Periods of Activity:
To venture along the "Sentiero Matilde" the bast 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
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.
Details of tour:
Itinerary in detail
Time needed: 3 hrs
Difference in altitude climbing: 350 m
Difference in altitude descending: 250 m
Matilde path from Cerredolo dei Coppi to Casina
A stage in the mid-range hills which leads from Val d'Enza where Canossa faces, in Casina, the geographic center of the Matildic territories. From the Cristofori" restaurant of Cerredolo dei Coppi you briefly continue along the paved road for Casina almost immediately turning left into the large valley towards Chessi, an isolated rural house (on the right of the paved road you have instead the beginning of the "Variante di Cortogno", which through Vercallo, Faieto, Cortogno and the lower valley of the Tassobbio connects to Sarzano).
You descend to look at the ditch of Pentana and then the Rio Bergogno and in no time you are in the hamlet of Bergogno, a nice example of an Apennine village. The houses surround the main road which constitutes the central axis of the town while a large façade suddenly interrupts the sequence of buildings. The 16th century building catches the eye, it belonged to the Giovanardi count, it has a square lay-out with dovecot tower. The attic eave has the typical shape made of brick with the "T" shaped decoration and holes for pigeons. Let us pause to take in the features of the house, the portals, the architraves, the windows, the angular stones carved in sandstone and dating back to the 15-16th centuries. But Bergogno is famous locally for a "Sui generis" "co-operation", created a couple of years ago by a spontaneous group: in the summer and in the winter, inside the chicken threshing floors and the haylofts and in the homes tabled, by reservation, with typical Reggiano meals. Success awarded "by the market" give a hand to the inhabitants of the fraction in collecting funds destined to the restoration of the center.
Outside the village, along the only road, after a little while you turn right on a carriage road which smoothly descends to the ditch of Paieto. Having crossed the small brook an old mule-road climbs up to the chestnut woods all the way to the location called Crocicchio where you cross the provincial road for Casina. We recommend a digression to the nearby Paullo Parish which has a nice Romanesque façade and which was written about as far back as 980, in a diploma of the emperor Ottone II. The interior has a basilica layout with 1 nave and 2 aisles and has a few examples of sandstone capitals in "Canusino" style.
From Crocichio you follow the paved road along 2 climbing hair pin curves and then you take an unpaved road on the right which climbs a hill near the ruins of a look-out tower: let us remember that we are o the Canossa - Sarzano - Carpineti route. The you descend and encounter once again the provincial road and you continue through the tilled land in open fields up to the village of Monchio dei Ferri. The Rossi court dominates the valley, it's a well-kept example of a rural fort, with two big towers of the XVI century. You continue for a brief stretch along the carriage road which leaves the village and you then climb up bordering the tilled lands along a mule road all the way above Cà Il Ponte. At the nearby Carrobio there's the provincial road and in a short while you climb up to the Sarzano castle. It was one of the most important headquarters of Matildic power and was cited in 958 in a sales deed as Adalberto Atto of Canossa, Matilde's relative, brought the woods "in fondo et loco" Sarzana. The donjon remains as does a tower used as a belfry, a few parts of the walls and the remnants of the entrance door. The church at the foot of the castle is currently being restored and in the annexed buildings there's an agricultural tourism business, the "Locanda in Sarzano". Sarzano is animated once a year during the historical "Palio" with costumes.
You descend a panoramic route to underlying Casina, the ancient "Casina" reported in a list of goods belonging to the San Apollonio di Canossa Abbey in 1116. The town is located along state road 63, road axis of the Reggiano Apennines and leads to Cerreto and Lunigiana. At the town hall there's the headquarters of "Ars Canusina" which releases a mark of quality certification for artisan products made of stone, ceramics, gold, lace, and glass, which strictly repeat matildic themes.
Last update: March 8, 2021