Into the Holy Forests

For the second hike with ndotl we decide to do another trip into the Casentinesi’s woods, but in the inner part of it. The idea is to do another loop of ~20 km, so after checking the map we decide to start it in Badia Prataglia. To reach it we drive along a portion of the long E45, starting in Cesena and going through the mountains. I hadn’t travel along it in a while and there are many trails in this zone. We have a quick breakfast in the local bakery (freshly baked maritozzi!) and we are ready to go.

The trail goes uphill and in the first part we sweat quite a bit (even because we are still a little tired from yesterday hike :D). All the first portion of our hike follows the CAI 72, that goes into the forest and crosses also a couple of fearn meadows.

There’s complete silence and we meet a very few number of hikers: going on a weekday has also this advantage! While we are talking about this we reach Rifugio Cotozzo, where on the contrary there are about 10 youngsters with a person who seems their guide. They don’t seem very happy to be on an hike, and -nagger mode on- seeing all of them sticked to their smartphone instead of enjoying the fresh air of the woods and nagging about the hike gets me really depressed -nagger mode off-. As soon as they leave we stop for a drink and we check the hut: very cool and comfortable, but without beds.

Then we begin to go downhill pretty quickly, to the real first stop of our hike: the hamlet of Camaldoli. Here we stop at the old Pharmacy (they sell an awesome chocolate), we drink at a nearby spring and we have a coffee at a nearby bar.

The we restart going uphill. The asphalted road leads to the old Camaldoli’s Hermitage, following the CAI 68 trail. The way is steep and it switches between asphalt and ground: there are many more people along the way, both by foot and by mountain bike. This because the Hermitage is a very known destination to pass a day in the mountains. Going up we pass nearby Traversari Lake. I’ve been in Camaldoli many times, but I never saw the lake during summer.

We finally reach the Hermitage… where we find a lot of tourists! I never saw so many people here, expecially on a weekday! We stop to drink again and we keep going on (stopping by at the only cache of the day, found very quickly). The path goes up until Gioghetto, a little mountain saddle on the way that goes doen from the Calla’s Pass.

We then follow the ridge up until Prato alla Penna, another mountain saddle reachable by car. We stay for a while eating something and resting our feet: the slope is finished and the following part will be way easier!

Now, following the GEA track (Grande Escursione Appenninica) we keep going towards the Rifugio Fangacci, a private hut managed by the local CAI section. The path is large and downhill, so we keep going very fast!

We reach the hut and we find another group of boys, probably in the middle of a summer camp, while they sing together. We check the hut (it seems nice, even if it’s closed) and from here we keep going downhill towards Badia Prataglia, along CAI 84 trail. We are pretty tired but we are near the end of our loop. We go deep into the woods coasting the little Isola river.

We emerge from the woods and in a couple of minutes we are back in Badia Prataglia. It was an excellent hike: less exploration than in others, but we saw some awesome places!


The bishop’s weed (aegopodium podagraria) it’s a very common flower found up to 1800 mts and it vaguely resemble parsley. The flower is easily recognizable and in the past was used to cure gout and arthritis.

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