The ridge of the Apennines between Tuscany and Emilia rising from the Cerreto Pass to the Lagastrello Pass is one of the most Alpine of the entire northern Apennine ridge. The ridge is cut at the height of Monte Alto by a sandstone stone reaches the Alpe di Succiso (2017 m) and one of the highest peaks of the northern Apennine and second of the Reggio province. Although the 3 aided sections do not present characteristics of particular difficulty, the itinerary presented here is long and requires attention, especially in the case of wet ground.
There are 3 ways to start the itinerary (Succiso Nuovo, Passo del Lagastrello and Passo del Cerreto). The report here considers Succiso Nuovo as the starting point of the itinerary. Succiso Nuovo is a small village in the Reggio area near the point where the provinces of Reggio Emilia, Parma and Massa-Carrara meet. It can be reached either from Reggio Emilia or from Parma or Aulla (A15).
Directions for Google Maps available here.
In the case of departure from the Passo del Lagastrello it is necessary to consider a return with an uphill section. In the case of departure from the Passo del Cerreto there is to add at least 1 hour to the length of the itinerary and the path 00 on the ridge before Monte Alto has grade II stretches in free.
Leaving the car along the road near the church of Succiso Nuovo, follow the path CAI 653 that from Succiso Nuovo leaves along the church. At the first junction keep right (CAI 653/673) ignoring CAI 655 on the left towards Rio Pascolo. At the next junction turn downhill taking the CAI 653 which will lead us to ford the Liocca Torrent - be careful in winter and in spring to reach (a pair of telescopic sticks can be very useful). Maintain the CAI 653 ignoring the bifurcation for CAI 653 B and continue in a constant and never excessive climb up to CAI 657. Undertake CAI 657 which will lead us to the Città di Sarzana Hut (1580 m - 2h 30 ') and then - finally - on the Apennine ridge on the Monte Acuto saddle (1742 m - 3h from the parking lot).
Ferrata and aided route:
On the ridge continue to the left on the first easy and then steeper path and in some sections aided in the direction of Punta Buffanaro (3h 30 '). This section is known as the Groppi di Camporaghena and alternates stretches of path that are sometimes exposed and aided. We first reach Sella di Punta Buffanaro (1752 m) and then the steep path Punta Buffanaro (1879 m - 4h 30 '). Continuing along the path, which is at times aided, we go down to the wider ridge and then reach Monte Alto (1904 m - 5h). At this point it is worthwhile to take a break in view of the second half of the itinerary and to enjoy the view that stretches from the Ligurian Sea to the west (clearly visible the island of Palmaria in front of Porto Venere in the Gulf of La Spezia), to the bold Apuan Alps to the south, to the Alpe di Succiso to the north.
From Monte Alto it is necessary to descend to the Pass of Pietratagliata (1779 m). You can descend through the CAI 673 (20 ') or stay on the sharp ridge and walk the 3 aided sections known as the Ferrata di Monte Alto. All stretches must be covered in climbing. The first section encountered is definitely the most exposed and technically demanding (moderate difficulty). At the end of the aided sections you reach the Pass (5h 30 ').
From Monte Alto you can return to Succiso Nuovo via the CAI path 673 or - recommended - continue uphill towards the summit of Alpe di Succiso. The first uphill section is aided and helps to overcome a rocky spur of about 10 meters. Once this section has been passed, the exposed and aided parts of the route can be defined as completed.
The rest of the trip is a tiring path that leads us first to the top of the Alpe di Succiso peak (2017 m - 6h 45 '), then to the Sella del Monte Casarola (1963m - 7h 15') and along the monotonous CAI 655 downhill to Succiso Nuovo (9 h).
The aided sections are close to the Groppi di Camporaghena, which are considered to be parentheses within a wide-ranging trip in one of the most arduous and remote parts of the northern Apennines. The trip is of considerable development (over 22 Km) and requires a good training. The technical difficulties are modest even if it is definitely advisable not to recommend the trip in case of uncertain forecasts given the lack of support points, except for the hut City of Sarzana (open in the months of June - July - August and at weekends).
For the type of itinerary it is impossible to combine further trips on the same day. If you depart from the Passo del Cerreto, it is possible to chain the trip to the adjacent day Aided path of Monte Gendarme. From Succiso Nuovo you can reach Castelnovo nè Monti where there are the two via ferrata to the Pietra di Bismantova: the Ferrata degli Alpini and the Ferrata dell'Ultimo Sole. Far from Succiso Nuovo but still in the province of Reggio Emilia, we report the Ferrata del Monte Penna and the Ferrata del Barrando del Dolo. Going down instead on the Tuscan side meets the Lunigiana so you can reach the Apuan Alps where the first ferrata we meet is the Ferrata Tordini Galligani with Bird Lace.
Approach: 3:00 h
Ferrata: 2:30 h
Itinerary: 9:00 h
Ferrata height difference: 100 m
Route difference: 1325 m
Max altitude: 1904 m
Length: 16 Km
Mountain Group: Appenino Tosco-Emiliano