Trekking along the wanderer's trail: from Marradi to Stia through all the localities mentioned by Campana in his "La Verna", Orphic Chants . From Marradi it is possible to reach Stia by way of an extraordinary mountain route that moves along the crests and through the valleys of the Mugello territory. It enters the heart of the Casentinesi, Monte Falterona and Campigna National Park. From Stia, Campana moved towards Verna by way, probably, of the Casentino valley, which is, today, ungratifying from an excusionistic point of view. It is for this reason that we have chosen to interupt the Trekking along the wanderer's trail at Stia.
The whole route can be divided into four sections with overnight stays in San Godenzo, near the Muraglione Pass, Castagno d'Andrea, in Campigna, and in Stia.
1) From Marradi to San Godenzo
Introductory and technical notes
The itinerary initially travelles through the Campigno valley, which Campana was know to cross by way of an ancient trail that is presently paved and touches, in parts, the road that links Biforco to Campigno. There is very little traffic along this road, and the mountain landscape through which it passes make it highly interesting. It is still possible to see age-old professions carried out along this route: sheep herding, horse rearing, wood cutting and transport on mules. From Campigno, therefore, the route is more scenic with ascents that lead to Cae Monte Filetto and the Apennines crests.Campana was know to move along two routes to reach Castagno d'Andrea, one from San Godenzo and one from the Muraglione Pass. We have, therefore, created two routes from Colla della Maestà. In one, the route descends towards Castagneto and then to San Godenzo; in the other, the route moves along the crests to the Muraglione Pass. (It is possible to take one route on your way, through San Godenzo for example, and the other on your way back, passing though the Muraglione Pass.)
The elevation gain in both cases is roughly 1070 metres, and it takes 8- 8.5 hours on foot. The itinerary can be travelled on horseback and, with some difficulty in certain areas, by MTB.
Marradi can be reached by car from Florence or from Faenza by way of state road n. 302. The town can also be reached by train along the Faentina railway line. The railway line reserves numerous surprising sights and touches some of the most important localities in this part of the Apennines.
Description on foot
From Marradi the route initially moves along state road n. 302 towards Florence. It reaches Biforco and from there moves left towards Campigno where the paved road leads into the valley. Along this road, "le rocce e il fiume" (the rocks and river), as Campana writes, are the sole protagonists. Their layers and layers of history lighten the heart of man, «strati su strati, monumenti di tenacia solitaria che consolano il cuore degli uomini», and the river, freshly bubbling in a docile melody, is a queen among the regal bends of the valley , «Per rendere il paesaggio, il paese vergine che il fiume docile a valle solo riempie del suo rumore di tremiti freschi, non basta la pittura, ci vuole l'acqua, l'elemento stesso, la melodia docile dell'acqua che si stende tra le forre dell'ampia rovina del suo letto, che dolce come l'antica voce dei venti incalza verso le valli in curve regali: poi chè essa è qui veramente la regina del paesaggio».
Once we reach Campigno, the route continues along a paved road to Farfareta and just before reaching this quaint location moves right along a paved road that is closed to traffic ( red and white arrow). It descends softly until it reaches the banks of the Campigno river. We cross it by way of a metal bridge. Once on the left bank, the route passes in front of a huge farm house and continues along the main road which, climbing steeply, rises quickly above the valley. The first house on the route, Gattalete, is situated at the edge of vast open field from which you can see the valley below and the "poverty of its homes" , Campigno. At Gattolete, we bypass a minor route on the right and move left along a dirt road that climbs along a rocky slope. The route turns right, ascending (we bypass the road that leads downwards) and entering the woods. We make a wide half circle to an open field where horses often graze. The ruins of Case Monte Filetto, often mentioned by Campana, are hidden by a lush vegetation, and are in an obvious state of abandonment. Moving along the main road, we cross the woods again, huge leafy beech trees surround us, and slowly ascend along the left bank of the river until we reach Le Fosse. Here, in a solitary mountain setting, we find an ancient hamlet which has maintained its original structure, typical of the numerous hamlets that dot the Apennines. We can still admire the Acacia "a tree that is dear to the night" which is able to «appear as a smoky dream» and the walnut tree which "in front of my room. At night it seems to gather the shadows and fold the dark singing leaves like a harvest of chants on the round milky, almost human, trunk." We move along the right of the houses, observing, below, a stone fount. We ascend along a dirt road through the woods and soon reach the crest. The route moves left (red and white signage, and also the yellow SOFT trail signs) along the crest past Monte Femmina Morta. It later reaches the trail that rises from Crespino sul Lamone. Bypassing the trail that goes right, we reach the main crest of the Apennines and trail n. 00 (GEA and Main SOFT trail).
On th e crest, we turn left up towards Poggio al Tiglio, then descend towards La Colla, where we find a small shelter, and then climb again along the sides of Monte Giogo di Villore. The trail, a dirt road made for tractors, is very scenic and overlooks the Mugello valley and the surrounding mountain crests. We bypass the dirt road that ascends from Villore, and keep just under the crests until we reach Porchellecchi, where a green antenna stands. We bypass a lane on the right and climb to the fork at 1010 m.a.s.l. To the left a dirt road moves along trails CAI n. 541 and SOFT n. 20. We bypass it and continue to climb along a minor trail, up along the crests, bypassing other trails that go left and right. We reach Monte Peschiena, the highest point of this tract of the Apennines, and continue, descending, along a trail that enters the beech wood. Once we leave the woods, we cross a wide road. On the other side we move along the trail that leads to a narrow dirt road. We reach Colla della Maestà along this route and here we meet a road from Fiera dei Poggi and the route offers two possible trails.
2) Itinerary for San Godenzo
From Colla della Maestà a green trunk indicates the trails in the area. We ignore the dirt road and move right along a wide forest trail that descends. We find red and white CAI signs along this trail. Lower down the signs move left while our route moves straight on. We continue along the main road (the two routes, however, meet lower down) descending along the edge of a forest, and then across an open field. The trail, rocky now, continues to descend, turning right, and, soon after, reaching the Moia farmhouse, surrounded by perfectly kept, age-old chestnut trees. We pass the house and cross a small bridge to a gate. Past the gate we move right, descending, along a path that is paved in tracts.
This route leads without fail to Castagneto (its name, chestnut woods, is indicative of the land around it) from which, along a narrow strip of asphalt, we reach the Muraglione Pass. We go right and, minutes later, enter San Godenzo.