2 - Lago Santo Parmense - Pratospilla

The long stage runs along the entire “Ridge of the Lakes”, a charming succession of glacial depressions, rocky ridges, polished slabs and grasslands.

  • Trail Conditions: On foot

The harsh high altitude environment is softened by an extraordinary collection of ponds and by wondrous blooms for most of the summer.

From the shores of Lake Santo one goes up to the slopes of Mount Marmagna, where the ridge path starts: it's a very scenic but strenuous route because of all the ups and downs. Sharp rocky ridges and very steep channels fall towards the Lunigiana territory, whereas on the Emilian side the slopes are gentler: they descend through hollows and glacial tiers separated by ridges and rocks, up to the vast forests that cover the Val Parma. After skirting the wooded valley of the Riserva Statale di Guadine Pradaccio, established over forty years ago, one can see the Capanne di Badignana, an old barn now used as a bivouac that may be useful in bad weather. Several stretches of water flow further down, below the path: the tiny Lake Bicchiere and, further away, Lake Scuro and the Lagoni, embedded in the beech woods at the foot of the Rocca Pumacciolo. At last one reaches Mount Sillara (1859 m), the highest peak in the Parma area. The nearby Sillara Lakes, just below the ridge, seem to float in the sky. On a clear day the view stretches up to the Ligurian Sea, Corsica and to the Alps, and yet the most impressive is the view below, that of the valley of the Bagnone: a green chasm dotted by lighter spots that are nothing but villages, located nearly one and a half kilometres further down. At Giovarello Pass the descent starts on the Emilian side: one touches the modest Lake Martini, then a steep stone valley leads to the Cagnin bivouac. The descent continues in the forest, grazing Lake Verde and arriving at the dam of Lake Ballano, which in the summer can also be reached via the little road that climbs up from Trefiumi, in Val Cedra. From here one gets to Prato Spilla via an easy walk in the beech forest.

Further information

2 lap of: Alta Via dei Parchi

Accommodation: Albergo Prato Spilla, Rifugio Lagoni, Il Bivacco Capanne di Badignana

Bridge along the cycle facilities in Pratospilla
Bridge along the cycle facilities in Pratospilla
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