Walking among ghost hamlets in the Modena Apennines

3 hikes to experience lost mountain civilization

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The Modena Apennines is dotted with dozens of abandoned villages surrounded by Nature, accessible thanks to the extensive trails network managed almost entirely by the Modena CAI.

All that remains today of that lost mountain world are the ghostly ruins, still capable, however, of telling stories and traditions of the time that was.

The following is a 3-day trip to rediscover ancient settlements that have been asleep for decades, places where the daily routines of the old villagers seem to come back to life in the lush vegetation that, slowly but surely, has now taken over the ruined houses.

In order to comfortably reach the starting points of the hikes, we suggest as your "base camp" one of the many accommodations located between Pievepelago, Montecreto and Sestola.

The three planned stages are developed along routes of 7-8 km in length, classified with difficulty level "E-Excursionist," which have elevation differences of 350-450 meters: hiking shoes and technical and practical clothing are required.

Please note: It is strictly forbidden to enter the interior of unsafe buildings.

  • Length
    72 hours
  • Interests
    Nature & Outdoor
  • Target
  • First stop - Le Caselle Fanano

    Le Caselle was a thriving hamlet of farmers and shepherds, located on the road to Ospitale along the Via Romea Nonantolana, a strategic route used by thousands of pilgrims, wayfarers and traders on their way to Rome.

    Abandoned in 1953 following a landslide that forced the resident families to hastily evacuate, the settlement came back to life in the late 1960s thanks to the arrival of a hippie community, only to die out for good in the 1980s.

    Starting from the center of Fanano, we take CAI trail 407 to reach the small town of "Due Ponti". We follow the signs for Serrazzone/Trignano and then, after crossing the bridge over the Ospitale stream, we take the path on the right that, in less than an hour, leads to Le Caselle, skirting some picturesque abandoned "metati" (buildings used for drying chestnuts).

    Once there, let us be enveloped in the silence and fairy-tale atmosphere created by the spectacular fusion of wilderness and rubble.

    Back in Fanano via the outward route, let us leave at least one afternoon to explore the historical and cultural heritage of this delightful village.

  • Second stop - La Marina Montecreto

    On the second day we drive to Montecreto, more precisely in Magrignana, a hamlet with a history dating back thousands of years in which remarkable examples of rural mountain architecture have been preserved.

    Because of its location close to the mountain, Magrignana is more commonly known as the village that does not see the sun for as many as 3 months of the year, from November to the end of January.

    Passing the 17th-century Church of San Geminiano, we find the start of CAI path 467 in the direction of La Marina, a magical pastoral settlement at 1200 meters, completely surrounded by dense forests: only the remains of two large buildings survive, separated by a narrow passageway with a fountain that opens onto an adjacent courtyard area.

    Going back to Magrignana by the same route, we suggest you visit Montecreto, enchantingly perched around the Church of St. John the Baptist, built on the ruins of an imposing medieval castle. If, on the other hand, you are looking for an oasis of peace and serenity, you cannot miss the wonderful Park of Ancient Chestnut Trees, one of the most fascinating green spaces in all of Frignano.

  • Third stop - Casa Paretto in Pievepelago Pievepelago

    The last destination on our journey through time is the deserted village of Casa Paretto, in the territory of Pievepelago: formerly permanently inhabited by some 20 families of farmers, loggers and coalmen, during World War II it became a safe haven for many evacuees.

    Once the conflict ended, however, gradual depopulation began, culminating in the 1960s, as employment opportunities declined and Casa Paretto was totally isolated.

    Today, among the many buildings in complete decay, the Oratory of Madonna della Neve stands out, restored by its owners and reopened for worship in 2019 with the support of a few volunteers.

    To mark the occasion, Holy Mass is celebrated on August 5 every year, allowing the village to re-emerge from oblivion for a few hours.

    We reach Casa Paretto by taking an interesting loop tour: from the sports field of Le Tagliole, location on the municipal road leading to the Lago Santo, we take the trail called “Chiese e Briganti” (white/celestial markings), belonging to the hiking network that links all the hamlets of the municipality of Pievepelago.

    After a much-needed stop to admire the ruins of Casa Paretto, we continue uphill amidst old dry stone walls, following signs for Roncoglione, an amazing vantage point on Mt. Cimone.

    At this point, we continue to the junction with CAI trail n°535 (red/white markings) which, in about 3km, takes us back to the Le Tagliole parking lot.

Last update 16/05/2024

Information offices

UIT Fanano
Piazza Guglielmo Marconi, 1 - Fanano (MO)
+ 39 0536 68696 info@fanano.eu
Pro Loco Pievepelago
Piazza Vittorio Veneto, 17 - Pievepelago (MO)
+ 39 0536 71304 info@comune.pievepelago.it

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