Parco Regionale dei Sassi di Roccamalatina: The Path of the Little Bridges/Il Sentiero Dei Ponticelli
For those of you who have not been to the Sassi di Roccamalatina Regional Park you are in for a treat.
These beautiful rocks have a truly spectacular appearance because they rise over 70 m in height with respect to the surrounding land and have truly unique shapes. The Sassi di Roccamalatina are located within a protected area of 2300 hectares with over 100km of hiking trails. If you complete the circular route, you will have a view of the rocks along the hike. If not, it might be worth a side trip as they are truly unique.
For our recommended excursion, there are 2 options. The first is a 4km out and back route and the second is an 8km circular route. Both options include the fun and adventurous Path of the little bridges (Il Sentiero dei Ponticelli).
How to get there:
The Parco dei Sassi di Roccamalatina is located in the municipality of Guiglia, about thirty kilometers from Modena. Our itinerary starts from Pieve di Trebbio where you can park your car in one of the two free car parks or on the roadside.
About the hike:
The Path of the Ponticelli itself is fairly easy and short, but it is an out and back. For families with hikers under the age of 6, I would suggest that you head back the same way instead of doing the circular route (4km). For those looking for more of a challenge and some beautiful views can continue and complete a circular route (8km).
The path of the Ponticelli winds through a beautiful forest full of wildflowers and bird song. After an initial steep descent you reach the bed of the Rio Frascara, the path continues with gentle ups and downs traversing the stream 20 times on a series of wooden bridges.
The bridges are all different: there are classic bridges, swaying Tibetan bridges, narrower bridges composed of a single smooth vertical trunk and some without side rails. This is usually great fun for kids! Each crossing is named after an animal or a plant that inhabits the forest so it also has an educational bonus.
At the end of the bridges, the path starts to rise again, moving away from the stream. You can stop for a picnic in the meadows there. Don’t forget to pack a blanket to sit on.
After your lunch/break you can either choose to head back (Option 1) or continue on to enjoy the rest of the hike (Option 2):
Option 1: The Sentiero dei Ponticelli only: about 2km one way, basically flat (apart from the initial steep descent). Children of 3+ should be able to walk this section in about 1-1.5 hours one way (Depending on how many insects they find, number of times they want to cross the bridges and the many other distractions kids find along the way).
Option 2: The complete loop: it is a route of about 8km in total, of which the second part has a lot more elevation gain and is partially uphill on asphalt. The views are worth the effort. This route will have around 3-5 hours in total of walking time depending on the level of the group.
- This is a hiking path so appropriate footwear is required. At minimum, proper athletic shoes are needed. If you have them; hiking poles are also a great option to have.
- The first part of the path can be cool and shady even on hot summer days and the second part is largely exposed so please dress accordingly.
- The asphalted section in Option 2 is fully exposed to the sun: a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen would all be good options to have with you.
- You need to supply your own snacks and picnic lunch. Don’t forget a towel or blanket to spread out on the ground and a bag to collect your waste. I would also suggest checking for ticks after the hike.
- There are no refreshment points along the route so ensure you carry enough water and food.
- The Sentiero dei Ponticelli is not accessible to strollers.
After the hike, for anyone who would like to toast a great day out in nature, you can meet at White Dog Brewery for a beer or two in their beautiful Beer Garden. The Brewery is only about a 10 minute drive from where we end the hike and has a beautiful view of the Modenese hills.
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