Tour in the historic Valleys of Knights

Two days discovering history and nature in the Apennines between Parma and Reggio Emilia

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This itinerary goes up along the Enza valley for two days, to discover the area of the Apennines called: “the valleys of the knights”.

We read this geographical definition in medieval documents, linked to noble families of knights, of Lombard origin, which formed the feudal system linked to the Canossa family, protagonist of Italian and European history in the Middle Ages.

We are between the provinces of Parma and Reggio Emilia, in the National Park of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines , in places far from mass tourism, which conceal an atmosphere and landscapes to be discovered: fortified villages with stone tower-houses, unspoilt nature, meadows where sheep and cows graze.

There are many small villages to visit throughout the valley, with a long history, from which it is also possible to abandon the car and enjoy nature walking along one of the marked trails in the area.

There are also two regional hiking trails: the Ducati Trail on the Reggio side (divided in stages to be done hiking but also in mtb) and the Via dei Linari on the Parma side of the Enza valley. 

We follow here by car the villages located along on the Ducati Trail.

  • Duration
    48 hours
  • Interests
    Culture & Castles
  • Target
  • First stop - Cereggio Ventasso

    Cereggio rises in a panoramic position on a rocky ridge between Val Lonza and Val d'Enza, in the municipality of Ventasso

    The small village still retains the stone houses with portals, courtyards and narrow streets with vaults that speak of times when there were no motor vehicles. 

    Walking in Cereggio you really get the idea of the life of many centuries ago and the view over the valleys is enviable.

  • Second stop - Cecciola Ventasso

    Cecciola, among meadows and streams, tells its story through the historic buildings that have been carefully restored; the small church, the religious icons and the noble coats of arms are living testimonies of the past. 

    People continue to cultivate the chestnut grove as in the Middle Ages, when these fruits and its flour were fundamental for the subsistence of local families.

  • Third stop - Succiso Ventasso

    The village of Succiso has a bitter-sweet story to tell: the town suffered a landslide that almost destroyed it in the last century, but it was rebuilt and today, despite the depopulation, it is a starting point for hiking, cycling and mountain biking (choosing for example the paths traced by Appennino reggiano bike - only in Italian) in the area of Succiso Alp. 

    It is possibile to see the traces of history in the houses, but landscape and nature are equally appreciated.

    Here, having the opportunity, you can stop to stay overnight, as well as in Cecciola, to continue the next day to explore this wild part of the Emilian Apennines.

  • Fourth stop - Lagastrello pass Ventasso

    The Val d'Enza originates at the Lagastrello Pass, where a dam for the production of electricity forms Lake Paduli, which is located in Tuscany. This was the border point between states even in antiquity and along the road there is still the boundary stone. 

    Also in this point there are well-marked CAI paths for hiking and walking.

    From here it is possible to take different directions: towards the Lunigiana, towards the Parma Apennines or, going back, repeating the route already done.

Last update 14/12/2022

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