The Ancient Boundaries of Mountain of Pistoia
The Pistoia mountains, as natural obstacles, are often considered borders destined to separate opposing sides.
The mountains, as natural obstacles, are often considered borders destined to separate opposing sides. However, border areas can not be thought of solely as dividing elements: they must be considered for their most important characteristics, and seen as "centres in evolution and expansion, small worlds with their own value and able to attract and bond closely men and places" (Febvre).
Among the elements that distinguish border areas, especially in the mountain, were the roads that lead to the mountain passes, the shelters for travelers (churches, hospices and inns), the border stations or other military or commercial control structures.
The mountain area was, not only in the past, marked by defined settlements (castles or villages), by extensive woodland, by pasture land, streams dotted with factories and thick network of footpaths. The mountain, which dominated and continues to dominate over all this, is a natural and breachable boundary - depending on the seasons.
The evidence of the material culture, traditions and folk tales, and even the relations of governing officers, tell us of a difficult world with meagre resources.
The beautiful historical maps, almost like old "photographs" from the past, show us the mountain landscape as it was, until it's transformations of the modern age.
Taking inspiration from this rich documentary asset, the project "The ancient boundaries of the Mountainof Pistoia" acts as a meeting point for historical research and the modern needs for tourism (culture and sport), as well as education, hoping to conserve the original characteristics of the territory and an awareness of ecology.
MOUNT ABETONE AND THE ROAD OF XIMENESA
From the "Pyramids" to Mount Maiori
A circular 8km route that is easy to follow, half along a rough track and the other half along a forest path. Halfway you can find a fountain and a designated rest area. The route, on the rough track, has a gradient of 2.5% and is suitable even for families with children and people using wheelchairs (with an obligatory escort). There beautiful panoramas on the "Libro Aperto" and the side of the mountain looking towards Modena.
Towards Mount Libro Aperto
A more demanding route: a small climb to the peak of Mount Maiori, then downhill to Serrabassa and then another climb to the top of Mount Libro Aperto (1937 m). It is advisable to replenish water supplies at the fountain on the route. Excellent view of the Apennine ridge and Mount Cimone (easily recognizable by the buildings at the top.
Bicycle circuit of Abetone
This circuit is easy on mountain bikes, not very long and offers a variety of landscapes, such as on the circuit of Mount Maiori. There are stretches that are more demanding: towards Mount Libro Aperto, towards La Secchia and Bicchiere, down to Rivoreta and up from Pianosinatico to Abetone. From Boscolungo take path CAI no. 102 which joins up with Sestaione Valley. It is highly advisable to wear a helmet and bring a water bottle.
TOWARDS LUCCHESIA: POPIGLIO AND LIMA VALLEY
The bridges and customs of Popiglio
The return trip is about 2 km on a practicable mule track. The itinerary is charming even if not very well known and can be done throughout the whole year. From the parking lot, after a brief slope, soon reaches the bridge of Castruccio and the smaller bridge over the brook Torbecchia. Continuing on the mule track for a short while along the stream Lima the walk leads to the bridge over the stream Liesina.
The muletrack to Popiglio and towers of Popiglio
Hacing crosse the bridge of Castruccio we take the old mule track, which goes up to the town of Popiglio. Walking through old picturesque streets we reach the historical part of town and on to the ancient towers built on the ridge dominating the valleys of Limestre and Lima.
Cycle path of Popiglio
This path is 37 km long and requires a certain amount of effort. It is on asphalt roads to be covered entirely on mountain bikes. From the parking lot at Lamure we reach the road going to Piteglio. After a few hundred metres past the village of Migliorini, we veer right towards Piteglio. At the schools we take a downhill road to the valley and then back up to Casa di Monte. Here we go down to the road to the villages of Crespole, Lanciole, then Pontito and up to Croce a Veglia. On a dirt track we go down to Lucchio and proceed on asphalt road to the bridge, near the "Tana a Termini". Here we go back up to Popiglio and then down to the bridge of Castruccio. It is highly advisable to wear a helmet and bring a water bottle.
AT THE BORDER BETWEEN PISTOIA AND BOLOGNA:
THE MONTAINS OF ORSIGNA
From Orsigna to the source of Gabelletta
This 15-kilometer route is of medium difficulty on footpaths and mule-tracks. From the town of Orsigna go along the asphalt road for a short stretch and then take the old mule track, which climbs rather steeply to Case Moretto and on to Case Aldria. This curves to the left near the dirt track to Paoluccio and then evens out until the source of Gabeletta. Chestnut and beech trees and coniferous woods shade the whole way.
To the mountain pass of Termine
From Case Paoluccio continue east along the dirt track, which climbs slightly. In less than 30 minutes this takes you to a forking that climbs more steeply to the mountain pass. The ridge was the boundary between the lands of the Papal State and of the Grand Duke of Tuscany.
It is advisable to bring your own water.
Bicycle circuit of Orsigna
This 33-km circuit is fairly difficult due to its steepness, and to be covered almost entirely by mountain bike. From the village of Orsigna, go to Case Corrieri and take the dirt track, which climbs to the shelter of Porta Franca (the last stretch to be covered on foot). From the shelter, go up steeply on the Apennine ridge and then slopes down a track to Casetta Pulledrari. After a few km on asphalt road, take an easy dirt track, which cuts across the Southern side of Punta della Crina and goes down to the asphalt road for Pracchia and then reaches Orsigna.
It is highly advisable to wear a helmet and bring a water bottle.
ALONG THE "VIA LOMBARDA" TO MODENA AND BOLOGNA
Doganaccia - Calanca Pass - Lake Scaffaiolo
Itinerary of medium difficulty, it is about 7,5 km long (round trip) all on footpath. From Doganaccia it rises at first rapidly and then along the Spigolino southern mountainside to reach the Calanca Pass. Lake Scaffaiolo is only a short distance away. Half way through the route you will find gates of livestock enclosures and a spring. There are beautiful views along the entire Apennine ridge.
From Doganaccia to Corno alle Scale
From Lake Scaffaiolo you go East along the ridge footpath. In less than 45 minutes you reach the peak of 'Corno alle Scale' (1945 m). We recommend to stock up on water at the departure point.
Ring road Doganaccia - Lizzano - Vizzaneta - Cutigliano (return by cable car)
This 20-km route requires a certain amount of effort, to be coered entirely on mountain bike. FromDoganaccia go down the dirt track until Vizzaneta, small village near Lizzano. Then continue on asphalt road down to road SS no. 12 and follwo it until Casotti. Go across the bridge over stream Lima and up for a kilomenter to Cutigliano. From here we carry on to Doganaccia by cable car or taking the asphalt road towrds Melo. We strongly advise to wear a helmet and bring a water bottle.
BETWEEN LUCCA, MODENA AND PISTOIA: THE ALPS OF THE THREE POWERS
From Pian degli Ontani towards the Torre del Fattucchio
This is an easy route on rough tracks. From the area of Pian degli Ontani you head down to the river Sestaione and then you climb back up on a slight gradient till you reach the bottom of the steep path to the Torre del Fattucchio.
Alternative route: Towards the Three Powers
This route travels along easy to follow CAI footpaths, which crosses what is considered to be one of the most beautiful areas in the Pistoia Mountain Range, taking you to the top of the “Tre Potenze”, the old border between the land of the Grand Duke of Tuscany and those of Modena and the state of Lucca. From the top there is an incredible view.
Circular Cycle Route of the Beech Wood
The route follows, almost completely, a rough track, which crosses the beech wood of Pian di Novello. It is not seen as a difficult route but due to the considerable ups and downs, being in good physical shape is a must.
THE LAND OF SAN MARCELLO
From Pian dei Termini towards Monte Peciano
This is an easy route on rough track. From Pian dei Termini follow a slightly sloping stretch, which leads into a thick conifer wood. Halfway there is a spring water fountain, rich in minerals..
ALTERNATIVE ROUTE Towards Monte Gennaio
The route follows well-marked CAI paths that cross the Teso Forest. From Pian dei Termini the route is mostly uphill except a few stretches, until you reach the midway point. Along the path there are great viewpoints looking out onto the Northern Apennines.
Circular Cycle path of Pratorsi
It is a brief route of medium difficulty. The first stretch is on an asphalt road that leads to the refuge of Pratorsi, and then continues on both tracks and asphalt road. The gradient and steep downhill stretch make this route particularly unusual. TOWARDS BOLOGNA : SAMBUCA AND THE VALLEYS OF LIMENTRE
From Taviano towards Sambuca Castle
An easy route takes you along the mule track. From the village you take the old mule track that first takes you to the Convent and then to Sambuca. You very quickly reach the Fortress from where you can look over the valley of Limentra with the Apennines as a backdrop.
Towards Pavana - The Via Francigena
From the Fortress you drop down to the centre of the village and take the footpath, which follows the old road of via Francigena to Pavana. The route has a slight gradient and crosses lush woods of chestnut, maple and alder trees and a surreal tranquility taking you to your destination of Pavana.
The Pracchia Circular Cycle Route
From the weather station, famous for its quickly rising waters, to the "saddle" between Poggio dei Lagoni and Poggio del Papa, you ride the ridge that divides the Reno Valleys and those of the Limentra. The circle is completed reaching state road no. 64 which takes you to Ponte alla Venturina and thereafter the road S.S. no. 632 "Traversa di Pracchia" for about 15 kilometres.
For more info MAPS and GPS TRACKS