The word detox is more and more commonly associated with physical wellbeing, mainly to leave behind the stress of the city and, at least for a moment, forget its ever-present chaos.
Walking through nature is one of the best ways to experience personally the recuperative effect of a holiday, so why not consider spending three days walking the Alta Via Parchi [Trail of the Parks] in Romagna?
After reading this itinerary you will want to get your backpack and set out!
Let’s get started: what is the Alta Via Parchi?
It is a hike through the Emilia-Romagna Apennines, with occasional “crossing over” into Tuscany and Marche. It is within reach of both expert and curious hikers, but mainly it is for all those who want to have a unique experience.
In fact, uphills and downhills seem to blend with wild nature and with the historical traces of ancient borders.
The trail fully shows what the Apennines have to offer, from huge lakes in the beautiful high-altitude meadows, endless forests and crystal-clear streams, to volcanic rocks and chalk cliffs.
The first day of the Alta Via Parchi in Romagna takes you through the National Park of Casentino Forests, Mount Falterona and Campigna, leaving from La Verna and reaching the Rifugio Biancaneve at Mount Fumaiolo.
The itinerary begins right at La Verna, the most famous monastery in Casentino, and leads to Montefeltro.
From La Verna Sanctuary take the old mule track and go up towards the field of Mount Calvano, and then continue until Passo delle Pratelle. From here, you will walk along Mount Castelsavino to Passo delle Gualanciole.
After reaching Poggio Tre Vescovi you will start to head downhill, following the trail until you reach the Valico di Montecoronaro, and then the town of Montecoronaro; here you will cross the mule track to the west side of the Fumaiolo. Lastly, you will walk between the softwoods on the north and then to the Valico.
Down the street and slightly to the left, you will see the Rifugio Biancaneve. This will make all your efforts of the first day worthwhile!
The second day of the Alta Via Parchi in Romagna starts from the Rifugio Biancaneve at Mount Fumaiolo and ends at Bascio, with a walk through the Sasso Simone e Simoncello cross-regional Park. This is quite a long walk, and we therefore suggest taking a short break in the spectacular village of Gattara.
The route is diversified. First, a walk down Mount Fumaiolo, with an impressive detour to the old hermitage of St. Alberico. After two short asphalted roads, it is back onto the ridge on a dirt road.
As you get closer to Mount Loggio, the path becomes less distinguishable from the other trails that cross vast clearings surrounded by oaks and maples.
The area is quiet and meditative, but the landscape is very bustling, so be sure not to lose sight of the main trail, especially towards the top of Mount Faggiola where it abruptly heads north.
Following the map and the marked trail, take the old trail to Casteldelci and then head down towards the winding path that will take you to the lovely mountain village of Gattara.
If you are tired you can stop here, if not proceed to Marecchia Valley and walk back up the opposite side to the picturesque Bascio hill and the medieval tower above it which you have been approaching and admiring for a while.
The destination of the third and last day is the Eremo della Madonna del Faggio [Hermitage of the Virgin of the Beech Tree], where you will find yourself in a very impressive environment.
The first part is easy, with a dirt road that leads to Miratoio; the two rocks, called Sassi di Simone and Simoncello, preceded by a large stretch of clay soil with occasional pastures, make the beauty of the environment and landscape a sight to behold.
The old forest starts at the bottom of the outcrop, first with oaks, mainly Turkey oaks, then beech trees where the clay is replaced by limestone debris from the cliffs.
If you have some time left (and you feel like it), it is worth making a beautiful detour to the ring road around the rock of Simone, which will take you to the first Benedictine abbey, and then to the “Città del Sole” [City of Sun], designed by the Medici family. This “City” started being built in the second half of the sixteenth century but was never finished. The Renaissance utopian dream of Cosimo de’ Medici’ is in fact represented by the ruins remaining amongst the grass and ashes.
Once you return to the main mule track, go to the Passo Cantoniera, where you can rest if needed, go straight to the town of Carpegna, or go right up to Mount Carpegna.
Either way, the journey ends at the top of Mount Carpegna, where you’ll find the Eremo della Madonna del Faggio, an ideal historical, natural and spiritual destination.