Discover the history fo Garfagnana and its beauty
Exploring the nature
Trekking experience between ancient villages and history
In Garfagnana, for centuries, there has been a small but evocative sanctuary dedicated to the Madonna della Guardia in Colle Argegna. This precious historical testimony recalls the pilgrimages from the three sides (Serchio, Magra and Secchia); the same applies to the San Nicolao Hospice on the Tea pass, which even before assisted pilgrims and merchants.
In fact, a variant of the Via Francigena that led from the Lunigiana to Lucca through the Garfagnana flowed from here. A centuries-old history in a gentle and almost hilly landscape, fields and pastures cut out from dozens of hedges, straddling the valleys of the Serchio and Aulella.
The itinerary we propose goes through the uncontaminated nature and culture of the Garfagnana: a paradisiacal oasis of the Tuscan Apennines that touches hermitages, castles and the Via Francigena.
From the Carpinelli provincial road a short detour goes up to Giuncugnano, a small village gathered on the southern slope of a ridge between tributaries of the Serchio that descends from the nearby Colle Argegna. Going through the village, shortly after, the road reaches a road crossroads on the ridge. Parking here, we take the path marked in white-red to the left but without numbers going up towards SW. After passing a reservoir of the aqueduct it continues to climb among the coniferous reforestations always following the trail signs, up to emerge on the paved road near a fountain. Continue straight towards the nearby Sanctuary of Monte Argegna.
The sanctuary, built at the end of the 19th century on the vast pastures of Monte Argegna in honor of the Madonna della Guardia, venerated above all in Liguria, wants to protect Lunigiana and Garfagnana, to which the view opens. It was destroyed during the Second World War, and was tenaciously rebuilt as it was, in a wonderful position dominating the Gulf of La Spezia. Here there is also a hiking refuge with a trattoria that welcomes pilgrims.
From the Sanctuary we go up the grassy hill, passing the cross and the bell, and finally reaching the paved road in a panoramic point on the Apennine peaks from the Alpe di Mommio with the Gendarme to the M. Prado-M group. Vecchio, and further east on the M. Giovo-Rondinaio group; behind the Apuan Alps with the M. Pisanino in the foreground. Following the road to the left you gradually descend from the hill into an avenue of high alders, which makes a hairpin bend and continues to descend.
Shortly after we notice on the left an uphill path with a sign indicating the ruins of S. Nicolao: these are the recent excavations of the medieval bases of the hospitale of S. Nicolao, active during the era of pilgrimages on the Via Francigena, between X and XIII sec. Here, in fact, ceramic remains, burials and objects related to commerce have been found.
Not surprisingly, it was built right next to the Tea pass, one of the most popular passages in every era, up until the 19th century. to connect Lunigiana and Garfagnana, and in the long run the Lombard plain with Lucca and Tuscany.
You can follow towards the old mule track to Ponteccio, arriving at a source on the border between the municipalities of Minucciano and Giuncugnano.
After a few minutes at a crossroads we keep the main carriage road that goes down to the right into the castagneto called Pian di Seccia. A descent brings us with a hairpin bend towards the bottom of the valley of the Fosso Grosso, and we finally reach an intersection in the locality of La Serra.
Going down to the left, in 10 minutes you would take the village of Magliano, to the right to the Gambrano farmhouse (and from here to Giuncugnano on the road anyway), while a marked path goes down in front, bending downhill to the right to cross the Fosso di Felicaia . In a few minutes we reach the starting crossroads upstream from Giuncugnano.
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