During the final months of WW II the main ridge of the Apennino Tosco-Emiliano was heavily contested. The natural passes were of strategic importance and German and Allied Armies fought over their possession. In memory and as a warning reminder - here like elsewhere - peace trails have been established. One such Sentiero della Pace crosses the Appennino at Passo della Calanca, connecting the village of Spignana on the Toscana ( Tuscany) side of the range with the ski resort of Madonna del Acero in Emilia Romagna.
Naturally before becoming peace trail and before being fought over during WW II the route was an important transmigration route for the sheep and cattle herders of the area. And even further back - in Roman times - it was used as a traffic route between the east and west of Italy. Rumours have it that Hannibal crossed the Appennino somewhere in this region when he attaced Rome during the second Punic War.
Today the route is still used by the farmers on both side of the ridge. Much of the lower part of the route runs along dirt roads which connect various farms with each other and with their cattle pastures. In the upper part the route turns into a steep slope traverse, which in times of snow can turn rather difficult. In all, however, it still has to be considered an easy hike. The route described here serves as (most beautiful) ascent route to Monte Spigolino, Il Cupolino, Monte Cornaccio and Corno alle Scale.
- 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.
- Start altitude: 1100m
- Summit altitude: 1737m (Passo della Calanca)
- Prevailing exposure: South-West
- Type: Hike
- Protection: none
From the trailhead (signboard) either follow the road you came onward or scramble up a steep slope alongside a small (often dry) creek. The latter path cuts short a long bend in the road, which it joins close to a small farm building. Turn left onto the road, which follows the terrain in long sweeping curves. Though there are forests on the slopes most of the time, Sentiero della Pace runs out in the open, with good views towards the Monte Giovo and Libro Aperto Crests.
After one hour you reach a lookout saddle (bench) where Sentiero della Pace leaves the road, turning northward and heading for the big bulky form of Monte Cornaccio. It turns left, traversing the west slopes of the mountain and finally heading steeply upwards to a small valley between Monte Cornaccio and Il Cupolino. Here an unmarked path turns off right towards Passo dei Tre Termini, a shortcut for the ascents of Monte Cornaccio and Corno alle Scale.
Sentiero della Pace heads onwards, now negotiating the very steep west slopes of Il Cupolino. For reaching the summit or Lago Scaffaiolo at its base you have to scramble trail-lessly towards the ski lift to the north-west of the mountain. Sentiero della Pace instead descends for 100m before heading for the final ascent to Passo della Calanca. Monte Spigolino can be reached by turning to the north-west on an unmarked trail, which winds along the south-east ridge of the mountain.