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Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Parma, Italy, Europe

Lat/Lon: 44.40330°N / 9.99121°E

Object Title: Marmagna

County: Emilia Romagna

Activities: Hiking, Mountaineering, Ice Climbing, Scrambling, Skiing

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Elevation: 6073 ft / 1851 m


Page By: Silvia Mazzani

Created/Edited: Jan 17, 2013 / Mar 27, 2014

Object ID: 834364

Hits: 2264 

Page Score: 92.53%  - 39 Votes 

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Geographical classification: Appennino Tosco-Emiliano e Tosco-Romagnolo > Appennino Parmense > Marmagna

Marmagna m. 1851

Monte Marmagna is surely 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 Giovanni 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 Rifugio Mariotti and rising to the Marmagna Saddle, which separates the peak from Monte Aquilotto, lying on the left of the saddle; the renowned view over Alpi Apuane and Tyrrhenian Sea with Gulf of La Spezia, which appears from the summit.
The Parmense side is gently sloping towards the attractive basin of Lago Santo (Holy Lake), while the side facing to Tuscany is higher and deeper, but very rarely climbed because of its long approaches.

Marmagna North-West ridge
Marmagna North-West side seen from Monte Braiola

Getting There


Parma is the nearest town to the area; it’s a 200.000 inhabitants town with a small airport, offering some domestic flies and only a few international ones. A good choice of international flies is provided by Milan and Bologna International Airports, both situated at a reasonable distance (Milan 110 km., Bologna 90 km.).
Parma is linked to other Italian and European towns by A1 and A15 motorways, so logistic is not a problem.

- Approach from A15 (Autocisa Motorway) – If you’re driving on 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 Borgo Val di Taro and follow the road to Passo del Sillara and Bosco di Corniglio.

- Approach from Parma

Follow the SP 665 (Massese) towards Langhirano and Capoponte; here turn to right, reaching Corniglio, Bosco di Corniglio, the locality named Cancelli and finally Lagdei (wide parking).

Orsaro and Marmagna sub-group seen from Tuscany
Orsaro-Marmagna sub-group seen from Tuscany


There are two possibilities to get to Rifugo Mariotti from Lagdei basin:

- Via the Panoramico Path n. 723a, a bit longer, but allowing fine views (1,15 hour in winter time, 45 minutes without snow).

- Via the path n. 727 (1 hour in winter time, 30 minutes without snow)


From Rifugio Lagdei follow the path n. 727, starting just near the shelter and rising inside the beautiful beech-wood; after the fork with the path leading to Rifugio Mariotti, starting on the left at about 1400 m. of altitude, the trail is getting to Ponte Rotto, so named in reason of a broken stones-bridge. Carry on always on the main path, without following the tracks starting from the main path, both on the left side and on the right, reaching the wild basin lying at the footh of Monte Marmagna, Monte Braiola and Monte Orsaro triad. Here is situated the small and secluded Capanna Schiaffino m. 1610, an emergency cabin always open (no beds).

Main routes to the summit

Climbing Marmagna North-West ridge
A winter ascent on Marmagna North-West ridge

South-East Ridge or Normal Route from Rif. Mariotti
Alpine F, 350 m. difference in level from the shelter

From Rifugio Mariotti follow the right shore of Lago Santo (Holy Lake) - towards SE - getting to the South end of the lake. Here leave the path running around the lake and follow another one starting on the right and rising inside the beautiful beech-wood. Don’t follow the first junction on the left, neither the second one on the right, but keep the main trail (n. 723), exiting the wood and getting to a wide basin between Monte Marmagna on the right and Monte Aquilotto on the left. The trail rises to Sella Marmagna, then turns to right, following a wide rounded ridge leading to the huge summit cross.

North-West Ridge
Alpine F+, 600 m. difference in level from Lagdei

From Capanna Schiaffino rise straightly toward the boundary ridge getting to the Braiola Saddle, separating Monte Braiola (on the right) from Monte Marmagna (on the left). Turn to left and follow the wide ridge, sometimes steep, to a narrow saddle from which the summit cross is appearing. Climb the last slopes, frequently iced in winter, to the summit.

Marmagna North side routes
Marmagna North side routes: A NW Gully and N Ridge - B NW Ridge
Marmagna upper SE  arete
The last SE "arete" and Alpi Apuane emerging from the sea of clouds in the background

NW Little Gully and N Ridge
Alpine PD, 600 m.difference in level from Lagdei

From the basin where Capanna Schiaffino lies, turn immediately to left (South) without reaching the shelter, heading towards the steep slopes below the obvious narrow and short gully, getting to its base. Rope up when the gully is on ice. Climb the gully and exit on the North ridge of the peak; follow it to the summit cross.

Descent: along the easy and panoramic Normal Route running on the SE ridge, leading to Marmagna Saddle and then to Mariotti Hut.

Huts and Bivouacs

- Rifugio Giovanni Mariotti al Lago Santo Parmense m. 1507 – Club Alpino Italiano Sez. di Parma (40 beds) Phone +390521889334 – 0,30-1,15 hours from Lagdei


- Rifugio Lagdei m. 1250 – Always open, 11 beds (60 km. from Parma) Phone +390521889353; wide parking


- Capanna Roberto Schiaffino al Monte Braiola m. 1610, emergency cabin - 1 to 1,45 hours from Lagdei – The hut is an ancient stone alp which had been restored and re-named in the memory of Roberto Schiaffino, a climber dead because of a stone-fall, while he was climbing a rocky tower in Grigna.

The frozen Holy Lake (Lago Santo)
The frozen Lago Santo (Holy Lake) and Rifugio Giovanni Mariotti
Capanna Schiaffino
Capanna Schiaffino

Red Tape

Monte Marmagna is located inside Parco Nazionale dell'Appennino Tosco-Emiliano, established in 1922. Fires are strictly forbidden and the whole fauna and flora is protected. Don’t disturb fauna and other mountaineering and hikers’ peacefulness with every kind of noise.

Please respect the following rules inside Parco Nazionale dell'Appennino Tosco-Emiliano:

When to hike and climb

It’s possible to climb and hike all around the year on Monte Marmagna; winter ascents require the essential gear as crampons, an ice-axe, a short rope.


Subcontinental, with cold and snowing winters and good summertime, dry but not too hot, because of the mitigating influence of the Tyrrenian Sea and the action of the winds.

Mary's statue on Marmagna summit
Mary's statue on the summit - Ph. M. Noberini
A winter image of Lago Santo (Holy Lake)
A winter image of Lago Santo (Holy Lake)
Roccabiasca, Scala and Succiso from Marmagna
Roccabiasca, Scala and Succiso from Marmagna



Guidebooks and maps

Marmagna map


Arrampica Parma Guidebook
Arrampicaparma Guidebook: rock climbing, ice climbing and mountaineering
Appennino Tosco Emiliano Guidebook

"Arrampicaparma - Climbing, bouldering & mountaineering" by Silvia Mazzani and Alberto Rampini - Pareti e Montagne Edizioni, II ed. 2011

"Arrampicaparma - montagna, falesie, bouldering" by Alberto Rampini and Silvia Mazzani - Pareti e Montagne Edizioni, 2003

“Appennino Ligure e Tosco-Emiliano” by M. Salvo and D. Canossini - Collana Guide dei Monti d'Italia CAI-TCI


“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)

External Links