The Sentiero dei Ducati on Foot
The new hiking path of the Sentiero dei Ducati, conceived and managed by the Reggio Emilia’s Italian Alpine Club (CAI) in cooperation with the local branches of Fivizzano and Sarzana, mostly retraces the original route of 1993, except for few segments – changes due to either current viability conditions or to improvements to its usability. Among these, the new stage 1 that directly connects the city of Reggio Emilia (very well served by public transports) to the matildic village of Quattro Castella.
The whole route has been marked by CAI volunteers who have also affixed special symbols (turreted crown with the initials “SD” or simple initials “SD”) in addition to the classic red and white landmarks on stones and trees. Since in Lunigiana the Sentiero dei Ducati largely follows the stages of the historic Trekking of the Lunigiana, the specific symbolism of this path (the acronym “TL”) can also be found for long stretches. In addition, numerous poles have been installed with arrows showing the intermediate destinations and the estimated duration of the walk. The GPX tracks for satellite navigators can also be downloaded from this site (see Download page).
However, the topographic maps (available on the market, see section “Cartography” on the Information page of this site) should never be missing in your backpack, since for every serious hiker they are essential travel companions, together with compass and altimeter. In fact, even considering the significant length of the path and the natural areas crossed, there is no shortage of stretches that require good orientation skills and ability for autonomous progression in a mountain environment. Many of the stretches cross pleasant and solitary locations, away from roads and villages, where mobile phone coverage isn’t available, let alone internet connection to access data service.
The Sentiero of the Ducati is a hiking path, not a tourist route! Therefore, it should be approached by adequately trained and equipped hikers while it is not recommended for people without appropriate skills and experience of progressing independently in a mountain environment. These visitors can, nevertheless, enjoy the path either with professional guides’ support or take advantage of the many initiatives promoted every year by the Italian Alpine Club.
The Stages division
The 12 stages of the trekking route are divided into 7 stages in the Emilian territory (from Quattro Castella in the Province of Reggio Emilia to Rigoso in the Province of Parma) and 5 stages in the Tuscan and Ligurian territory (from Rigoso to Sarzana, in the province of La Spezia). The current stages division has been defined taking into account a mix of factors such as the length and vertical drop of each stage, the availability of accommodation and refreshment points (fairly rare in the central part of the route) and the possibility of having time available to visit the many places of interest along the way.
However, there are many solutions both to customize your trek, varying its duration and number of stages, and to shorten it once you arrive in one of the various locations that allow you to return to the place of departure by public transport (see the sections on the “Information” page dedicated)
In any case, every hiker must plan the trek in advance based on their own walking style, level of training and personal interests. For this reason, this site has been equipped with a powerful digital cartography tool which also contains all the information and data useful for planning your excursion in detail, always carefully checking the availability of accommodation in advance.