Stage 08: From Sassalbo to Càsola di Lunigiana
Second stage in Tuscany, which finally offers a wide and spectacular view, especially from the Prati di Massicciano, of the ever-closer chain of the Apuan Alps. The view spans from Mount Roccandagia to Mount Borla and to the mighty North faces of Pizzo d'Uccello and of M. Sagro. After passing the village of Regnano and the pleasant Pieve di Offiano, you will reach the village of Casola Lunigiana with its charming historic centre, where you will be able to visit the small, but interesting, Museum of the Territory of high Aulella valley.
- Challenging stage in terms of length and height differences, without intermediate refreshment points or shops (instead, good availability of water).
- Some orientation difficulties due to lack of sign posting in the clearings North of the Giogo di Vendaso.
Description of the stage
Leaving the village of Sassalbo, follow the Provincial Road for about 1 km until you reach SS63 (beware of possible fast traffic) which you will follow downhill for a very short stretch, crossing two high bridges (spectacular view over Sassalbo, on its chalk rocks and on the Camporaghena meadows above) up to the start of the path which is near a group of abandoned houses, on the left. First climb through dense woods and then through two large clearings (be careful to keep the track) until you reach the top of the Giogo di Vendaso from which you will take a splendid path in the woods. The path with its pleasant ups and downs moves Eastwards, passing the junction for the village of Vendaso and then descends more decisively towards the locality of Prati di Massicciano, a large clearing with a splendid view of the Apuan Alps and the Southern walls of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines. From the Prati di Massicciano (water source) a long and constant descent begins, first on a mule track, then a cart track and finally on a dirt road that slowly leads to the locality Restì. From here follow the Lunigiana Trekking (difficulty E with some short stretches EE -Expert Hikers) entering - via a gate on the left, to be closed after the passage - in the pastures of a large farm, thus crossing the locality of Lago di Restì and fording the Mommio stream (excellent place for a refreshing swim. Beware of heavy rains and thaw). Get back on the path (sometimes steep) towards South/South-East towards Monte Peci up to Passo Cadin. From the Pass begins a new, long descent that first leads to Regnano (Castello and Villa; water source). From Regnano Villa a path (which crosses a deep gorge on a narrow bridge) leads to the renowned ancient Pieve di Offiano (water source) from which, along a narrow asphalted road (with very low traffic intensity), you will first reach the village of Castiglioncello and then Vigneta. A last stretch of path crosses the hill that separates Vigneta from the first houses of the charming village of Càsola in Lunigiana (pharmacy, bars, shops).
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