Stage 09: From Càsola in Lunigiana to Monzone
Splendid stage, not shorter and less demanding than the others, which among olive groves and centuries-old chestnut groves leads to fascinating villages such as Argigliano, Ugliancaldo, Aiola and places of extraordinary naturalistic interest such as the Solco (furrow) and the caves of Equi Terme. The stage skirts the Western flanks of the Apuane and the homonymous park, right at the foot of the Pizzo d'Uccello massif. This also leads to the railway line connecting Aulla to Lucca, which can serve as a possible means to interrupt the journey, returning by train to the starting point (via Parma). But not before having enjoyed the benefits of the thermal waters of Equi and having visited its important natural sites.
- Between Argigliano and Ugliancaldo stretches impeded and tangled by wild vegetation
- No possibility of water supply between Argigliano and Ugliancaldo
Description of the stage
Leaving the town of Casola, continue to Pieve San Lorenzo following the route of the Trekking Lungiana (TL) and from there go up to Argigliano and then continue, first among splendid olive groves and then through wild chestnut groves, until gaining - not without some effort - the charming village of Ugliancaldo (water source), with a splendid view of the Apuan Alps and the underlying valley of the Lucido stream. The steep descent towards Equi is through a wood of suggestive, sometimes gigantic, centuries-old chestnut trees, along the ancient mule track that once connected Ugliancaldo with the villages of the Lucido stream valley. Once in Equi Terme (station, bar, restaurant) leave out the new town, of no great interest, and instead devote time to visiting the ancient village and especially the famous Caves (both the geological museum and the Tecchia, an archaeological and paleontological site internationally renowned). Later, follow the path to the isolated hamlet of Aiola (rich in elegant architecture carved in the limestone, a feature of this area) and then go back down to the Lucido river, at the foot of the ancient village of Monzone Alto right near a delightful bridge eighteenth-century humpback (Ponte di Santa Lucia). In short, through secondary streets, you will reach Monzone (station, bar, pharmacy, post office, shops).
- Arriving near the point where the path rejoins the road coming from Equi Terme, we recommend a detour (CAI path 192) to visit the suggestive entrance to the Solco (furrow) di Equi, a narrow and deep natural canyon, formed by the erosion of the Catenelle stream. The canyon is nesting place of the golden eagle and home to other notable finds of naturalistic interest and together with the karst complex of the Caves is part of the Geosites of the Regional Park of the Apuan Alps, recently recognized as a Geopark under the auspices of UNESCO.
- Back on the main itinerary and continuing towards Equi, before reaching the old spa (of dubious aesthetic value) you will meet various places suitable for a refreshing bath in the fresh waters of the stream or in the thermal ones that spring naturally into the stream bed. One of these places is Catenelle, where traditionally every spring the inhabitants set up pools, called “sketches”, so that the fresh waters of the Catenelle stream flow on the right bank and the hot ones of the thermal waters flow on the left bank.
- A few steps from the Ponte di Santa Lucia, following the road to Vinca in the direction of Monzone Alto, the Acquanera club offers the traveler a shady area equipped to cool off and taste traditional local specialties. Camping availability on request.
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