After spending a few weeks touring Italy and tasting all its deliciousness without any sort of restraint, I was ready to enjoy some time in nature and get active to burn some of those calories off. At the same time, I wanted to see how much I could do after a couple of months recovering from a sprained knee.
Fortunately, on this occasion I had the opportunity to sample some more of the legendary Italian hospitality thanks to BlogVille Emilia Romagna, an innovative project by the regional Tourism Board for which they have invited bloggers to see what their region has to offer. With the help of their colleagues in Parma, they organized a special itinerary that included a hike to Monte Marmagna, located within the Appennino Tosco Emiliano National Park. Additionally, they provided me with a guide, Gemma Bonardi from Liberi Spazi, to make sure I didn’t get into any trouble :D
When we set out on our hike it was already mid-morning on a cloudy day. We started from the Rifugio Lagdei, which had kindly provided us with accommodation the night before. The refuge was built on a plain at 1250 meters above sea level, there is a stream nearby and it’s surrounded by forest; making it the ideal starting point for some of the most beautiful excursions in the park.
At the beginning, the rocky trail goes through the thick forest, which provides a nice and cool shade. On the way, we saw some nice carvings made in stones; but apparently they were made in more recent times. After 40 minutes we made it to Lago Santo, the biggest glacial lake in the Emilia-Romagna region, located at 1507 meters above sea level.
After passing the lake, the vegetation grows thinner; but as we got higher the views were more magnificent. One of the things I enjoyed most about hiking with Gemma was all the information she gave me about the local fauna & flora. While hiking we heard a few times the call of the cuckoo bird, and Gemma explained that they are quite opportunistic creatures as they lay one egg in other birds’ nests; and then their young push the other little birds out of the nest and gets raised by the other species.
Finally, after about two hours from our starting point we reached the summit of Monte Marmagna at 1852 meters above sea level. We stopped to take in the beautiful views, have our lunch and take some more photos. Normally, you can see the as far as the sea from the top of the mountain; but not on that day.
We noticed the clouds getting thicker and it looked like rain might follow, so we decided to start our way down before getting caught in it. In the end, I was happy that I was able to hike well and that my knee didn’t bother me much; even if I still didn’t feel like I was totally recovered yet. At least I was in good enough shape that Gemma said I was one of the strongest girls she’s met, so that’s pretty cool :)
If you want to get more information about the Appennino Tosco Emiliano National Park, you can visit their site here. Also, if you’re planning a trip to Italy, you should have a look at the BlogVille site for more information about this fantastic region. Finally, I want to thank again Gemma Bonardi from Liberi Spazi and the Rifugio Lagdei for their great Italian hospitality. And if you’d like to see more photos of my time in Parma, have a look at my photo gallery.
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