Monte Gennaio is the first (or last depending on the direction) of the higher Appennini Mountains when you start along the main ridge northwards from Firenze. It stands solitary a little apart from the large cirque of Corno alle Scale to its north and stands sentinel across the large basin of the Arno River. Corno alle Scale is a well known ski destination in winter and thanks to the ski traffic in wintertime its neighbour, Monte Gennaio, sees a decent number of ascents. In the other seasons, however, it is visited rarely, mainly because access routes are lengthy. The shortest access is from Madonna dell'Acero in the east across Corno alle Scale and through Passo del Cancellino. The latter pass, however, can be reached from many sides and thus can serve as a general waypoint to reach the mountain.
Monte Gennaio is part of the main ridge itself and thus is located directly on the border between the two regions Toscana (Tuscany) and Emilia Romagna. It is part of the Appennino Tosco-Emiliano, in which it takes a rather central (geographically) position. The hiking trail (marked 00), which crosses the whole main ridge, however, passes the mountain on its eastern side, thus avoiding the two-peakked summit. The summit ridges are exposed for Appennino standards and the col between the two peaks requires some climbing experience. The mountain is made up from layered grey sandstone but most of it is overgrown by meadows. In spring the remaining snowfields together with old hay guarantee a dangerous, slippery and nearly unprotectable ascent. On the upide the slopes are not so steep that falls cannot be arrested (I speak with the authority of own experience here).
The regular ascents of the mountain either follow east or west ridge but a third interesting alternative is the couloir, which comes down from the saddle between the summits. By snow conditions we were forced into it, which with proper equipment can be an enjoyable experience. Without equipment we had to follow a snow toungue which stretched out to right underneath the main summit and then negotiate the grass and hay ledges towards the top.
Having climbed the mountain by the "dumbest route possible", crossing Il Cupolino (1853m) and Monte Cornaccio (1881m) before descending to Passo del Cancellino, then climbing Monte Gennaio as an afterthought you can't call me an authority on the best itinerary. However, there are two general trailhead. Assuming you start from Firenze (Florence) you can reach them as follows:
Piano di Pratorsi (Toscana)
- Take motorway A11 in direction Pisa.
- At the exit Pistoia switch to SS66, direction San Marcello Pistoiese
- At Passo dell Oppio swich to a side road to Gavinana. After the village turn onto a narrow mountain road which leads you to the Piano.
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 Gennaio 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 and 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)
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