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Home Apennines and Nature Trekking on the "Alta Via" trail of the Parks - the GEA trail in Emilia-Romagna

Trekking on the "Alta Via" trail of the Parks - the GEA trail in Emilia-Romagna

Unique landscapes and amazing views will welcome travelers, hikers and nature enthusiasts along the biggest hiking trail in the Emilia Romagna Apennines.

 


This itinerary is home to breathtaking places capable of making visitors who walk it feel very adventuresome while looking out over the vast landscapes, the wild nature and the historic remains of ancient boarders.  This trail is suitable for expert and curious hikers, but also to anyone who wants to experience some exhilaration.


This itinerary, walked in its entirety by the Bologna writer Enrico Brizzi, can be seen in the documentary film “Alta Via dei Parchi. Viaggio a piedi in Emilia-Romagna”, directed by the writer himself and Serena Tommasini Degna, made with evocative images, sounds and words, where history interlaces with daily life, where ancient roads become unexpected paths, and where peaks, prairies, lakes and forests blend together into one.

 

 

- What is the Alta Via of the Parks


The Alta Via is a footpath through the Apennines in Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany and the Marche regions.  There are almost 500 kilometers of uphills and downhills that include all the best that this area of the Apennines has to offer: glacial rings, lakes set in the splendor of high altitude prairies, thick forests and clear rivers, volcanic rocks and chalk cliffs.

There are eight parks crossed through by the Alta Via: two national parks: Appennino Tosco-Emiliano e Foreste Casentinesi, Monte Falterona e Campigna; five regional parks: Alto Appennino Modenese, Valli del Cedra e del Parma, Corno alle Scale, Laghi di Suviana e Brasimone, Vena del Gesso Romagnola and one interregional park: Sasso Simone e Simoncello.

 

- Anyone can try it out, at least for a single section

 

The complete itinerary of 500 km is in fact divided into 27 sections. The Alta Via of the Monti Liguri at Passo della Cisa connects with the Via Francigena in Berceto and with the Via Romea Peregrinorum at Passo di Serra. This route not only runs through Emilia-Romagna but also touches on parts of Tuscany and the Marche: in Emilia-Romagna, the route covers almost the entire 00 path and the GEA (Grande Escursione Appenninica) which run along the peaks between  Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany. In particular, this trail coincides with the GEA for almost the entire way in Emilia from the Passo della Cisa at Monte Cavallo, with a little detour on the peak where it then picks it up again in the Casentinesi Forests. For every leg of the itinerary, there are various accommodation structures indicated.

 

The  path is clearly marked for hikers thanks to a series of specific signs (download the PDF) and is completed by a group of rest stops for visitors.  The ecotourism linked to the nature and culture within the parks is one of the extremely attractive and innovative aspects of a vacation in this area which can be combined with a visit to the regional cities of art.

 

The most expert hikers will find trail options that range from two to seven days and cover several sections of this itinerary.  Their common denominator is that most of the access points can be reached using public transportation.


- Means of communication: GPS trails, illustrated guides, brochures and maps


On the website there are also GPS trails available of the 27 sections that make up the entire route.  Each one of these has a file that can be used with a GPS hiking device to follow the trails safely and precisely.  The files can be downloaded individually in GPX format.

 

Another tool for hikers is the Maps4 You (available for Android and Apple), a free application that offers a list of specific themed maps, and among these also the Alta Via dei Parchi and the Bike Paths of the Parks, as well as all the trails of Emilia-Romagna, the nature reserves and sites of Natura 2000, the sports centers, the bakeries that make quality controlled bread, the piadina kiosks and shops, as well as the main technical maps and information for Emilia-Romagna.

 

There is also a brochure downloadable online and handed out free of charge at the visitor centers of the Parks, at the accommodation structures noted as stopping points, and at the main information offices of the region, which offers an introduction to the trail by describing its main characteristics, environments, and the Parks it goes through, as well as the 27 sections it is divided into.

 

To get to know the Via Alta trail better and the parks it goes through and for knowledgeable hiking, on sale online at the Archivio cartografico regionale are numerous publications, which can also be found at the visitor centers in the parks, the rest stops, and most bookstores and newsstands.  The publications include the colorful, 192 page guide “Alta Via dei parchi” which describes the route through the authors', Mario Vianelli and Sandro Bassi, experience with high quality photos and historic and environmental side notes, practical information with the characteristics of the itinerary and how to get there using public transportation, and information about accommodations (lodges, hostels, hotels, "agriturismi", etc.) selected as stopping points.  And of course there are also hiking maps, which have been made for the entire itinerary and the area of the parks involved: 8 maps of trails in 1:50,000 scale with a new updated map base.  Meridiani Montagne has published a monograph dedicated to the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines and in particular to the Alta Via.  As for souvenirs, there is the Moleskin travel journal for hikers, useful for jotting down thoughts, with quotes about hiking and space for collecting the stamps with the symbol of the trail given out when you reach one of the rest stops.

 

-When to hike the Alta Via of the Parks


For expert hikers with the right equipment during the winter period and up to early spring, including the beginning of May, the sections from the Passo della Cisa to Monte Cavallo and then from Monte Falterona and Monte Fumaiolo to Carpegna can be hiked if you are aware that there may be snow, in particular on the peaks above 1400 meters of altitude. In fact, a few points can present difficult alpine sections and can be done only with the right equipment (hard hiking boots and crampons).

The best time of year for hiking the Tuscan-Emilian peaks is from the end of May/beginning of June depending on when the snow melts.

To be informed on the weather situation, you can consult the regional ARPA, keeping in mind that in the early spring period, an unexpected snow flurry at certain altitudes is always possible.

The Emilian section can be done preferably in summer starting from mid-June, when the flowers are still splendid at high altitudes, and in autumn, which offers splendid days with blueberry fields that turn red.

If a hiker would like to do the entire Alta Via dei Parchi from Berceto to Carpegna in the direction indicated, it must be kept in mind that the legs from Le Selve to Marradi (15, 16 and 17) and then from Monte Fumaiolo to Carpegna (26 and 27) in the summer can be very difficult because of the heat. It is better then to avoid these legs in the months of July and August and to chose to do them in spring.

 

- Where to stay and the connections along the Alta Via of the Parks


On the website Ambiente ER it is possible to see the list, which can be filtered by type of structure and province (both in Emilia-Romagna and in Tuscany and the Marche), of the accommodation structures present for every part of the Alta Via. For all of the structures, it is important to check if they are open especially during the week, because the majority of them are open on weekends and from June to September, while in other periods they open only with a booking.

For those who would like to camp out in a tent, you can find all the information on camping here.

Lastly, for every leg, there are various connections in order to come and go from areas with public transportation or by taxi.

 

Download the App Maps4You

 

 

Useful Links

 

Alta Via dei Parchi - Ambiente ER

Appennino e Verde

The documentary film “Alta Via dei Parchi, viaggio a piedi in Emilia-Romagna”

Teaser of the documentary film and Trailer

1° pillola - L'incontro di Enrico Brizzi con Francesco Guccini

2° pillola -  Vento e sorprese... passeggiando la natura ti viene incontro

3° pillola - il lupo, l'animale più amato e chiaccherato dell'appennino

4° pillola - Ricordi di passate escursioni e immancabili avventure in montagna

5° pillola - "La più bell'arte che sia è la gagliofferia.."

 

Last modified Apr 11, 2017

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