Nature and Trekking

Pilgrim, in Garfagnana, along the Via Matildica of the Holy Face

5 days walking along less famous itineraries and routes to be rediscovered.

On ancient pilgrimage routes, among sanctuaries and symbolic places of the territory, on the footsteps of saints who were born, lived or crossed in those lands. In the footsteps of the saints, we will walk to the discovery of places and figures that have marked the history and the deviation of the territory.

The Via Matildica del Volto Santo (Matildic Road of the Holy Face) is one of the most beautiful itineraries in Italy. It combines in an excellent way the beauty of places with the richness of history and traditions, discovering landscapes, monuments, historic villas or castles, but also natural elements such as waterfalls, forests, rivers and lakes. It is a very famous route among lovers of spiritual and cultural journeys of a historical nature: it represents a priceless heritage at a historical and cultural level. The name comes from Matilda of Canossa, one of the most important historical figures of the Italian Middle Ages, who was also a powerful feudatory and supporter of the papacy in the struggle for investiture, at a time when women had great difficulty having a say. It was under the power of Matilda of Canossa that the Papal State reached one of its greatest periods of expansion, while the duchess/marchess held power over the territories of Lombardy and Emilia Romagna as well as Tuscany.

Our itinerary will be:

  • The Via Matildica del Volto Santo [ from San Pellegrino in Alpe to Lucca: 3 stages in 3 days ] is usually walked be able to visit calmly the various stages and their relative places of interest. The stages are each about 17 kilometres long and are not particularly difficult, so they can be tackled by anyone with a good training. The Via Matildica by bicycle is instead a decidedly fascinating alternative and, in some ways, faster, even if it requires training and specific equipment

Programme

Arrival in Lucca, by own means. Meeting with the guide. Transfer, by minibus, to Castelnuovo di Garfagnana where the tour begins. Check-In. Accommodation in the reserved rooms. Presentation of the programme by one of our representatives. In the afternoon, visit (exterior only) of the Rocca Ariostesca of Castelnuovo di Garfagnana, which dominates the centre of the village and which in the 16th century hosted for three years the poet Ludovico Ariosto, who had been named governor of the province of Garfagnana, at the time under the rule of the Este family. Walk through the streets of the centre of Castelnuovo di Garfagnana. Possibility of buying local products in the shops. Typical “Garfagnana” dinner with a tasting of local products. Return to the hotel. Overnight stay.

The itinerary leaves the Emilian territory to descend into Tuscany and in particular into Garfagnana, a land rich in history and an integral part of the territories of Matilde di Canossa. We reach Barga and its cathedral, passing through Castiglione and Castelnuovo di Garfagnana.

  • Departure from: San Pellegrino in Alpe
  • Arrival in: Barga
  • Distance: 4 kilometres
  • Travel time (without stops): 9 hours
  • Lunch: Lunch Box with sandwich bag menu.

In the morning, just downhill from San Pellegrino in Alpe on the provincial road, we take the dirt track on the right that will take us to the village of Valbona and then on the small asphalt road to the centre of Castiglione di Garfagnana with its walls, medieval castle and the Church of San Michele. We continue in the direction of Pieve Fosciana until we reach Castelnuovo Garfagnana. Castelnuovo di Garfagnana is the intersection with the Volto Santo road. We admire the Rocca Ariostesca, from which the poet Ludovico Ariosto ruled the Garfagnana. After passing the village of Cascio, we reach Gallicano, a junction of the Via Matildica del Volto Santo, thanks to the continuous and secular link with Lucca (the Volto Santo appears in the 1450 Statutes of Lucca) and home of Domenico Bertini, who commissioned the Tempietto del Volto Santo in the Duomo di San Martino. Finally we arrive in Barga, a place known for the sad events of the Second World War. Here the signs of the partisan struggle are recognisable, through the remains of trenches and gravestones. The town, which has an orange flag, is surrounded by a beautiful rural landscape. A long stage, mostly downhill, but with a couple of ups and downs (particularly after Castelnuovo Garfagnana) not to be underestimated. Return to the hotel after a brief stop in Castelvecchio Pascoli to visit the house where the poet Giovanni Pascoli lived and is buried. Dinner. Overnight stay.

We continue into the heart of Garfagnana from Barga and its cathedral, passing the Pieve di Loppia, the ancient Solco trail, the village of Ghivizzano and on to Borgo a Mozzano and the famous Devil’s Bridge over the Serchio river.

  • Departure from: Barga
  • Arrival in: Borgo a Mozzano
  • Distance: 17.9 kilometres
  • Estimated time of visiting (without stops): 6 hours
  • Lunch: Lunch Box with sandwich bag menu.

In the morning we depart from Barga, recognised as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. Visit to the Romanesque cathedral, dedicated to San Cristoforo. We continue the visit with the Church of the Crucifix and then stop in the centre to admire the Renaissance palaces and the Teatro dei Rassicurati. Along the way (suggestive of the beautiful panorama) we find the thousand-year-old Romanesque parish church of Santa Maria a Barga, known as Pieve di Loppia. Ghivizzano welcomes us with its castle. A walk through the village. From Ghivizzano, after a few dirt roads, we cross the Serchio river on the road bridge. Here begins the last effort of the day towards Borgo a Mozzano. Stop to admire the Ponte della Maddalena, known as the Ponte del Diavolo (Devil’s Bridge): one of the most original constructions in all of Tuscany. A beautiful example of medieval architecture, it connects the two banks of the Serchio River and has inspired numerous artists and caused legends about its construction. Return to the hotel. Dinner. Overnight stay.

Towards the end of a great itinerary, walking among the olive trees of the valley floor, visiting the Pieve Matildica of Diecimo and admiring the great views from the hills of Aquilea towards the mountains and Lucca, a city with splendid walls, rich in tradition, culture, spirituality and home to the Volto Santo.

  • Departure from: Borgo a Mozzano
  • Arrival in: Lucca
  • Distance: 29.4 kilometres
  • Estimated time of visiting (without stops): 8 hours
  • Lunch: Lunch Box with sandwich bag menu

The last stage of the Via Matildica del Volto Santo. In the morning we leave the village of Borgo a Mozzano, home of the Museo della Memoria (Museum of Memory) and continue in a south-westerly direction towards the hamlet of Diecimo where we find the ancient Pieve di Santa Maria, built by Matilde di Canossa. After passing the hamlet of San Donato we head towards Ponte a Moriano. Following the banks of the river Serchio, leaving the mountains behind us, we arrive at the gates of wonderful Lucca, the coveted and beautiful final destination of the Via Matildica del Volto Santo. The historic walls surround a city of churches such as San Frediano and fascinating squares such as the Amphitheatre. The Cathedral of San Martino houses the Holy Statue. Check-In. Hotel accommodation in the reserved rooms. Dinner. Overnight stay.

Day 5 Lucca

Check-Out. In the morning guided tour (only on the outside) of the elegant and refined Lucca, (all entrances fees not included), a splendid city of art, starting with a pleasant walk along the famous 16th century walls, shaded by large trees, which enclose the ancient city centre. You will also visit the medieval Church of San Francesco, with its large mosaic on the façade dating back to the 13th century, the amazing Piazza Anfiteatro, modelled on the ruins of the Roman Amphitheatre of the 2nd century AD, the Guinigi Tower, the Museum Complex of the Cathedral and Church of San Giovanni, the typical street of antique dealers and the Churches of San Michele in Foro and San Frediano. Free lunch and return by own means.

Details

Travel notes

This programme may be subject to change, both before and during the trip, depending on the weather, the needs of the travellers and the people hosting the group of travellers. All the visits are guaranteed, but they may be subject to change, on site, respect to the order listed above, at “our” discretion, for the sole purpose to ensure the best success of the tour, but without changing the substance of the visits [ The visits may be reversed depending on the opening times of the museums or for technical reasons, but the programme remains unchanged ].

Special requests

When defining and accepting the travel contract, it is necessary to indicate the presence of people requiring special diets or with reduced mobility in order to be able to verify the services and the possibility of assistance.

These are necessary

For all walking tours, you will need hiking boots, a water bottle of at least one litre, a kway or poncho, a backpack of at least 20/30 litres. Spare socks or T-shirt are recommended, as well as food or energy supplements.

Level of difficulty of walking tours

The trip is suitable for people who can walk, not necessarily trained but in good health. It is not suitable for children.

The price includes

Not included

Methods of payment

  • DEPOSIT: € ___, within 7 days of registration
  • BALANCE: no later than 21 days before the date of departure: € ___, by ___________

Cancellation

CANCELLATION BY THE TRAVELLER:

FOR ANY VOLUNTARY CANCELLATIONS THE FOLLOWING PENALTIES WILL APPLY:

  • CANCELLATIONS UP TO 15 DAYS BEFORE DEPARTURE: 50% PENALTY
  • CANCELLATIONS FROM 14 DAYS PRIOR TO DEPARTURE: 100% CANCELLATION FEE

CANCELLATION WITHOUT PENALTY: within ___________

 

 

Price

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835 €

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TOUR 5 days/4 nights

DEPARTURES

Period 01.05.2021 / 15.10.2021

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