Near Civago in the high Appenino Reggiano was the Barranco del Dolo via ferrata inaugurated in 2015. The via ferrata goes up a 200 meter rock blade that from the bed of the Dolo torrent goes up to the road that leads to the town. The ferrata takes place in a wonderful environment with the river behind it and climb a rock formation with a good degree of difficulty resulting in a satisfying albeit brief trip.
A few kilometers before reaching the town of Civago, after a bend there is a sign indicating the beginning of the approach path. Unfortunately, the sign is more visible for those arriving from Civago than for those arriving from Reggio Emilia. However, to intuition you can see the open space in which to park the cars and then take the path.
Directions for Google Maps available here.
After leaving the car on the narrow parking lot, you start an unusual approach. In stead of hikiing up, you will hike downhill by following a track after a large sign. You walk downhill following many white signs on trees and a steep track bring us within 20 minutes next to a creek and now again following the white signs of thestart of the via ferrata literally a couple of meters above the water.
The ferrata begins diagonally and it gains slowly altitude until you reach a couple of vertical steps. Despite not being difficult from a technical point of view, they give you theidea of the type of route and of rock (compact sandstone) you will face during the climb. All the vertical walls are rather challenging but fun. The well posititied metal brackets are of a great help in the progression as the rock is rather smooth and without evident footholds. After ending a third vertical wall, you reach a connecting path which leads us in front of a smooth slab where you will climb vertically by using the metal brackets.
Once terminated this slab, you will find a traverse where we reccomend to take a break before tackling the key passage of this route (20' from the beginning). You start on thisexposed horizontal traverse goind around a hedge and you will face a open chimney where you will quickly realize the absence of good footholds. The initial part of the climb is to climb in split using the rock on the left side. After the first 5 meters, the difficulty level augment and you will find yourself using the wire to pass this hard part (V grade in free climbing). The key passage is about 15 meters long. Once terminated this passage, you reach a large ledge where you can rest and notice the bolts of the nearby climbing route developing on the opposite side of this rock blade compared to the via ferrata (30' from the beginning).
Gained back the energy, we tackle a second exposed horizontal traverse. This passage is similar to the previous one, despire shorter. The difficult points are passed by a couple of pulled tractions on the rope, especially in the first section , after that the brackets help us to reach the ending part of the via ferrata (45' from the beginning).
Continue on the obvious path until you reach a CAI path near some cliffs. Continue to the left now near the road where we parked the car.
The via ferrata is of moderate difficulty except for the two vertical slabs, exposed and without grips in the final part and for this reason it should not be underestimated. These two traits, albeit short, raise the difficulty level of the via ferrata making it unsuitable for inexperienced and untrained people. The equipment is in excellent condition. It is a via ferrata that lends itself very well to being used in mid-season and, in the case of mild temperatures, even in winter.
The ferrata in question is often combined with the other ferragata of Civago - la Ferrata del Monte Penna - which can be reached in 5 minutes by car and 30 minutes by approach.
If you want to complete the tour of the ferrata in Reggio Emilia, you can also combine it to the via ferrata:
Approach: 0:20 h
Ferrata: 1:00 h
Itinerary: 0:10 h
Via Ferrata gap: 135 m
Route difference: 235 m
Max altitude: 950 m
Length: 1.7 Km