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To the Abbazia di Vallombrosa from Bagno di Cetica

Skiing round the Apennine hermitages

This itinerary involves crossing Pratomagno, one of the most panoramic mountain areas of Tuscany. From its meadowy ridge there are views of the the entire Casentino valley, the Valdarno. the Chianti hills and, further away, the mountains of Abetone and the Garfagnana.

Put your skis on at Bagno di Cetica and walk up the main road, which makes a number of wide curves before arriving at the broad track running beneath the ridge of Pratomagno. Take the right-hand branch and follow it as far as Varco di Reggello and from here to the Croce al Cardeto. At this point there are two options for getting to the Ristorante Giuntini. Either continue along the unpaved track (advisable when there is heavy snowfall) or follow the ridge (the red and white signs are hard to see in winter) which soon brings you to a track that runs along a little above the main road (the road disappears completely when there is heavy snow; if the snow is icy there may be difficulties of grip if you have non-laminated skis). The two tracks join up again shortly before an unpaved road going off left towards Macinaia. It is the first wide track you come to on the left. Take it. After a flat stretch, it begins to descend quite steeply. After passing (and ignoring) a road off to the left closed off by a bar (near the Macinaia refuge hut), continue along the main road, which loses height and enters the forest of Vallombrosa. When you reach the Saltino–Vallombrosa road (kept open in winter) go along beside it, skiing where possible, until you reach the large meadow that opens up on the left. Keep to the side of the road until you arrive at the abbey of Vallombrosa. The return trip takes you back the way you came as far as Macinaia. Turn right here along the barred-off road going downhill. At a big, right-bending curve, leave the wide track and go left along a mule track you can ski along without difficulty. After an open, steep, downhill stretch, the track enters the wood almost on the flat. An uphill stretch is the sign that you are close to a small wooden refuge hut (unfortunately closed). From here take the unpaved track leading to Croce al Cardeto and then follow the route you came by back to Bagno di Cetica.

Distance 23 km (round trip)
Difference in height 750 m
Time 6.30 hours
Level of difficulty   Medium
Map Multigraphic 1:25.000 "Massiccio del Pratomagno"
Suggested period December/March
Rest point/accommodation Abbey guest house, tel. 055/862074
Getting there From Arezzo take the SS. no. 71 as far as Bibbiena and then the SS. 70 for Consuma. After passing Borgo alla Collina, take the road for Castel S. Nicolò and then for Cetica. From the village, take the wide, unpaved road (in good condition) climbing to Bagno di Cetica. If it has snowed at low altitudes, leave the car at Cetica. This adds as much as 7 km to the overall distance, making it difficult to complete in one day.


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Text and picture: Cinzia Pezzani & Sergio Grillo
Translation: Jeremy Carden


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