On horseback on the Mandrioli loop

A charming route of historical and naturalistic appeal

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For an experience in the saddle under the banner of slow tourism, Bagno di Romagna offers an interesting, well-marked itinerary about 18 kilometres long, which is quite demanding but winds almost entirely in the shade, tackling a difference in altitude of about 1,000 metres. It can be covered in about 5 hours, excluding stops, preferably in the spring and autumn seasons. The route can also be followed on foot, in about 7 hours.

The route offers numerous opportunities to experience the history of the area and admire its evocative landscapes. You will experience the thrill of passing through the small, enchanted hamlet of Gualchiere and then reach the Nasseto plateau and its breathtaking views, where there is also a bivouac. Continuing along a stretch of the fascinating Romea route of the pilgrims in the Middle Ages, you will catch a glimpse of the marl and sandstone stratifications of the Mandrioli, which tell the ancient geological history of this precious part of the Apennines.

This approximately 18-kilometre route, which passes through ancient villages and ruined stone houses, fields, woods and beech forests, can also be followed on foot, in about 7 hours, preferably in spring and autumn.

This itinerary is in addition to the other two routes in the territory of Bagno di Romagna equally suitable for horseback riding: On horseback in the valleys of Pietrapazza and Rio Salso and On horseback in the hills of San Piero in Bagno.

It is advisable, before setting out, to check the opening and closure of the SP 142 Passo dei Mandrioli road, depending on the progress of any works, by consulting the Facebook page and Instagram profile of the Municipality of Bagno di Romagna.

  • Length
    24 hours
  • Interests
  • Target
  • First stop – Le Gualchiere Bagno di Romagna

    We are south of Bagno di Romagna, a place rich in beneficial thermal waters and recognised as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. We start out from the paleo-industrial settlement of Gualchiere after about 500 metres from the crossroads in the direction of the Passo dei Mandrioli, along the SP137 road that leads to Verghereto, from the right-hand shoulder of a bridge (it is marked b/r CAI 177 and 181, Val di Bagno Trek, Cammino di San Vicinio). We then descend into the narrow valley and cross the hamlet of Gualchiere (510 metres above sea level).

    The road runs along the ditch, then climbs to the right beside a pylon in a small wood with stretches of cobblestones, and soon reaches the confluence of the streams that originate the Fosso delle Gualchiere: cross the Capanno stream over a stone bridge. Immediately afterwards, just above Maestà Balassini, as the 181 forks to the left, we follow CAI path 177, which, tracing the route of medieval pilgrims, climbs the steep counter-crater between the Capanno (right) and Chiuso (left) valleys with fast zig-zags.
    We ascend through sparse vegetation on natural steps, layers of marl and sandstone.

  • Second stop – Fosso del Capanno Wilderness Area Bagno di Romagna

    Here the landscape opens up: we walk on the edge of the Fosso del Capanno Wilderness Area, enclosed between the slope we are climbing and that on which the Strada dei Mandrioli (SP 142) runs.

    Having circumvented the summit of Poggio Alto, the mule track levels out to a plateau (899 metres above sea level). 

    Next to the ruins of the Nasseto farmstead, from which an "open shelter" has been created and which has a drinking trough nearby for our horse to refresh itself, we enter a splendid avenue of maple trees that points the way. 

    Shortly after, we come to the junction with CAI 181, which descends to the left for the Chiuso, while our 177 follows the arid half slope of slippery galestro, then plunges into the splendid beech forest that covers the slopes of Zuccherodante Mountain.

  • Third stop - Serra Pass Bagno di Romagna

    On this third stage, after many hairpin bends we finally come out at Serra Pass (1150 metres above sea level), where a memorial stone reminds us that the medieval Roman route crossed the Alpe between Romagna and Tuscany right here.

    We follow the mule track down for 200 metres, crossing a clearing, overgrown with ferns in summer, to a junction of numerous signposts (1102 metres above sea level). We take the 00/GEA/GAVB path to the right, following a wide track that bypasses the Zuccherodante Mountain and runs along the watershed among tall trees.

  • Fourth stop - Mandrioli Pass Bagno di Romagna

    Ignoring the detours to the left, we reach the Mandrioli Pass (1173 metres above sea level), coming out on the former SS 71, now SP 142. A glance at the superb panorama that opens up towards Romagna and we proceed left along the provincial road on the Tuscan side (SR 71) for about 400 metres. After passing a small house, we cross the asphalt road at a sharp bend to take CAI 00 (1160 metres above sea level) on the right, which immediately climbs into a beech wood: it is about 500 metres of demanding ascent, at the end of which, in a clearing that descends towards the Casentino, we arrive at Poggio Lombardona (1265 metres above sea level). Now the 00 winds along the mighty ridge, on the eastern border of the National Park of the Casentino Forests, Mount Falterona and Campigna, running along the edge of a spectacular precipice overlooking the Strada dei Mandrioli and the entire Savio Valley.

    We go past Cima Termine (1277 metres above sea level) and about half a kilometre later we leave the 00, which turns sharply to the left, to take the CAI 201/ VDBT on the right, which in 700 metres descends to Prato dei Grilli and leads onto a forest track (1019 metres above sea level). We follow it to the left and in a short time (300 metres) we come to a barrier, where we take CAI 185 on the right that descends into the Becca Valley.

    With quick hairpin bends along the hillside, the mule track cuts diagonally across the slope. Down towards the ditch, we catch a glimpse of the ruins of the Serciole, Casanova and Campo del Rosso farms, and already the casona di Becca (772 metres above sea level), no longer standing firm, appears, in front of which we then pass.

    Now the mule track, paved in part, descends in narrow hairpin bends through dense vegetation. Then there is the encounter with two successive majesties: the last one is at the edge of a picnic area. In less than 1 kilometre, a forest track leads to SP 142 along the Fosso. We take it to the left until the junction with SP 137, where we again continue to the right, shortly reaching the place from which we started.

    This concludes this break in the magical Apennine nature of the Savio Trails. Certainly a little tired in physique, but intoxicated and full of charge in spirit, ready to enjoy a new pleasant experience in total symbiosis with nature, riding with your travelling companion.

Last update 25/04/2024

Information offices

I.A.T. Ufficio Informazioni e Centro Visita Parco Nazionale di Bagno di Romagna
Via Fiorentina, 38 - Bagno di Romagna (FC)
+ 39 0543 911046 info@bagnodiromagnaturismo.it info@ipercorsidelsavio.it Opening: all year round

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