The "Sentiero dei Ducati (Path through Dukedoms) was originally the border between the dukedoms that separated neighbouring villages and valleys until 1848 and were continually crossed by travellers, pilgrims and smugglers.It runs almost parallel to the river Enza and starts out at Quattro Castella, before passing close to some of the more important locations, historically speaking, such as Canossa Castle and the Church at Pianzo; it reaches the top of Mount Barazzone and Mount Staffola, skirts past the splendid Tassaro river valley and visits the hamlets of Legoreccio, Pineto and Spigone. After Vetto, the path enters into Ramiseto territory and presses on as far as the Lagastrello Pass, within the confines of the new Tuscan-Emilian Apennine National Park.
Details of tour:
2nd STAGE: FROM GRASSANO TO BARAZZONE Approximate time: 4.20 hours
Path climbs: 665 metres
Path descends: 625 metres
Distance covered: 11.9 km Farm restaurant and swimming pool at Riverzana. Restaurants at Canossa and Cerèdolo. Farm offering accommodation at Leguigno Mill (turn off path 660). Take the tarmac road and cross the hamlet of Pietre following the old road; the path makes a short descent to the road on the left leading to Grassano Basso 418 m (0.10). Continue down on the dirt track to the abandoned hamlet of Molino di Fontanile and the Rio Ferrari valley floor, 312 m crossing with the Rossena path (path 640). The track rises rapidly to the hamlet of Riverzana 406 m, and turns left onto a road passing through the woods, leading to the crossing with the main road between San Polo and Canossa, and joins up with the MP. Up on the right stands Canossa Castle 508 m (1.10; 1.20). From the entrance to the Canossa Castle, the path goes down to the yard in front of the restaurant nearby, and continues on down behind it along the edge of the spectacular amphitheatre of ravines (this section is in common with the MP). After reaching the road, it continues to the right onto the track rising up through the pines. After reaching the main road again, continue up on the path running alongside the fence of Villa Marconi. The path enters the woods on the northern slope of Mount Tesa 690 m, with two hairpin bends followed by a stretch that is less strenuous. After leaving the flat field on the top of the hill to the east, the track runs along the left side of the hill past woods and meadows, and starts its descent south east. After a few bends and some vast views over the local hills, the path drops down at a junction a short distance from Cavandola, where it meets up with the MP: turn right along the path running half way up the hill to the entrance of the hamlet of Cerèdolo dei Coppi (1.20; 2.40).
It then continues along the main road to Casina for a short stretch, before turning right (this part of the path is in common with path 650) towardsVercallo 622 m: It crosses it and continues along the dirt track as far as the Saddle of Mount Barazzone (0.30, 3.10), paths meet: the 650 is to the left and the 660 is straight on, to Tassobbio).
Turn right and walk up to the top of Mount Barazzone 735 m. The descent follows the road for the water tower above the hamlet of Barazzone, to a crossing at Costa Melina 650 m: The Dukedom Path continues right but those who want to stop here can walk down to the hamlet of Barazzone on the left, and then take path 660 (which comes directly from the Saddle of Mount Barazzone) down to the Tassobbio valley floor at Cortogno Mill and nearby Leguigno Mill 450 m ("Mulino in Pietra Farm Stays" offering accommodation: 1.10, 4.20).