Difficulty level

E

Hiking

The Poggio Castiglione ring route: an old mining railway in the Ritasso torrent gorge

DOWNLOAD THE NATURE PATH PDF

The route is part of the “7 Sentieri Natura delle Riserve Naturali” (7 Nature Trails of the Nature Reserves) and it also features a guidebook with marked and numbered waypoints along the way.

The start of the route coincides with a picnic area in the Reserve.

We recommend avoiding it immediately after heavy rain because there are many fords near it.

This is the most spectacular route to discover the important minerals of Val di Sterza and to learn about the mining history of this portion of the Metalliferous Hills. Initially immersed in the ecosystems of the Sterza and Ritasso, it follows a 19th-century railway track created to transport minerals from Villetta Station, the terminus of a rich lignite mine, to Casino di Terra.

Along the route there are trenches dug into the serpentine rock and spectacular stone bridges. These are evocative places, set in highly natural environments, with garrigues, rocky thickets and rare flora. After the branch-off that leads to the Villetta basin and the “steccaia” (protective pilework) on the Ritasso, the trail climbs towards Poggio Castiglione, where magnesite, dolomite, quartz and chalcedony minerals and traces of their past exploitation can be found. In the final section, the high scrub gives way to a beautiful tall oak wood with plentiful traces of its denizens: wild boar, roe deer and fallow deer.

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Itinerary

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DOWNLOAD THE NATURE PATH PDF

The route is part of the “7 Sentieri Natura delle Riserve Naturali” (7 Nature Trails of the Nature Reserves) and it also features a guidebook with marked and numbered waypoints along the way.

The start of the route coincides with a picnic area in the Reserve.

We recommend avoiding it immediately after heavy rain because there are many fords near it.

This is the most spectacular route to discover the important minerals of Val di Sterza and to learn about the mining history of this portion of the Metalliferous Hills. Initially immersed in the ecosystems of the Sterza and Ritasso, it follows a 19th-century railway track created to transport minerals from Villetta Station, the terminus of a rich lignite mine, to Casino di Terra.

Along the route there are trenches dug into the serpentine rock and spectacular stone bridges. These are evocative places, set in highly natural environments, with garrigues, rocky thickets and rare flora. After the branch-off that leads to the Villetta basin and the “steccaia” (protective pilework) on the Ritasso, the trail climbs towards Poggio Castiglione, where magnesite, dolomite, quartz and chalcedony minerals and traces of their past exploitation can be found. In the final section, the high scrub gives way to a beautiful tall oak wood with plentiful traces of its denizens: wild boar, roe deer and fallow deer.

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Hiking difficulty scale

T - Tourist

Itineraries on small roads, mule tracks or easy paths, with clearly evident routes that do not pose uncertainties or problems of orientation. They generally take place below 2000 m and usually constitute access to mountain pastures or refuges. They require some knowledge of the mountain environment and physical preparation for walking.

E - Hiking

Routes that almost always turn on paths, or on traces of passage in various terrain (pastures, debris, stony ground), usually with signs. They require a certain sense of orientation, as well as a certain experience and knowledge of the mountainous territory, walking training, as well as appropriate footwear and equipment. Normally the difference in altitude is between 500 and 1000m.

EE - Expert hikers

Routes not always marked and which require a good ability to move on various mountain terrains. They can be paths or even faint traces that wind over rough or steep terrain, with steep and slippery slopes, scree and short snowfields that can be overcome without the use of climbing equipment. They need a good mountain experience, firm footing and good physical preparation. It is also necessary to have adequate equipment and equipment, as well as a good sense of direction. Normally the difference in height is greater than 1000m.

EEA - Expert hikers with mountaineering equipment

Routes that require the use of via ferrata equipment (lanyards, harness, heat sink, helmet, etc.). They can be equipped paths or real via ferratas. It is necessary to know how to use the technical equipment safely and have a certain habit of exposure and mountaineering terrain.

MTB difficulty scale

TC - Tourist

Route on dirt roads with a compact and smooth surface, suitable for vehicles.

BC - For cyclists with good technical skills

Route on very bumpy dirt roads or on mule tracks and paths with a rather bumpy but fairly smooth surface or compact but irregular, with some natural obstacles (eg rock steps or roots).

OC - For cyclists with excellent technical skills

As above but on very bumpy and / or very irregular paths, with significant presence of obstacles.

EC - Maximum level for the cycle excursionist

Path on very irregular paths, characterized by steps and obstacles in continuous succession, which require trial-type techniques.

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