Monte Cornaccio is the south-western corner point of the western Corno alle Scale Cirque, a wide basin, closed in by three mountains. The cirque is part of a ski area and thus is most likely one of the most visited places of the Appennino Tosco-Emiliano in the border area between the Italian regions of Toscana and Emilia Romagna. While on its outside, the cirque is steep with ledges between vertical walls (the Scale, i.e. the Stairway). Its inside consists of smooth and shallow slopes. The cirque dates back to the last ice age, when the whole mountain range was covered with glaciers. Due to the soft composition of the underlying grey Appennino sandstone, most of the rock has been ground away, leaving round-topped summits after the ice melted away.
Monte Cornaccio is one of these summits - impressive walls on its southern and western sides, but an easy slope to its north-east. The mountain is most easily climbed from its northern and eastern ridges, which connect it with Il Cupolino in the north and Corno alle Scale in the east. The usual ascent involves touching upon Lago di Scaffaiolo, a glacier lake to the north of Il Cupolino with a visit to the Rifugio Duce degli Abbruzzi. From there a traverse through the east slopes of Il Cupolino (or a traverse of this panoramic summit) leads to Passo dei Tre Termini, from where the final ascent starts. The regular hiking trail passes to the north of the summit to lead to Passo Strofinatoio and on to Corno alle Scale. However a few hundred metres of easy hiking lead to the top of Monte Cornaccio and its summit marker.
Thanks to its location in the south-western end of the cirque, Monte Cornaccio commands excellent views along both of its ridges. To the east the imposing west face of Corno alle Scale looms while to the north - on a fine day - you'll be able to see several of the Appennino ridges - the Monte Giovo and Monte Cimone Ridges, sometimes even the faraway Monte Cusna Ridge. In winter and early spring, after the ski lifts have closed operation, the summit is often climbed as a ski tour.
(Almost) Summit Panorama Towards the North
There are two reasonable trailheads, one in Toscana, one in Emilia Romagna. Assuming you start from Firenze (Florence) you can reach them as follows:
Spignana Trailhead (Sentiero della Pace)
- Take motorway A11 in direction Pisa.
- At the exit Pistoia switch to SS66, direction San Marcello Pistoiese
- In San Marcello follow the signs to Spignana
- In Spignana, at the village square, take a sharp right turn (sign: Sentiero della Pace
- Follow the road to its end ignoring all intersections
- The trailhead id near a small farm building, you'll find a sign and a map about Sentiero della Pace.
Madonna del Acero (Emilia Romagna)
- Take motorway A11 in direction Pisa.lodgings
- At the exit Pistoia switch to SS64 direction Poretta Terme
- At Silla switch to SS323 to Gaggio Montano
- There switch to SS324 (signs "Corno alle Scale"
- Drive through Lizzano in Belvedere and follow the signs to Madonna dell'Acero
Monte Cornaccio is part of the Parco Regionale di Corno alle Scale. The usual restrictions apply, especially regarding animals and plants. I'm not sure if camping is tolerated within the park limits but would think not.
Parco Regionale di Corno alle Scale
AccommodationIt is more likely that you find accommodation on the Emilia Romagnan side of the main ridge since this side of Corno alle Scale is a well-known ski area. You'll find agriturismo (holiday farms) on both side of the ridge and for all times of the year. Regular hotel and apartments might be restricted to the ski season. The nearest town with good accommodation potential is Poretta Terme some 10 km to the north-east of Monte Gennaio.
Lodging (from the park's web page
And of course you can always find lodging in Firenze or Prato, about 30 - 40km to the south-east.
Maps & Books
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)