The Apennines are the longest mountains’ chain in Italy. They are divided in three main parts: Northern, Central and Southern Apennines.
Northern Apennines run from West to East, separating the greatest Italian continental North Plane (Pianura Padana) from the Italian peninsula, bordered by Mediterranean Sea.
Northern Apennines are divided into two parts again: Appennino Ligure in West side and Appennino Tosco-Emiliano in East side. The Appennino Tosco-Emiliano, situated between Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany administrative districts, shows some different areas: it’s named Appennino Parmense Orientale (Eastern Parmese Apennines) the area located inside the Eastern part of Parma Province administrative boundaries and running between Cirone Pass in W side and Lagastrello Pass in E side.
The main valleys of this area are Val Parma in western sector and Val Cedra in eastern sector. As in all Northern Apennines there are not very high mountains and rocky ones are few.
The highest peak of all the district is the secluded Monte Sillara mt. 1861, with its fine Sillara Twin Lakes, situated one hundred meters below the mountain’s summit ridge, in its Northern side. Monte Marmagna m. 1851 is otherwise the best known and more frequently climbed peak inside the whole Appennino Parmense. The reason of its reputation is mainly due to three important factors: its closeness to Rifugio Mariotti, a popular hiking, mountaineering and ski-mountaineering destination; the easy access both in winter time and in the other seasons along its Normal route starting from the same hut; the renowned view over Alpi Apuane and Tirrenian Sea with Gulf of La Spezia, which appears from the summit.
In summer, when the area is the domain of the trekkers rather than the climbers, the highest peaks show a typical landscape: the majority of the summits are covered by high prairies, with few rocky buildings emerging from, and all of them are reachable simply by hiking.
Nevertheless, both rock climbers and ice climbers can find several and suitable play ground. Some fine 30 to 170 meters high cliffs had been equipped to enjoy sport climbing in spring and summer, especially inside the magnificent Twin Lakes (Laghi Gemini) area.
During the cold season the district offers magnificent winter ascents to several peaks, which summits can be reached along normal routes with low technical engagement, while ice climbers can climb some interesting gullies and little ice-falls.
Parma is the nearest town to the area; it’s a nice 200.000 inhabitants town, the capital of food valley, the famous food production and factory district. Its airport offers some domestic flies and only a few international one. A good choice of international flies is provided by Milan and Bologna International Airports, both at a reasonable distance (about 100 km).
Parma is linked to other Italian and European towns by A1 and A15 motorways, so logistic is not a problem.
Access from A15 (Autocisa Motorway) – Following A15 towards North exit Pontremoli and follow the road to Passo del Cirone and Bosco di Corniglio. From here follow the road towards the locality named Cancelli. If you’re driving on A15 towards South it’s better to exit to Borgo Val di Taro and follow the road to Passo del Sillara and Bosco di Corniglio.
Access from Parma
-To Lagdei and Lagoni sectors: from Parma follow the SP 665 (Massese) towards Langhirano and Capoponte; here turn to right, reaching Corniglio, Bosco di Corniglio and the locality named Cancelli.
-To Valditacca and Pratospilla sectors: from Parma follow the SP towards Langhirano and Capoponte; here carry on straight following the road towards Palanzano and Monchio delle Corti.
Nature and climateNature and climate
The area, usually as far as 1.600 m. of altitude, is covered by a dense magnificent forest, perfectly preserved through several years of massive deforestation (in the beginning of the twentieth century), due to mountain people’s poverty situation in that period. Due to the great difference between winter climate – snowy and cold – and summer’s climate – relatively warm – the arboreal species that succeed in this environment have adaptations to both seasons.
The autochthonous beech (Fagus Sylvatica) is the original and largest specie in the area and can reach heights of 20-30 mts, with characteristic straight trunks.
Evergreen conifers as White Firs (Abies Alba) where added later as the result of forestation’s work.
Rocks, forests and climate create a landscape similar to the north Scandinavian one.
The climate is a sub-continental one, so we have cold and snowing winter and summer not too hot due to the sea influence and wind action.
Lakes and ancient glaciersLakes and ancient glaciers
The area is best known as “100 Lakes Park”, because of the presence in the whole territory of several attractive very small and bigger lakes, giving to this one a charming look.
During the Wurmian period the whole area was interested by a great glaciation. The landscape was sculpted by glaciers and today offers to the visitor’s eyes an undoubted evidence of the biggest glacier ever established in Apennines (very likely it was longer than 8 Kms, larger than 2,5 and higher than 200 mts). Rocks’ particular features and circular holes in the sandstone, rocky steps in the valleys and lateral moraines are a visible evidence of. The action of the huge glacier created numberless cirques, mainly oriented to North-North-East, having become the seat of the actual lakes. The best known of them are the Sillara Lakes, the Holy Lake (Lago Santo), the big Twin Lakes (Laghi Gemini or Lagoni), the Dark Lake (Lago Scuro) and the Green Lake (Lago Verde).
Main Summits (in order of height)
Monte Sillara m. 1861 - Monte Losanna m. 1855 - Monte Marmagna m. 1851
Monte Matto m. 1837 - Monte Bragalata m. 1835 - Monte Orsaro m. 1831
Monte Braiola m. 1821 - Monte Paitino m. 1814 - Monte Brusà m. 1796
Monte Bocco m. 1790 - Monte Aquila m. 1779 - Monte Uomo Morto m. 1773
Rocca Pianaccia m. 1762 - Monte Aquilotto m. 1747 - Cima Canuti m. 1743
Monte Torricella m. 1728 - Roccabiasca m. 1727 - Monte Scala m. 1715
Monte Malpasso m. 1713 - Rocca Pumaciolo m. 1711 - Rocca Pumacioletto 1690
Monte Fosco m. 1680 - Monte Navert m. 1654 - Monte Tavola m. 1508 - Monte Sterpari
Rock climbing and ice climbing main peaksRock climbing and Ice climbing main peaks
Monte Scala m. 1715 - Rocca Pumacioletto m. 1690 - Roccabiasca m. 1727 - Torricella m. 1726 - Stagnoni m. 1200
Main TrailsMAIN TRAILS
Inside the area there is a thick network of trails marked and maintained by C.A.I. Club Alpino Italiano Sezione di Parma, introducing the hiker to the discovery of all the main landscape’s features, to visit the numerous small lakes and to the observation of the ancient glacier’s traces.
An easy and very satisfactory trail marked 00 and oriented W to E crosses the whole chain along the main boundary’s ridge dividing Emilia-Romagna to Tuscany. This trail constitutes the Parmese tract of G.E.A. Grande Escursione Appenninica (Great Apennines Trail) from Passo dei Due Santi to Bocca Trabaria.
The most interesting walks, on clearly marked paths, are:
- Trail 00 from Passo del Cirone m. 1255 to Passo del Lagastrello m. 1153 (Parmese tract)
- From Lagdei to Lago Santo Parmense
- From Lagdei to Capanna Schiaffino
- From Lagoni forestal road to Capanne di Badignana and Sella del Brusà
- From Lagoni forestal road to Fontana del Vescovo and Passo Fugicchia
- From Lagoni to Lago Scuro and Capanne del Lago Scuro
- From Lagoni to Lago Verde
- From Lagoni to Buca della Neve (Snow’s Hole)
- From Valditacca to Laghi Sillara
- From Pratospilla to Lago Ballano and Lago Verde
Red TapeSince 1995 the highest part of this area is situated under the regulation of a regional park having the evocative name of Parco dei Cento Laghi (One Hundred Lakes Park), in reason of quite a lot of small lakes existing inside the park’s boundaries.
In late years this area was included inside a largest park, named Parco Nazionale dell’Appenino Tosco-Emiliano (Tosco-Emiliano National Park); wood fires are prohibited as well as free camping and other harmful activity.
Walking and climbing are allowed and many trails are marked by Club Alpino Italiano Sezione di Parma.
Huts and Bivouacs
Rifugio CAI Giovanni Mariotti m. 1507 (CAI Sez. di Parma) +390521889334
Rifugio Lagdei m. 1250 +390521889353
Rifugio Lagoni m. 1342 +390521889118
Rifugio - Hotel Pratospilla m. 1360 +390521890194
Capanne del Lago Scuro m. 1528 (Keys available at Rifugio Lagoni)
Capanne di Badignana m. 1480 (Keys available at Rifugio Lagoni)
Capanna Roberto Schiaffino m. 1610 - always open
Capanna Cagnin m. 1589 – always open
Capanna Forestale della Pianaccia m.1250 – always open
When to hike and climbThe hikers can enjoy trails all around the year; all main summits can be easily climbed without the use of technical gear from May to November. Winter’s ascents along normal routes - from December to April - are not difficult, but require the use of axe and crampons. Best months for ice-climbing (gullies) goes from middle December to the end of March, while the period to climbing ice falls is very short (from the end of December to the end of February); conditions can change very quickly even during the coldest months on account of marine wind’s action. Best season for rock climbing and bouldering goes from May to the end of October.
MeteoMETEO ARPA EMILIA-ROMAGNA
Guidebooks and Maps
“Appennino Ligure e Tosco-Emiliano” by M. Salvo and D. Canossini
“Le valli del Cedra e del Parma (The Cedra and Parma Valleys)” Map 1:25.000 (CAI-Regione Emilia-Romagna)
“Alto Appennino Parmense Est” Map 1:50.000 (CAI-Regione Emilia-Romagna)