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Visita il Mugello, culla dei Medici, a due passi da Firenze e le bellezze toscane

Walking and Biking



From Bibbiena to Verna, via the old provincial road

On the pathways of Dino Campana

Access : Bibbiena is reached by car from Firenze by the highway n. 70 from Passo della Consuma and from Arezzo by the highway n. 71 from Passo dei Mandrioli The little town is reachable also by train as there are stations all along the Arezzo-Pratovecchio-Stia line. The exact starting point of the itinerary is located on the highway n.71 near the locality Corsalone. Here, right along the right hand bank of the stream Corsalone, runs the unsurfaced road which will be used in the proposed itinerary.
The itinerary is historic from all points of view. In fact, in runs the total length of the road which goes up from Bibbiena to Verna and which represented, until 60 years ago, the best connecting road between the Casentinese valley and the Franciscan Hermitage. For this it is also probably the road used by Campana to climb up to the Sanctuary after having gone down to the "aretino" (of Arezzo) valley bottom, and exactly, to Stia. (see itinerary n. 3) Many panoramic images along the route in fact, bring to mind the Tuscan poet.
Going beyond the always open orange gate, a tranquil walk along the level unsurfaced road, which heads towards Campi. The route to be taken is made particularly evident by the frequent white/red signs of pathway n.043 CAI. Joined soon after by a bumpy tongue of asphalt, there follow to the right quickly reaching the few houses of Campi sparse in the rural valley bottom of the stream Corsalone. From here follow the asphalt to then turn right on a straight little unmade upwards road which goes close to the Corsalone. Having passed the latter (at one time by a bridge which collapsed after a recent flood) begin to climb, immediately reaching an old rural built up area. In this tract, the old road for La Verna is also particularly evident in all its width and in its original paving.
After a short while the road, which in the meantime has been transformed by overgrowing vegetation into a cramped mule track, meets the new asphalted road which rises to Verna. This must be crossed to again follow, on the opposite side, the paving of the ancient road. The track scrambles across woody areas with bushy undergrowth, with some straight stretches towards Case Nuove. In fact, having again met asphalt turn on this to the left and, soon after, go between the houses of a little inhabited centre (still following the white/red signs). Cross the highway and go up for a short tract, outside the woods, keeping to the paved road which follows the large crest overhanging the asphalt road.
Meeting the highway for the Nth time cross it again going on the opposite side to find the narrow pathway which corresponds to the ancient road to Verna. A few hundred metres are all that is necessary to return to the asphalt, near a red house belonging to "Anas" (a state company who maintain the highways). From here it is no longer possible to follow faithfully the ancient road, it being too overgrown, but white/red signs invite you to keep parallel to it following open fields used for grazing. It is on this tract uphill that Verna appears, recorded by Campana as "on the interminable stubble ever taller, the natural rocks emerged like bulls to support the tiny convent which shone with rays of light in its window settings".
With a last effort the highway is reached again right under the steep rocks of Monte Penna, near the few old houses of Beccia. Leaving the highway, you pass in fact among the houses, get onto the old road still paved, which allows you to climb to Verna. After a few hundred metres you find yourself in front of the front door of a Francescan hermitage, inside which it is possible to find the "corridor where The Way of the Cross of St Frances' life took place" and "other deep rock fissures where a stone stairway goes deeply down in a shadow without memory"., or feel "the icy breath of the caverns " and that "the bell of the little Francescan church tings in the sadness of the cloister".

Time required 5.30 hours
Vertical height 820 m
Maps   Multigraphic 1 :25.000 n. 33-35


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

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