- Departure: Castelnovo ne' Monti
Zona del Parco: From Garfagnana to the Lands of Matilda from Canossa
From Valle del Secchia to Valle del Dolo, from forage pastures to the landscape dominated by forests where man has left a very few signs: small medieval towns and, until fifty years ago, an economy based on cattle breeding and forest exploitation.
From Castelnovo ne' Monti take SS 63 from Cerreto Pass to Reggio Emilia, then take SP 9 to Villa Minozzo going down towards Valle del Secchia.
At the confluence with rio Spirola, there is Gatta country hamlet: in loc. San Bartolomeo, during the roadworks carried out in the 1970s, a Roman necropolis dating back to the 1st-2nd century AD was found. Moreover, in this area, the waters of the river Secchia have been exploited since the 18th century by various factories and mills, among which San Bartolomeo Mill, which is still working.
From Gatta bridge take a road running along the right bank of the river Secchia to Fonti di Poiano, the most important karstic resurgence of Emilia Romagna. The road continues up to Pianello bridge with various picnic areas where you will find some panels illustrating the local geological features, in particular the Triassic Gypsum formations.
From the bridge in Gatta, going ahead along SP 9, you will get to Villa Minozzo, surrounded by meadows, pastures, and forage areas used for the cattle breeding activities characterizing the area, where Parmigiano Reggiano is produced. Moreover, the Multifunctional Cultural Center "Arrigo Benedetti" houses Museo del Maggio, dedicated to the well-known popular tradition.
The SP road continues in the wild Val d'Asta, crosses the stream Secchiello and gets in the historical town of Governara, and then in the small country hamlets of Case Bigatti and Riparotonda, beyond which, taking the road SP 99 in Case Balocchi, you get in Febbio, a summer and winter resort at the foot of Mt. Cusna.
Going back to the junction Case Balocchi, go ahead along SP 9, touching the town of Cervarolo, historical town known above all for one of the most bloody events of the partisan war during the Resistance movement.
Crossing the steep Valle del Dolo, you will sight the ruins of Torre dell'Amorotto on the ridge of Mt. Beccara: from a small picnic area, a trail gives the opportunity to climb to the tower.
Once you get in Civago, a famous ski resort, you can visit the 19th century mill while upstream, in loc. Case Cattalini, you can take the forest road to Abetina Reale. The road, an asphalt road at the beginning becoming later a dirt road, is open to cars for about 10 km, to the bridge on rio Lama: it is an ideal road for horses or mountain bikes. You will cross a beech forest first, and then you will enter Abetina, an area which was intensely exploited in the past and which is today a Site of Community Importance, on the right bank of the basin Dolo. Beyond the barrier on the bridge on rio Lama, the forest road leads to Segheria Mountain Hut and Forbici Pass towards the south, and to Battisti Mountain Hut and Lama Lite Pass towards the north.