Walking routes in Sassi di Rocamalatina Regional Park
Discovering Sassi di Roccamalatina on foot
Sassi di Roccamalatina Regional Park is an immersion in the pinnacles of the Apennines for hikers as well as a protected area for all walkers.
Although it is also possible to move around the park area by bike and on horseback, there are details that can only be admired in the walking routes. The subdivision of the park into stages and short routes allows for maximum adaptability and customisation of the walk to the needs of each visitor. While the park is accessible without any technical difficulties even for the classic half-day outing, the Sassi Park does not disappoint even the most experienced walkers.
Routes and itineraries: from walking to trekking, with some suggestions from the park's experts.
You can visit Sassi di Roccamalatina Regional Park from North to South along more than 100 km of trails.
Among the twelve main routes identified, some are only accessible on foot; others also on horseback or by bicycle. ‘The numbering does not impose a strict choice of routes, but is merely an organisational order for the hiking network,’ explained Giovanni Savini.
The walking routes differ not only in level of difficulty, but also in configuration. Narrow gorges, forests, cliffs, clearings, farmlands, chestnut groves and rural agglomerations alternate with via ferrata (a protected climbing route) and paths with regulated access.
For hikers who wish to visit the park in its entirety and in one go, we suggest the TRA STORIA E NATURA (TSN) (en. ‘BETWEEN HISTORY AND NATURE’) route, which touches on all the most important points in the park and allows you to appreciate this area from both a naturalistic and historical-architectural point of view.
It is suitable for experienced hikers because it is a two-day route with significant altitude differences. ‘It ranges from the 160 m of Casona di Marano on the river to the 900 m of the Riva Mountain,’ states Giovanni Savini, technical instructor of the Central Emilia Park Authority.
Points of interest. To make it easier for you to choose between routes, you should ask yourself which point of interest you are not yet familiar with or which may fascinate you the most.
It is therefore the naturalistic features that will guide the choice of the walking route.
- the centre of the Sassi di Roccamalatina, the heart of the park, including the Sasso della Croce, the only one you can climb;
- Sasso di Sant'Andrea, an outcrop of high landscape-environmental interest that is home to the peregrine falcon, the park's main species;
- the Riva Mount, characterised by the wide panorama it offers, from the Apennine ridge to the Panaro valley;
- the Panaro river, not entirely accessible but, on one stretch, equipped for recreation.
The most important historical-architectural points of interest are:
- the ancient Pieve di Trebbio, one of the most significant examples of Romanesque architecture in the Apennines;
- Festà and Casona, two historic villages in the Marano sul Panaro area that are the gateway to nature trails and areas;
- the Castellino delle Formiche (lit. ‘Ants Castle’) in Castellino di Guiglia where, in addition to the ancient castle tower, you can admire a mill with its original millstones still intact;
- Montecorone, an ancient picturesque village in Zocca, since it is surrounded by a crown of mountains;
- Montalbano di Zocca, the so-called ‘up and down’ village, whose strong point is its multiform panorama;
- the ancient village of Samone, the so-called Samone Castello.
'We often have historical and architectural beauty behind us.' Giovanni Savini
Equipment and seasonality
‘Since the walking routes are free of climbing, hikers do not need any special equipment to explore the park, not even to ascend Sasso della Croce,’ explains technical instructor Giovanni Savini.
We recommend wearing suitable shoes and clothing for outdoor activities, depending on the season.
Also thanks to their environmental characteristics, you can enjoy the walking routes in the Sassi Park in all seasons. ‘The use of the protected areas during the various periods of the year is facilitated by a structured calendar of events to discover the protected area and its curiosities’, says Claudia Piacentini, contact person for the parks authority at the Centre for Education for Sustainability.
And that's not all. The inspiration of wonder that began in the Sassi di Roccamalatina Park can easily cross over to the ridges of the Apennines along the Via Romea Nonantolana. Here we are in the Frignano Park. Enjoy!