It’s time to leave the region of Emilia-Romagna and descend into Tuscany and, specifically, Garfagnana, a land rich in history and an integral part of the territories of Matilda di Canossa. You’ll arrive in Barga and its Duomo, passing through Castiglione and Castelnuovo di Garfagnana.
A long descent after the climb up the Apennines brings you to the heart of Garfagnana. Just downstream from San Pellegrino on the provincial road, take the dirt road on the right that will take you to the village of Valbona and then onto the small paved road to the centre of Castiglione di Garfagnana.
Just below the centre of the village, near a bus stop, “cut” along the minor roads to the sports field and from there continue in the direction of Pieve Fosciana. Shortly after the village of Malcione, you’ll have to wade across a stream. The ford is not difficult under normal conditions (not heavy weather). Cross Pieve Fosciana entirely from west to east, taking Via Per Silico to the cemetery area.
Here on the right, you’ll take a carriageable road that leads directly to the centre of Castelnuovo Garfagnana.
Cross the centre of Castelnuovo and pass over the pedestrian bridge near the Madonna del Ponte Church and then turn right onto the paved road that runs alongside Via Fabrizi. After about 600 m, on the left, go up Via Montealtissimo until you reach the end of the road at Palazzetto. Here, on the right-hand side of the buildings, a path starts, initially narrow and then widening, which shortly afterwards leads to an opening in the woods with a beautiful view over the valley. At this point the route of the Via Matildica, now a dirt road, winds to the left to join the paved road near Monterotondo and then with a series of uphill and downhill stretches up to the crossroads with the provincial road that goes up to the Montespertoli pass.
[Near the turn to the left at the panoramic opening of the forest, you can also continue straight ahead. This route of the Via del Volto Santo (the Way of the Holy Face) climbs higher up but still arrives at the locality of Cascio (where the two routes meet) without having to deal with stretches of paved roads and vehicular traffic]
Now, still on a paved road, you’ll descend to the crossroads with the charming village of Cascio, where, near the small square, the path continues (initially steep and narrow, descending towards Gallicano). There are stretches of dirt and paved road until you cross the valley road on the outskirts of Gallicano.
From the centre of Gallicano, you’ll have to cross the Serchio river via the long bridge and turn right into an artisan area. Following the signs, you’ll arrive at a road that appears to end in the woods but instead leads to the short crossing (be careful) over the provincial road to begin the climb to the locality of San Bernardino and from there, along small country roads to the destination of Barga.
A long leg, mostly downhill, but with a couple of uphill and downhill stretches (particularly after Castelnuovo Garfagnana) not to be underestimated.
Rest areas (water and food): along the first 10 km of the leg up to Castiglione di Garfagnana, you will not find many rest areas. From here on, the area is largely urbanised and has plenty of services. At the Montespertoli pass, you’ll find a water fountain near the Bonini trattoria.
Access to public transport: there are public transport stops at Castiglione, Pieve Fosciana and Castelnuovo Garfagnana, Gallicano.
Pharmacies: can be found in Castiglione, Pieve Fosciana and Castelnuovo Garfagnana.
In Barga there are various structures, including hotels, B&Bs and farmhouses.
You can also check availability and book directly on the dedicated page of the Booking website.
If you want to break up the leg in Castelnuovo di Garfagnana there are various hospitality structures. In the center (via Roma 5) there is also the “Ramingo” hostel ( 333.6897999)
Find details on hospitality on this page.
- Duomo of Barga
- Casa Pascoli
Along the way:
- Castiglione: the walls and the medieval castle
- Church of San Michele in Castiglione
- Rocca Ariostesca in Castelnuovo
- Duomo of Saints Peter and Paul in Castelnuovo
- Mont’Alfonso fortress in Castelnuovo
- Walls of the ancient village in Castelnuovo
- The village of Cascio