- Departure: Castelnovo ne' Monti
Zona del Parco: From Bismantova to Garfagnana
Following the road SS 63, enter the Municipality of Castelnovo ne' Monti at Felina country hamlet, situated at the foot of a rise where the round keep called "Salame" stands. At the foot of the rise there is Santa Maria Assunta Church, whose presence is documented since the 9th century.
Going ahead, you get in Castelnovo ne' Monti, the small capital of Appennino Reggiano which is today a tourist resort with sports facilities that has preserved a well-kept historical center. Upstream the town, there are the ruins of the donjon and the walls of the Castle.
From via Micheli, viale Bismantova branches off, and then SP 26 climbing to Pietra di Bismantova and the Hermitage at the foot of the rocky walls. At the foot of the eastern slope, there is the archaeological site of Campo Pianelli, where the rests of a necropolis and a settlement of the Iron Age have been found. Pietra di Bismantova was already known in ancient times, as it is demonstrated by the archaeological finds discovered at its summit. Today, it is a famous practice wall and a famous tourist destination.
Passing through the towns of Casale and Campolungo, you will go back to Castelnovo ne' Monti and go ahead along SS 63. The first country hamlet of the Municipality of Busana is Cervarezza Terme, a little downstream the road. It is a well-equipped summer tourist resort: the main features include the spa structure and Cerwood Adventure Park. In the historical town center you will also find the Cork Museum.
Following the SS road, you will get in Busana and then in Nismozza, a Vallisneri village preserving beautiful stone houses dating back to the 16th century and the ancient San Venanzio Church. Beyond Acquabona country hamlet, you will get in Collagna, another ancient village which became Vallisneri's property, in a precious landscape context between Mt. Ventasso and Alpe di Succiso, facing Valle del Secchia.
The road leads to the town of Cerreto Alpi, at over 900m of altitude, whose houses are characterized by several stone portals. Along the banks of the river Secchia there is Cerreto Alpi Mill, that has been renovated.
The SS road becomes steep as it draws closer to Cerreto Pass which, together Mt. La Nuda and the complex of Cerretani Lakes, is a Site of Community Importance. From the pass, SP 58 branches off and leads to Cerreto Laghi, while at about 1 km downstream Cerreto Pass, a dirt road leads to Ospedalaccio Pass, where a trail leading to Secchia springs leaves.
Following the SS road, you go down to Valle del Rosaro: at about 4 km from Cerreto Pass you will find the road leading to the town of Sassalbo. The place name derives from the presence of white gypsum outcrops in the surroundings. The town, with the stone houses and the characteristic sandstone portals, has been recently chosen to house the offices of Appennino Tosco-Emiliano National Park. From Sassalbo, go ahead along the SS road and on the right you will find the road leading to Frignoli Botanic Gardens.
Cross Romito Pass and admire the panorama over Alpi Apuane and Valle del Mommio, reaching San Paolo Church in Vendaso, a country hamlet of the Municipality of Fivizzano.
Going ahead towards Fivizzano, you will find the town of Verrucola, whose houses lean against the homonymous Castle (link to Verrucola Castle), a beautiful example of late medieval fortress.
Fivizzano lies on the valley bottom, with its characteristic Renaissance planning. You can start your visit from Vittorio Emanuele square and Fontana Medicea, and continue with SS Jacopo and Antonio Church, and with the Print Museum at Palazzo Fantoni.
In the surroundings of Fivizzano, along the road leading to Pognana, you reach Arlia Mill along the stream Rosaro.