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Sentiero dei Ducati. Walking and cycle trails in Reggio Emilia’s ancient dukedoms

Thursday, 09 December 2021 13:11

With the addition of the Sentiero dei Ducati trail the Emilia-Romagna region brings the number of itineraries included in its Regional Circuit Pilgrimage Routes to 20. A slow tourism project unique in Europe, in its ability to offer complete tourist packages with guided experiences (also to be enjoyed independently), lasting either one or several days.

Discovering ancient pathways

The Sentiero dei Ducati from Quattro Castella to Sarzana, and to Luni in Liguria, consists of 11 stages on foot that cover the beautiful area once divided between the dukedoms of Modena and Reggio Emilia on the one hand, and Parma and Piacenza on the other. The route crosses the Mab UNESCO Tuscan-Emilian Apennines Reserve, which recently saw the addition of even more new land, and is one of the 70 projects included in the Reserve's Action Plan. 


Emilia Romagna holds the European record with 20 trails

Regional Tourism Councillor Andrea Corsini emphasizes: “Emilia’s walking and pilgrimage trails continue to grow, and now we have a new gem, the Sentiero dei Ducati, straddling Emilia and Liguria. This is an uninterrupted swathe of vineyards, castles, woods, ancient churches and villages, populated by a rich variety of plants, from beeches to holm oaks and from chestnuts to olive trees. There are now 20 Emilia Romagna Trails, a European record that makes our region one of the most competitive in the field of international slow tourism.”

Crossing mountain passes

The entire route is outlined by trail markers and signposts and is almost 160 km long, with an ascent of 7 km and a 7.3 km descent, from just over 150 metres asl in the Matildic village of Quattro Castella, to the over 1,200 metres of the Lagastrello Pass. Mountain biking routes are intertwined across the six trekking stages, passing from the plain to the sea and featuring some of the most impressive mountain ranges of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines up to the Apuan Alps

Through charming villages and past brooding castles 

There are other hidden gems along the route such as the Via Matildica del Volto Santo, the Via di Linari, the Alta Via dei Parchi, the Sentiero Italia Cai and the Via Francigena all of which are well-known ancient trails. The Sentiero dei Ducati also meets the Matildic Castles of Reggio (Bianello and Canossa) and the fascinating valleys of Tassobbio and Tassaro, continuing on to the top of the Tuscan-Emilian ridge at Passo del Lagastrello before descending into the upper Lunigiana, all the while flanked by charming villages and brooding castles. 

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