A long and difficult stage, with a difficult climb that challenges even the most trained hikers.
Nevertheless, the beautiful village of Cagli seals a day of rare beauty, offering the thrill of the Arco di Fondarca and the total view from Monte Petrano (1,163 m).
The stage presents numerous criticalities, which in addition to the length and the differences in height make it quite difficult and unsuitable for the less experienced and trained hikers.
In the first part of the stage (Fondarca - Cerreto), several parts are exposed and slippery, due to the smooth limestone rocks.
In the second part (after Pianello) the path is very little beaten and therefore often invaded by brambles and vegetation, making it often difficult and challenging to identify, also because of the poor signage (keep an eye on the GPS track).
The climb to the plateau before Monte Petrano is really tough and leg-breaking, the slope leaves no respite and the vegetation doesn't help either.
The only water points in Pianello and Moria, stock up in preparation for the difficult climb to Monte Petrano.
We ascend swiftly to the Grotta delle Nottole (home to numerous bats and where remains of the Bronze Age have been found). We take the path on the left that with a short climb, takes us to the spectacular stone arch of Fondarca - crossing the basin, we can exit on the opposite side through a narrow passage, then go around the amphitheater to the right and reach the top of the bridge stone.
Back on the path, we continue sideways, with various ups and downs, circumnavigating the Fosso Giordano valley. The path is sometimes exposed and attention and a steady step are required. Finally, we begin to descend (300 m drop): we walk through the small village of Cerreto (with the beautiful church of San Michele Arcangelo) and continue to descend until we resume the paved road that runs along the valley floor, to the left.
We arrive at the old part of the village of Pianello, we resume the path that goes into the woods to Pian di Polea (453 m) and return on the asphalted road (the path is interrupted due to a landslide), which goes up (200 m height difference) towards the town of Moria, where we stock up on water. Passing the village, we take the path on the left, really bad for the next 2 km because of the poor maintenance and the many brambles, among which we have to make room. Being careful to follow the trail markers, we lose altitude until we meet the Fosso del Piano della Rava stream, then we veer east and start the long climb (650 m height difference) to Monte Petrano. Signage becomes scarce or almost absent.
We resume the road and (coinciding with a narrow bend) we return to the path. The climb in the woods becomes really difficult: very steep, challenging, on a badly marked path and in bad conditions. After this long stretch, we finally come out into the open, surrounded by large summit meadows. The track disappears, but the slope slows down a lot. After passing a spartan emergency bivouac, we easily climb to the top of La Rocchetta (1,163 m), the highest peak of Monte Petrano.
We catch our breath and continue towards the buildings of Monte Petrano (a campsite offers the opportunity to break the stage to those who are tired), after which always on the path, we start the long descent (750 m drop) in the woods to finally arrive at the town of Cagli.
30 minutes by bus from Cagli, there is the Gola del Furlo, a sort of long canyon carved by the erosive force of the Candigliano river. Today, it is a nature reserve characterized by a varied fauna (the golden eagle also lives here).
The gorge was crossed by the ancient Via Flaminia: the ancient road followed a path overlooking the river, sometimes damaged by landslides. For this reason, in the first century AD, the Roman emperor Vespasian had a tunnel dug in the narrowest point of the gorge, made entirely of compact limestone by means of chisels and picks, the cuts are still visible.
This tunnel is still open today.
Cagli is a magnificent town with very ancient origins that date back to the 4th century BC. With a rich past, its streets are full of stories and monuments: there are 14 churches and 3 monasteries, not to mention the abbeys and monasteries scattered among the hamlets of the municipal area.
Walking around Cagli is a real pleasure: in the main square, we are amazed by the facade of the ancient Town Hall (from the 13th century), now house of the administrative offices.
One of the most significant monuments is the Torrione, the only building that was saved from the dismantling of the Rocca, the fortress of the Dukes of Urbino. It was built at the end of the 15th century with innovative solutions of military architecture, tested to face the increasingly massive use of firearms.
The Church of San Francesco and the Cathedral Basilica are also worth a visit.
The entire area between Pianello and Cagli is renowned for the presence of truffles, in particular the white truffle, the most precious type.
Every November, the Hymn to the Truffle fair is held in Cagli, dedicated to the sale (very expensive!) of the noble tuber: prices of several thousand euros per kilo are reached.
Camping Monte Petrano, on top of the mountain. Tel. +39 0721787457 - +39 366 701 3117
B&B del Teatro, in Cagli. Tel. +39 333 951 0045
Agriturismo San Silvestro, in Cagli. Tel. +39 0721/799274 - +39 339/8296216
B&B La Rosa Rossa, in Cagli. Tel. +39 320 627 7869
Starting point reachable by car.
Departure point NOT reachable by bus.
The nearest town reachable by bus is the hamlet of Massa, starting from the town of Fano with a change in Calmazzo and Cagli.
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.