Two days of freedom in the Apuan Alps around Monte Matanna, in the middle of very varied landscapes. Add to that a bivouac in a corner that seems to have been set up for pitching tents, and you have a perfect weekend to recharge your batteries!
Day 1: Monte Matanna
Departure from the village of Stazzema, all in length across the slope. The streets are very pleasant to walk as long as you are not in the direction of the slope! Once past the center of the village, you quickly reach the start of a hiking trail.
Head towards the place called casa Giorgini. A delicious smell of cooking escapes from this bed and breakfast, we have to fight to continue our way despite everything! Then take path 6 towards Foce delle Porchette. After a steep climb, you reach this pass from where the view of the surrounding cliffs is remarkable.
Then continue on path 109 to arrive at a place called Alto Matanna. Then climb directly into the high culms towards the summit. Even if the altitude is not very high, the temperature difference between summer and winter as well as the constant wind prevent any tree from growing around the summit.
From Monte Matanna, the view is 360 degree panoramic. After having feasted on it, go down quietly following the line of the ridge in this grassy landscape. It's gently sloping and panoramic all the way, what more could you ask for! At a place called Foce del Termine, follow path number 101 which heads towards Monte Prana.
After a few kilometres, arrive at a place called Campo all'Orzo which is an ideal place for bivouac. Sea view and daunting sunset guaranteed! There are even some mattresses in the old abandoned chapel if you want more comfort during the night. There is also a small spring 50m away at Col de Pardini. However, I would not bet on it during the summer season…
Day 2: Monte Prana and the Valley of the Hippies
We start this day with a small round trip to Monte Prana which is not very far. The early morning view is quite far, especially since it is the last peak to the south of this massif of the Apuan Alps.
We then descend to a place called Focetta di San Vicenzo, then take a pretty path which quickly descends into the undergrowth on the North face. We join a very nice torrent in which we absolutely have to stop to take an ice bath! In addition, we see there a spectacled salamander which is typical of the Apennines.
After having descended well, we go up in a pretty valley under the Matanna. We quickly realize that this is a place where the hippies must meet in droves, there are tents pitched everywhere along the way… They chose the place well, this valley is very beautiful !
However, we do not meet many people, we will learn later that this year few people came because of the Covid. The path is a little complicated to follow because of this permanent camp, we find at a place called Grotta all'onda without really having wanted to. It is a large cave under the cliffs of Matanna in which we found some traces of the Neolithic. A group of hikers made a fire in the cave and offered us some sausages to eat, primitive but more than welcome!
We then continue in the undergrowth towards the place called Foce di Grattaculo. The path is then on the side for a few kilometers just under the cliffs of Matanna. As they are some five hundred meters high and more, it's rather impressive to pass right at their foot!
Finally, we arrive at the very friendly refuge of Forte dei Marmi which is miraculously open at the start of spring. We feast on delicious pies, after which all we have to do is follow trail 5 back down to Stazzema.