Is there another feeling in the world that equals that of your feet navigating an untamed terrain of rocks and gravel, dried leaves and wildflowers, swamps and streams, fueled not merely by a desire to get somewhere but by the life energy that runs abundant in wild, remote and unaltered places?
My love for hiking isn’t a secret – so it wasn’t purely by chance that I found myself hiking a part of the Alta Via Trail in Emilia Romagna. I knew that it was something I had to do during my week of exploring Emilia Romagna with Blogville, but I didn’t expect it would be on a day when the sun would decide to play hide-and-seek. “I’m sorry but the weather is like this,” said Riccardo, my guide, as he gestured to the low-hanging fog with a dejected look as we drove closer to our starting point in the Parco Regionale dell’Alto Appennino Modenese in Modena.
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But neither the light rain nor the fog that partially enveloped the highest peak of Mount Cimone (2165m) bothered me; there is a certain romance that comes with misty views. And hiking for me has always been about the views along the way and the unusual ability of my own overworked hyperactive mind to take its unending checklist and chuck it out into the first lake/river/stream along the trail.
- The 500km. Alta Via trail of the Apennines runs through Emilia Romagna, Tuscany and the Marche regions and is home to beautiful lakes, dense forests, volcanic rocks, and rivers and streams.
- Different sections of the trail are suitable for different levels, but many sections are suitable for beginners and children. The trail is clearly marked and there are rest stops along the way. The entire trail is broken down into 27 sections, GPS trails and a mobile app useful for hikers are available online.
- If you’re curious about the flora and fauna of the park, here is some detailed information and here are recommended itineraries from two to seven days.
- If you love the outdoors as much as I do, I highly recommend hiking the Alta Via trail with Riccardo’s company Trekking Italy. They specialize in crafting custom tours complete with comfortable reasonably priced hotels and transportation so you can focus on the experiences, including trekking trips, food and wine tours and other unique experiences.
- To visit the section of the trail I did, you could overnight in the quiet town of Fiumalbo, a medieval town with narrow cobbled streets that’s home to just 1400 residents and quite a few churches for a village of its size, all located in its compact town center.
While some Italian cities are overridden with tourists, so much, that they need to find ways to limit the number of incoming vacationers, surprisingly, there are other parts of the country, often far more beautiful, that you’d find yourself sharing them with hardly anyone. The region of Emilia Romagna is home to many of these towns, villages, and trails, not to mention what is often considered the best food in the country and I, for one, couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to Italy.
Want to know what else I was up to in Emilia Romagna? I learnt how to cook the perfect pasta, went to Gelato University (really), explored the natural wonders of the Po Delta and interviewed one of four remaining professional violin-makers in Bologna.
I visited the area with Trekking Italy as a guest of Emilia Romagna Tourism through my participation in Blogville Italy 2016. My heartfelt thanks to them for hosting me. All opinions, as always, are honest and independent.
Have you gone hiking in Italy? Would you like to hike the Alta Via?
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