Generally the mountains on the main ridge of the Appennino Tosco-Emiliano, the part of the mountain range which lies between Tuscany and Emilia Romagna is made up from smooth rounded broad-topped summits. The range is largely made up from grey sandstone and the glacial coverage during the last ice-age ground away most of the more remarkable features. Thus, almost any of the summits can be reached by an easy hike, which in most cases doesn't need to be a long one since lots of road passes cross the range. One of the most important of these passes is the Abetone Pass, which leads from Lucca to Modena (and if you stay on the road to Brenner / Brennero and to Austria - but it's a long way to go...). The pass and accompanying village have been turned into a ski resort, the largest one outside the Alps, if you can beleive what the prospects say.
The Abetone Pass is located in an area where the Appennine Main Ridge forms an S-bend which is made up by some of the most difficult (by hiking standards) mountains of the range. To the west there are Monte Giovo and Monte Rondinaio which are connected by a steep and very exposed ridge while to the east a similar, if not exposed, ridge leads from Libro Aperto, to Monte Cimone, at 2165m the highest mountain in this part of the Appennino. The southern end of this ridge, with Libro Aperto, has one of the trademark mountains of the range.
Libro Aperto means "Open Book" and that is what the mountain looks like when seen either from the north or south. Between its two principal summits, Monte Belvedere (1896m) and Monte Rotondo (1937m), you can find a summit plain, which simply looks like the pages of a book opened at the middle. To the north of Monte Rotondo there is a third unnamed summit, which at 1932m is the second highest of the three.
Thanks to its location close to the Abetone Pass, Libro Aperto can be very easily reached. A forest road takes you half of the way to the La Verginetta Saddle, from which two routes lead to the principal summits of the mountain. Monte Belvedere is a round-top summit and thus reached without difficulty while the two eastern summits, especially Monte Rotondo stand out as rocky outcroppings. The normal route to the latter summit would be a UIAA II-III affair across slabs had not the CAI (Italian Alpine Club) put up a fixed rope there.
Libro Aperto is located rather centrally among the higher summits of the Appennino Tosco-Emiliano and thus is a good look-out mountain. Its closest neighbours are Monte Cimone (2165m) to the north and Monte Giovo (1994m) to the west. To the south you can see the cirques around Corno alle Scale (1941mm) and to the north-west you can see as far as Monte Cusna (2121m) and Monte Prado (2054m). The latter is Tuscany's highest mountain while Monte Cusna and Monte Cimone are firmly on Emilia Romagnan ground.
Libro Aperto can also be climbed as a ski tour in winter. The usual route follows the Monte Belvedere summer route.
360° Summit Panorama Monte Rotondo
The most obvious starting point for Libro Aperto is the Abetone Pass, which separates Tuscany from Emilia Romagna. There is a possibility to start from Monte Cimone and traverse the ridge to Libro Aperto but this can turn into a long affair as you will have to return to your trailhead on foot. The ridge traverse also is best started from Abetone. The pass can be reached as follows from the closest international airports at Bologna, Pisa and Firenze (Florence).
- From Bologna
- Take motorway A1 direction Modena
- At the southern exit of Modena turn onto SS12 south, which will take you all the way to Abetone.
- From Pisa
- Take motorway A11 to Lucca
- Turn onto SS12 north which takes you to Abetone.
- From Firenze
- Take motorway A11 in direction Pisa.
- At the exit Pistoia switch to SS66, direction San Marcello Pistoiese
- At La Lima, behind San Marcello, turn onto SS12 to Abetone
Being a border mountain between Toscana and Emilia Romagna, Libro Aperto is located at the southern end of the Parco Regionale dell'Alto Appennino Modenese. The usual restrictions for such parks apply. Visit the park's site for more information.
The parking lots at Abetone are charged during the ski season. Having been there outside the season I can't tell the fees. The lots are large and go on for about 1km or more so the approach to the trailhead is the first challenge in winter ;-)
AccommodationThe closest town to Abetone is San marcello Pistoiese on the Toscana side of the pass. However, you won't find much lodging there. The big cities - Modena and Bologna as well as Firenze and Lucca are about an hour away from the pass so stayying there is a definite possibility.
If you want to stay closer you can make use of Agriturismo, holiday farms, which offer rooms, apartments and food. Good places are somewhat hard to find if you don't speak Italian. The site of the Parco Regionale dell'Alto Appennino Modenese has a listing here:
Lodging inParco Regionale dell'Alto Appennino Modenese
Maps & BooksLet me know if you know more books or better maps. This is the set I used.
I have not been able to find detailed maps of this area so the following one is a road map, scaled 1:150000
- Tuscanny - Florence
Freytag & Berndt
- Tuscany North / Toskana Nord
Wolfgang Heitzmann / Renate Gabriel (translation: Gill Round)
ISBN: 978-3-7633-4812-1 (English)
ISBN: 978-3-7633-4115-3 (German)