Lessons in landscape
Lessons in landscape
We set off southbound from Bagno di Romagna by car along the provincial road SP. 138. We travel for 1 km to a fork where we take the SP.142 (formerly the SS.71) on the right, which goes to Tuscany and the Casentino area, on a spectacular journey along the hairpins of the "Mandrioli Road", enjoying a magnificent scenery. After 8 km, passing by the scattered cottages of the "Ravenna Montana" village, we park in a spacious area on the right. From here we follow the asphalt on foot to the right and after about 200 m, where it turns sharply left climbing the Mandrioli Pass, we proceed directly toward an information board of the Park indicating the Nocicchio rest area which is barred to traffic (993 asl). We continue along a wide unmade road and come to the blue/red signs of the CAI 121 trail, which winds its way gently uphill and after about 700 m brings us to Prato dei Grilli (1019 asl). At this point various signs on the left indicate branches which we ignore. We follow the forestry service road, still guided by the blue/red signs of the CAI 121, passing by the eastern border of the " Parco Nazionale delle Foreste casentinesi ", as shown on a board. Soon we come to a bar (after 300 m) which blocks vehicular traffic while on the right there is the beginning of the CAI 185 trail which descends through the Becca Valley all the way to Bagno di Romagna. We continue on our route which, circling Poggiaccio (1069 asl), runs along the ridge that separates the Savio Valley from the Bidente di Pietrapazza Valley. The trail takes us through vast landscapes. On the right the Barco Valley now comes into view and at the bottom the roofs of Bagno di Romagna can be distinguished. On the left instead the forest becomes denser on the main ridge of the Apennines from which deep narrow valleys branch off down toward Pietrapazza. A little further on we reach a panoramic rest area (1014 asl), equipped with a board showing the skyline and altitudes that indicates the names of the surrounding mountains and places. Here, a roughly hewn stone bears an inscription of a verse from a song by the rock group “Banco di Mutuo Soccorso”: Da qui, Messere, si domina la valle: ciò che si vede è. Ma se l'imago è scarna, scendiamo a rimirarla da più in basso. (From here, Sirs, you can see the valley: what you see is real. But if the view is unclear we can go down and see it from a lower point.) Here, under the peak of Monte Càrpano there is a three way junction of trails: CAI 121 which climbs directly to the top (1130 m asl); to the left the trail followed so far now drops into the Barco Valley toward Pietrapazza and becomes the CAI 209; finally there is the CAI 189 which climbs on the right up the Barco Valley as far as Bagno di Romagna. To continue the tranquil journey on the CAI 121 we prefer to skirt Monte Càrpano to the east on the hillside and then rejoin it later. So we take the CAI 189 and set off to the right, then – after barely 50 m – we turn left on the "Sentiero del Lupo" (Wolf’s Trail) which rejoins the 121 after a wide curve uphill. We follow the forestry service road, ignoring the various turnoffs, through little woods of turkey oak and pines. Along the trail some benches offer an opportunity to admire the varying panorama that gradually comes into view of the high end of the Savio Valley and Monte Còmero towering above it. The sharp mass of Monte Castelluccio (1115 asl) can already be seen and the trail turns right (1070 asl) starting a gentle downward slope. At a place by the name of "Falce e martello" (Hammer and sickle), after passing the signpost indicating the CAI 193 fork on the right which descends to Corzano and San Piero in Bagno, we enter a pinewood at the end of which yet another spectacular landscape comes into view with the Rio Salso Valley at our feet and further off the Apennine range with the spur of Monte Penna (1381 asl) overlooking the Romagna side of the "Parco Nazionale delle Foreste Casentinesi". A little further on after a bar the trail arrives at car park of Monte Piano (982 asl) where it meets the road from San Piero and descends toward Rio Salso.
From here we return to the departure point, following the same route with the benefit of being able to see the landscape and nature from a new and different angle, often with surprises.
PATH: Nocicchio - Sentiero del Lupo - Piazzale di Monte Piano - Sentiero del lupo - Nocicchio. LENGTH: 8 km. TIME TRAVELLING: 4 hours. DETAIL: Nocicchio - Passo Monte Carpano: km 1,200 / Passo Monte Carpano - Piazzale Monte Piano: km 2, 800 / Piazzale Monte Piano - Nocicchio: km 4.