Il Cupolino

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Toscana (Tuscany) / Emilia Romagna, Italy, Europe
Hiking, Skiing
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
6079 ft / 1853 m
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Il Cupolino
Created On: Oct 24, 2009
Last Edited On: Mar 25, 2013


Il CupolinoIl Cupolino north-west ridge

Granted - Il Cupolino is only a small summit, which for most times of the year gets overlooked as it stands in a cirque of larger summits. I wouldn't have noticed it - and certainly not climbed it - if snow conditions had been different. But in May 2009 the large cirque of Corno alle Scale was still covered in snow and only the outward ridges offered access to the main mountain. And among the summits on this ridge was Il Cupolino.
Il Cupolino
Il Cupolino
Il Cupolino

Il Cupolino - little dome - the name already indicates the form of this summit - is located on the main ridge of the Appennino Tosco-Emiliano on the border between Tuscana (Tuscany) and Emilia Romagna. It is part of the ski area of Madonna del Acero from which a ski lift runs towards the north ridge of the cupola. Consequently, the mountain sees most ascents during the winter season, when a 100m ski scramble takes you to its very top. During the hiking season, access to the summit is far more longish. The most beautiful route, a long hike from Spignana in the south-west scales roughly 1000m in elevation. It ends at either of the two passes, which bound Il Cupolino, Passo dei Tre Termini in the south-east or Passo della Calanca in the north-west.
Il Cupolino
Il Cupolino
Il Cupolino

Thanks to its rather central location in the Corno alle Scale Cirque, Il Cupolino is a wonderful lookout summit, offering views of the cirque up close and the Apennino main ridge in the mid-range distance. Both the Tyrhenean and Adriatic Seas can be seen on clear days and the Alpi Apuane hover in the north-western distance. At the northern base of Il Cupolino you find Lago Scaffaiolo, a glacier lake left over from the last ice age. At its shores the Rifugio Duca degli Abruzzi caters to skiers and hikers alike.

360° Summit Panorama

360° summit panorama from Il Cupolino

Getting There

Il Cupolino in front of the high Apennino Tosco-Emiliano

There are three reasonable trailheads, two 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.

Doganaccia Trailhead
  • Take motorway A11 in direction Pisa.
  • At the exit Pistoia switch to SS66, direction San Marcello Pistoiese
  • After San Marcello turn onto SS12 to Abetone
  • Turn off right into Cutigliano and follow the mountain road through Melo to Doganaccia. There's ample parking space near the cable-car station.

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

Red Tape

Lago ScaffaioloLago Scaffaiolo

Il Cupolino 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


It 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 sides 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 Il Cupolino.

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.

Weather Conditions

Il CupolinoI Cupolino from Monte Cornaccio

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
    ISBN: 978-3-7079-0281-5

Maps Online


  • Tuscany North / Toskana Nord
    Wolfgang Heitzmann / Renate Gabriel (translation: Gill Round)
    Rother Verlag
    ISBN: 978-3-7633-4812-1 (English)
    ISBN: 978-3-7633-4115-3 (German)

Il Cupolino

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