The highest and most demanding leg of the Via Matildica del Volto Santo, which touches the ridge of the Apennines before arriving at San Pellegrino in Alpe, the divide between Emilia and Tuscany. In case of difficult weather conditions or in cold seasons, you can take the alternative route set out in leg 8b.
From Gazzano, head towards Civago following trail no. 690, which also passes the ruins of the ancient Amorotto tower (here you can go around the tower to the left or to the right – if you choose to go right you will have to pass through a short but dark tunnel). When you reach Case Civago, take trail no. 605, which will take you to the Segheria lodge at an altitude of 1,400 m. From here, take path no. 681 until you reach the Passo delle Forbici and from here continue along the forest road (00) until you reach the highest point of the entire Via Matildica del Volto Santo: the almost 1,700 m of the Giovarello pass, from where you can gaze at the spell-binding panoramas of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennine National Park..
From Giovarello, take trail no. 601 downhill to Piana della Maccherie and take the Alta Via dei Parchi trail (no. 591) to reach the San Geminiano meadows and then take the Matilda path to Passo delle Radici.
From the Passo delle Radici, the trail descends to the right between woodland and meadowland, passing by the Pradaccio lodge. From here you’ll be able to see San Pellegrino in Alpe, about 1 km away.
IMPORTANT NOTE: this section of the trail involves mountain and ridge terrain with altitudes above 1500 m. It should only be tackled when the weather permits and preferably from late spring to early autumn. At other times of the year, there will possibly be snow and frozen ground. It must be carried out in non-adverse weather conditions and preferably from late spring to early autumn. In other periods it is possible to find snow and frozen ground. During periods when the trail is not safe to access, the route can be followedin in leg 8B.
Rest areas (water and food): from Civago to Passo delle Radici, you’ll face high mountain terrain where the only services are offered by mountain huts and bivouacs. Specifically, the Segheria lodge, and on summer weekends, the San Leonardo lodge. It is always a good idea to check directly with the lodges to find out when they are open. As for water supplies, there are several points along the route or nearby where it can be sourced.
Access by public transport: Civago is connected to Castelnovo ne’ Monti by bus with a couple of daily services. From here on, the first public transport stop you will find is at Passo delle Radici with the line to Castelnuovo Garfagnana and then Lucca. On the Modena side, the first useful stop is at Piandelagotti.
Pharmacies: there are no pharmacies on this leg or in the immediate vicinity. Please bear this in mind when tackling the route.
In San Pellegrino in Alpe it is possible to find some structures which, in addition to catering, also offer hospitality:
- Albergo – Ristorante L’Alpino: 0583.649068
- Albergo – ristorante L’Appennino: 0583.649069
- Rifugio Il Pradaccio: 339.8719534
- Rifugio Burigone :328.9356219 o 0583.1805849 firstname.lastname@example.org
Other solutions can be found by continuing the stage from San Pellegrino towards Castiglione Garfagnana or deviating from the route for short stretches.
The holiday homeCasa Della Palma (up to 10 people) just downstream from San Pellegrino
In San Pellegrino:
- The ethnographic museum
Along the way:
- The oratory and fountain of San Gimignano