The difficult Ferrata Deanna Orlandini is a very varied itinerary that puts the hiker to a proper test. It has the great advantage of being at low altitude and therefore practicable most of the year. This factor should not be misleading as some sections are very athletic, exposed and difficult with basically no brackets to support you along the route.
The starting point of the itinerary is Crocefieschi in the province of Genoa. The town is located about 9 km from the town of Busalla, easily reachable from the homonymous motorway exit on the A7 between Genoa and Milan. The ideal place to leave the car is the car park just past the petrol station get off the road 50 meters and park on the left in the parking lot.
Directions for Google Maps available here.
From the parking lot we return to the road we have just traveled and climb towards the petrol station. Just below we find a brown sign "Reopasso" which we follow through the beautiful village. We continue in a northerly direction reaching a first saddle: white sign on asphalt to the right for Monte Cavallo. We ignore it and we stay on the paved road meeting the first yellow squares outside that mark the path. Climb up towards the obvious chapel of the Madonna della Guardia. The path continues towards the Rocche del Reopasso. Climb up to a saddle between Monte Castello and Anchise. At this point we meet a notice board with information on the path. It is convenient to wear the harness at this point. At this point we leave the path (which we will use for the return) and continue on the right in a steep climb following the orange signs. You reach another saddle and on the left near a spur the Ferrata Deanna Orlandini (30' from the car) attaches.
The Ferrata Deanna Orlandini is divided into 4 sectors with different characteristics and levels of difficulty:
Do not remove the harness at the end of the via ferrata. In fact the Carrega descends along an aided gully with inclined rocks. Follow a flat path through the trees to a saddle where there is a saddle: take the left path that steeply descends along the western slope of the Carrega. From here following the ridge we reach the Northern Biurca where we passed previously. Always following the yellow signs (empty square) and some aided sections, we now follow the normal route that descends the west ridge and then along the south wall of Biurca. Attention, coming down from the Biurca we must follow the path to the left (empty yellow squares) and not to the right (full yellow squares). We continue on exposed ledge protected with handrail cable. You then reach a picnic area and then following the path towards Crocefieschi backwards along the approach path. (1h from the end of the via ferrata - 4h total). Be careful to follow the yellow or orange marks present.
The conformation of the rock (agglomeration) makes the via ferrata very climbable. In many of the sections of the route it will be possible to proceed by climbing using the cable as self-insurance. However, this should not be misleading. The via ferrata is difficult despite the low altitude may lead to underestimate it. The 4 sectors in which the ferrata runs have different characteristics that make it pleasant in every sector. A quickdraw can be very useful to rest in a couple of overhanging sections if not in good athletic condition.
Another feature of the via ferrata is the possibility to bypass every single sector by following the paths marked in orange.
After going through the via ferrata we noticed some signs which indicate the area as a wild boar hunting zone in September, October, November and December on Wednesday and Sunday. If you can choose, we recommend avoiding those days.
The Ferrata Deanna Orlandini extends in the Appenino Ligure not far from the A7 motorway. There are no via ferratas in the near vicinity. The two via ferratas near the Zovallo pass (Ferrata Mazzocchi and Ferrata Adolfo Ferrari) require about 2 hours by car and are to be included in long itineraries. About the same distance by car is to be considered for the Via Ferrata of the Artists.
Approach: 0:25 h
Ferrata: 2:30 h
Itinerary: 4:00 h
Ferrata height difference: 200 m
Route difference: 250 m
Max altitude: 959 m
Length: 7 Km
Mountain Group: Appenino Ligure