Monte la Piazza is the third summit on the beautiful ridge between Libro Aperto and the highpoint of the Apennino Tosco-Emiliano, Monte Cimone. On fine days the traverse of this ridge is one of the finest undertakings in the whole range thanks to the excellent views it commands. Monte la Piazza and its neighbour to the south, Monte Lagoni, are the lookout peaks on the traverse.
While both Monte Cimone (thanks to the road to its summit) and Libro Aperto (thanks to its exposed position close to Abetone Pass) attract quite a lot of visitors, the ridge between them remains solitary for most of the time. The traverse, while definitely an easy one, is long and its endpoints are far from each other with no reasonable means of transport between the two trailheads. Therefore one has to return in ones tracks, a ten hour round trip. Sometimes people are tricked into this traverse because Monte Cimone can look quite close when seen from the other end of the crest. However, its huge bulk is much larger then the rest of the mountain thus leading to this "optical illusion".
In order to reach Monte la Piazza you have to follow the route from Abetone to Libro Aperto until you reach a saddle to the north of the north summit. From here the ridge traverse starts, first climbing Monte Lagoni, then Monte la Piazza. Between the two mountains the ridge contains of rocky sandstone blocks, typical for this part of the Apennino Tosco-Emiliano. On Monte la Piazza's summit the ridge turns eastward, steeply descending into a wide saddle, which separates our mountain from Monte Cimone.
The summit views of Monte la Piazza include the mountains of the other Appeninno subgroups - Monte Giovo, Monte Prado - Monte Cusna and Corno alle Scale together with the tips of the Alpi Apuane. Naturally - on fine days - you'll be able to sea both of Italy's coasts, the Tyrrhenean one in the west and the Adriatic one in the east. All mountains of the crest can be connected by a ski-tour so that most likely the number of visitors is much higher in winter than in any of the other seasons.
Monte la Piazza is often climbed together with Libro Aperto and Monte Lagoni. The hike (or ski tour) starts at 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 located close to the border between Toscana and Emilia Romagna, Monte Lagoni 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)