossing a glacial amphitheater with large expanses of blueberries. Once in Foce a Giovo (1,664 m), we keep the path on the left and arrive on the level at the Passo di Annibale. On a good path with ups and downs, we pass the suggestive Piatto Lake and, shortly after, we reach the Nero Lake, with the homonymous bivouac. On weekends, there is a unique atmosphere inside: get ready to party.
Just above San Pellegrino in Alpe, we find a place called “Giro del Diavolo”. It is said that here, San Pellegrino, tempted by the Devil, lost his patience and slapped him tremendously, so much so that he crashed into the Apuan Alps, which were pierced by the body of the Evil One. Hence the Monte Forato, a large natural arch of stone clearly visible, in fact, from San Pellegrino in Alpe.
A legend has it that Santo Modenese Lake was once the meeting place of two lovers who could not live their love because of the hatred that divided the two families (a sort of Romeo and Juliet of the Apennines). For this reason, with the excuse of bringing the sheep to pasture, the two met along the banks of the lake. One winter day, in a hurry to hug, the two started running on the frozen surface of the lake: they barely had time to hug before being forever swallowed up by the waters.
San Pellegrino in Alpe is a small village with an ancient history that takes place around its sanctuary, one of the most famous and ancient in Italy.
Already in an 11th century document, there is mention of a hospice and a church, destination for frequent pilgrimage: the beautiful sanctuary houses the remains of San Pellegrino (son of the King of Scotland, who renounced the crown and traveled to Europe on foot, to die here in 643 AD) and his disciple San Bianco.
The sanctuary has long been disputed between the duchies of Lucca and Modena: it is said that even the reliquary containing the remains of the two saints is placed exactly on the border so that the bodies have their heads in Emilia and their feet in Tuscany.
The Modenese Apennines are famous for the bilberry, which grows spontaneously between 900 and 1,800 meters (the name, mirtillo nero in Italian, seems to derive from myrtle, given its similarity to the Mediterranean "relative"), with its typical dark berry and a bittersweet flavor.
Its therapeutic properties have been known since ancient times: in the Middle Ages, it was used as a remedy for hemorrhoids. However, its best-known feature is the ability to sharpen the sight, especially in the dark, which is why during the Second World War the British pilots of the Royal Air Force made extensive use of it for their night raids.
Excellent eaten hot with ice cream, bilberry is also used in savory recipes, in risotto or with tagliatelle.
Rifugio Giovo, near Santo Modenese Lake. Tel. +39 0536 71556
Rifugio Marchetti, near Santo Modenese Lake. Tel. +39 0536 71253
Rifugio Vittoria, near Santo Modenese Lake. Tel. +39 0536 71509
Bivacco Lago Nero, near the homonymous lake. Open and operative on weekends from July to September, without electricity: only candles, a fireplace and .. 2 guitars! It has a winter room with 4 seats, always open. Tel. +39 334 2645401 - +39 0573 365582
Starting point reachable by car.
Departure point NOT reachable by bus.
The nearest location reachable by bus is Casa Ceccarini, starting from the city of Sassuolo with a change in Piandelagotti.
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.