A stage of medium length, very easy and with a reduced height difference, on a comfortable track mostly in the woods.
We walk near the old Gothic Line.
Shortly after leaving Pracchia, the road is not accessible because of a landslide, which must be circumvented.
The only water point is at the Passo della Collina.
We cross the town of Pracchia heading south, then cross the Reno river and take the route of the Grande Escursione Appenninica, on a comfortable carriage road: we begin to climb (approximately 300 m height difference). Leaving the carriage road, we continue on the path to easily reach the Passo Piastreta (897 m), where we find the 00 path and the view opens onto the Ombrone Valley. The slope decreases and we soon return on a comfortable carriage road, then on a paved road. We reach the Passo della Collina (932 m), on the old Nazi Gothic Line, where we find a bar and a fountain.
Continuing on the 00 path, we face a small ramp (approximately 100 m height difference) that takes us to Poggio di Val Capratica (1,044 m), from which we continue along the line of the ridge, alternating the carriage road with stretches of wide path, in gentle ups and downs among beautiful beech and chestnut woods, until you cross the main road towards Pistoia and, immediately after, arrive at the Cascina Spedaletto Visitor Center (891 m).
If you want, you can continue for about 5 km on the 00 path and stay overnight at the Rifugio Pacini, continuing on to the next stage.
"... and Pavana, a memento left among the chestnut trees of the Apennines" sings Francesco Guccini, one of the most unmistakable and relevant voices of 20th century Italian auteur music.
The songwriter spent the first years of his childhood in Pavana (a small village north of Spedaletto) during the war. He has returned to live here for many years now.
Some of his cousins have restored and transformed the old mill of the singer's great-grandfather into a bed & breakfast, the Mill of Chicon, which inspired many songs.
The Pistoia area has always been a land of borders and wars, from the Roman era (when Hannibal passed) until the Second World War: the Gothic Line, built by the Germans after the Allies landed in Sicily, passed through here.
In Signorino, not far from the Passo della Collina, there are still reinforced concrete fortifications, tunnels, and forts, placed in some strategic points to defend the access to the pass. Today these fortifications are located in the middle of the woods, but during the war there were only meadows that the Germans had scattered with mines. At the end of the conflict, the massive work of the deminers was necessary. They often lost their lives in order to avoid further victims, especially among the children who came to play.
The Tuscan bread is a local tradition made famous by Dante's verses and for being "sciocco", without salt - to highlight the traditionally savory local dishes it accompanies. It is believed that its origin is linked to the historical rivalry between the Republic of Florence and that of Pisa: the latter increased significantly the duties on salt to put rivals in difficulty. However, the rivals reacted by simply avoiding the ingredient in the dough.
Tuscan bread (now a PDO product) is characterized by a crunchy crust and a bland and slightly sour taste.
Cascina di Spedaletto Visitor Center. Tel. +39 338 303 7439
Rifugio Luigi Pacini, in Pian della Rasa (about hard from Cascina di Spedaletto, along the route of the next stage). Tel. +39 366 898 5418 - +39 349 805 7163 - +39 348 253 4060
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.