In bici in Valdichiana

Landscapes of memory: mountain biking along the Gothic Line

From Montignoso to Monte Folgorito: Between history and nature


Massa Carrara Tourist Information Office

PLACES
Fontana di Corvaiola in loc. Piazza, Montignoso (145 m) - Fortezza Aghinolfi (188 m)- Ca’ di Venturello (309 m)- Colle di Piano (432 m)- Bivio Cerreta San Nicola (669 m)-Folgorito/Col di Melo 837 m)– Termo (826 m)– Pasquilio (768 m)- Il Torrione (591 m) - Sant’Eustachio (383 m) - Fontana di Corvaiola (145 m)

ROUTE
Length: 18.7 km (ring itinerary)
Duration: 3 hours
Height difference: 692 m
Elevation: min 145, max 837
Road: paved and dirt
Bike: mountain bike
Difficulty: average

DESCRIPTION
From the 4-way stop on the Aurelia, go up towards Montignoso to the locality of Piazza. Once past the residential area, take the via Guadagni on the right—it is a narrow carriageway that leads to the Fortezza Aghinolfi. Here turn left on the via Palatina and after 1.5km (locality of Ca’ Barzi), turn left again towards Venturiello. The first part is very steep and paved before reaching a dirt road that leads to the Piana di Fragolito. Following the western slopes of the Monte Folgorito you will arrive just under the peak.

Though the last part of the road is not very steep, it is disconnected at the end—it is usually necessary to walk your bike. From the Col di Melo take the mule trail to Termo, under the slopes of the Monte Carchio. From here, go down the SP1 to the fork for Pasquilio. Once past theBondana fork, proceed for Crocello di Montignoso by crossing the small towns of Cerreto and Sant’Eustachio and head back to Piazza.

WHAT TO SEE
Aghinolfi Castle: Located on the slopes of the Apuan Alps. The close proximity to the sea and to the via Francigena pilgrim road have long made this a strategic point in the area. During World War II, it was occupied by a Nazi unit and became an important part of the Gothic Line.  The route provides beautiful coastal panoramas.  There are specific Resistance and Gothic Line trails on Monte Folgorito.  In Pasquilio, visit the permanent photography exhibit at the cultural center near the “Chiesetta”.  In Sant’Eustachio, see the church with artwork from the 14th and 15th centuries. In Piazza, visit the Villa Schiff-Giorgini, a 19th century noble residence (now city hall), and the small San Vito church.
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Cycling