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, straight across the slope. The streets are very pleasant to walk as long as you are not going 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 guest room, we have to fight to continue on our way despite everything! Then take path 6 towards Foce delle Porchette. After a steep climb, we reach this pass from where the view of the surrounding cliffs is remarkable.
Then continue trail 109 to arrive at a place called Alto Matanna. Then climb directly into the high stubble towards the summit. Even though the altitude is not very high, the temperature difference between summer and winter as well as the constant wind prevent any trees from growing around the summit.
From Monte Matanna, the view is 360 degree panoramic. After enjoying it, go back down quietly following the ridge line in this grassy landscape. It's gently steep and panoramic all the way, what more could you ask for! At a place called Foce del Termine, follow path number 101 which goes towards Monte Prana.
After a few kilometers, arrive at the place called Campo all'Orzo which is an ideal place for bivouac. Sea view and Dantesque sunset guaranteed! There are even a few mattresses in the old abandoned chapel if you want more comfort during the night. There is also a small spring 50 m away at the Pardini pass. However, I wouldn’t bet on it during the summer season…
Day 2: Monte Prana and the Valley of the Hippies
We start this day with a short return trip to Monte Prana which is not very far away. The view early in the morning extends quite far, especially since it is the last summit south of this massif of the Apuan Alps.
We then go back down to the place called Focetta di San Vicenzo, then take a pretty path which quickly descends into the undergrowth facing the north. We reach a very pretty stream in which we absolutely must stop to take an ice bath! In addition, we see a spectacled salamander which is typical of the Apennines.
After having descended well, we go back up into a pretty valley under the Matanna. We quickly realize that this is a place where hippies must meet en masse, there are tents pitched everywhere along the path... They chose the place well, this valley is very beautiful !
However, we did not meet many people, we learned later that this year few people came because of Covid. The path is a little complicated to follow because of this permanent camp, we find ourselves at a place called Grotta all'onda without really having wanted to. It is a large cave under the cliffs of Matanna in which some traces of the Neolithic period have been found. 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 through the undergrowth towards the place called Foce di Grattaculo. The trail then goes sideways for a few kilometers just under the cliffs of Matanna. As they are some five hundred meters or more high, it is rather impressive to pass right at their foot!
Finally, we arrive at the very nice Forte dei Marmi refuge 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.