Periods of Activity:
Period advised: preferably spring, late spring beginning of fall. It can be done, at any rate, in any month of the year, paying attention to rainy periods in that the clay terrain can be slippery.
The itinerary begins at Cerredolo dei Coppi which is about 12 km from the administrative capital. From Ciano d'Enza you take the SP 54 in the direction of Casina up to the indication of the location. From Cerredolo dei Coppi (Restaurant Cristofori) you continue for a short while on the SP 54 for Casina, you leave almost immediately the Matilde path and continue meeting on the right the beginning of the Ring of Cortogno.
Details of tour:
Itinerary in Detail:
Difference in Altitude: 600 m
Time needed: 3.30 hrs
Length: about 8 km
Cerredolo dei Coppi - Vercallo - Ca' Metraglia - Faieto - Cortogno - S. Lucia - Metato Pentema - Cerredolo dei Coppi.
A mule road which goes up and down hill across cultivated fields and bushes, on the side of the paved road that leads to Vercallo, one of the most representative hamlets of the Reggiano Hills. From Vercallo a historical mule road reaches through a winding itinerary between tilled land and woods Cà Metraglia, strategic point a little under Mt Barazzone, the tallest peak in the zone. The two, narrow valleys which branch out from this saddle are deemed to be remnants of a single pass which in Matildic times conveyed the water of the Tassobbio river towards Cerezzola and further down all the way to the Enza river.
Near Cà Metraglia there's a huge ilex grove and here they have a remains station which is protected from the wind. Their presence is a sign of the hotter climates that existed in the Reggiano mountains up to the middle of this century. The itinerary goes on heading north reaching the SP 54, you then pass the road climbing through the woods up to Faieto.
Faieto is one of the best places to contemplate the scenery of the medium-high Reggiano Apennines. On the peak which rises over the village a prehistoric settlement of the bronze age was discovered and is constituted by long rows of houses arranged in a climbing fashion. From Faieto the route continues, marked by arrows and red and white road marks for carriage roads and secondary roads all the way to underlying Cortogno. At the valley of the village near the road which leads to the Tassobbio torrent, a Roman kiln for brickwork of the late Republican era, has surfaced and is perfectly kept. The excursion ring ends by reaching on the road the ancient ex-oratory of S. Lucia, transformed in a metato for desiccating chestnuts. From here there's a view of the basin of Campiola, the Canossa castle and further away the Padana plain.
The historical route is of great naturalistic relevance: it goes from an arenaceous - siliceous environment, with very hard reddish soil which favors the growth of chestnut woods and of rare floral species, to a more calcareous soil which creates the conditions for a thick growth of sub-mountain mesophile woods with black hornbeam, maples and ash. Cerredolo is reached in about 1hr 30' from Cortogno.
Media val D'Enza, AAVV, 1999, G. Cervi