Periods of Activity:
To venture along the "Sentiero Matilde" the best seasons are undoubtedly spring, late summer and autumn, trying to avoid rainy periods, midsummer for the lower altitude areas and winter for the Higher Altitude Apennines.
On foot, on horseback and on mountain bike.
Itinerary thought of and promoted by the Province of Reggio Emilia
Ciano d'Enza is 26 km from Reggio Emilia.
You get there taking the SS 513
It's 28 from Parma.
You get there taking the SS 513
The itinerary is suitable to single excursionists of small groups as well as to families or organized excursionists who, perhaps, prefer to rely on an environmentalist guide of the area.
The 80 km of so of the Matilde path, technically easy, takes place for the most part, along mule paths, carriage roads, gravel roads and paths. The allow you to reach, starting from the plains, the apennine ridge, the dividing line the Tyrrhenian and the Adriatic. The itinerary goes from Vico di Ciano d'Enza up to S. Pellegrino in Alpe, in spite of being done by trained walkers in 3-4 days, it has been purposely proposed in 7 easy stages. This is to allow for a detailed visit of the area. There are numerous points of historical and architectural interest which you encounter along the route, from the main castles of Matilde, to the sandstone tower-houses which dot the landscape, to the Romanesque parishes. And not the least, slowly walking along favors aeno-gastronomic encounters which, being in the heart of Emilia, are not lacking: we would like to cite the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese produced in small scattered dairies, or the traditional Balsamic vinegar ( founded on the cliff of Canossa), the mushrooms, the chestnuts.
(P.G. Oliveti 98).
Details of tour:
Time needed: 4.30 hrs
Difference in altitude climbing: 600 m
Difference in altitude descending: 200 m
Matilde path from Ciano d'Enza to the Castle of Canossa.
The first stage of the Sentiero Matilde begins ideally at the train station at Ciano d'Enza. Up until May 1990 this was also the name of the municipality, which then changed into "Canossa" following a popular referendum. The edge of the Apennine torrent gave it its name: Ciano comes, in fact, from Cilianum, roman settlement on the Via tabularia, from the Via Emilia to the Apennines.
In a few minutes you descend along the Via Val d'Enza north to Vico, low villa of the town where you can readily admire a 16th century tower house. Maria Luigia of Austria is among those who would stay here during her excursions "from Parma to the Castle of Rossena". Behind the municipal sports center there's a gravel road which begins and extends along the small Vico valley. You follow this one for a long time between cultivated fields, woods of small oak and glimpses of the now closed castles, crossing six small fords. After the 3rd, right on the right there's a variation for an evident mule road which leads to the Rossena castle, it is perfectly conserved (Visits can be reserved calling 0522/878111). At the end of the Rio Vico road behind the fence of a rural construction, you follow a small path on the left side staying on the bottom of the valley.
The first intersection is at the mule road on the right which crosses the Rio Vico and descends from the ex- schools of Rossena (Sandstone school). The Sentiero Matilde continues instead on the left, climbing up a small unpaved road. You continue following a light climb between fields up to Riverzana, a tower house which is being restored as a tourist and sports center. For those who decide to visit Riverzana, only 1.30 hr from Ciano we advise them to do the ring of Rossena (2 hrs round-trip)
A variation bypasses Riverzana and directly leads to the Canossa castle through the Calanche area. In side the Canossa castle you can visit the small national museum "Naborre Campanini": the most interesting piece is the monolithic baptismal basin of sculpted sandstone, the only remnant of the S. Apollonio temple. O the side an 18th century German herald reproduces Henry IV penitent, but not too much. The repeated destructions of this, which was for at least two centuries one of the most important castles in Europe, the neglect of time and the ruins of even the foundations which collapsed at the bottom, have reduced Canossa to little more than a geographical reference. In spite of this the place is extremely fascinating for its atmosphere and the landscape.
The Sentiero Matilde from the Canossa Castle borders on the Calanches and leads towards the eastern side of the Cavandola hamlet of Votigno, where there's an important Tibetan culture center.
From Cavandola you flank a wide carriage road, the slopes of Mt Tesa, with beautiful vistas on the medium - altitude Reggiano Apennines up to Cerredolo dei Coppi. The hostel where the 1st place stage has been set is next to the church, dedicated, not by chance, to San Pellegrino. Noteworthy, besides the numerous dovecot towers, mascarons and ashlars with magic significance on the walls of the ancient houses in the hamlet. The name derives from the surrounding turkey oaks and the "copp factories". The Kilns for tiles which were used until the middle of the last century.
(P. G. Oliveti, 98)
Last update: July 10, 2019