Emilia Romagna Slow: The Abbots Way


Emilia Romagna Slow: The Abbots Way

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Today the Emilia Romagna tourism staff will bring you to the historical route of “The Abbots Way”, also called the “Francigena of the Mountains”, that starts in Pavia and goes through the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines in the territories of Piacenza, Parma, Massa Carrara and the towns of Bobbio, Coli, Farini, Bardi, Borgotaro, and Pontremoli, going towards Lucca and Rome. Over 190 km of towers, castles, watchtowers in ruins and fortresses, churches and parishes, monastery cells, hospices, natural oases, hostels, common country inns, in a journey used by hundreds of hikers, bikers and riders, with numbers increasing each year, that will bring you also into The national Park of the Tosco-Emiliano Apennines, with its amazing nature.

The bistrot of the path is very ancient, and brings back to 600, when the Lombard where kings of these places and the monks used the path going from Pavia to Rome. Bobbio was linked to many important monasteries like Gravago, Corte Torresana and San Giovanni in Pontremoli, and it has a strategical position for the way to Rome and the control of the Northern Apennines. The route was used, both coming and going, also by Irish travelers, both ecclesiastics and lay people, who on their pilgrimage to Rome stopped in Bobbio for a visit to the tomb of Saint Columbanus, the great Irish Abbot, founder of the local Abbey and father, with Saint Benedict, of western monasticism.

Crossed Villages

The Abbots way from Bobbio to Pontremoli crosses many ancient villages: starting from Bobbio’s Abbey, from which in San Colombano starts the walk, and crossing the little hamlet of Boccolo dei Tassi, will brina us to Bardi, famous for its castle and placed near Parma, theatre of many medieval dedicated events or local folklore and customs.

Bardi’s Castles

Descended from Bardi along the city street (803) and crossing the Ceno river on the actual bridge you’ll go on going to Borgo Val di TaroThis is considered as the capital of the valley, the citadel of that Curtis Turris that was the most important  property of the San Colombano’s Abbey in Bobbio.

Hunchbacked bridge – ph Sara Branchi

Not so distant from Borgo Val di Taro, the natural riserve of Ghirardi, with 600 hectares, defends a Apennines hidden places from the centuries. From Borgo Val di Taro to Borgallo (m. 965) where, during the 19th century, there was San Bartolomeo hospice.  Here there is also Brattello’s forest, with many interesting naturalistic ways and technical services.


From the 1° of May don’t miss the trail of the “The Abbots Way” , that this year, commemorates its 10th birthday! The run is open for everyone and its 125km long, starting from Pontremoli (MS) and arriving in Bobbio (PC), in the beautiful scenery of the Apennines. This unique experience could be tasted in two different ways:

  1. One way: 125km
  2. Express Team: handover 4 x 30km or 2 x 60km

Nure river

Many walks are organized in Emilia-Romagna from May. If you are interested remind to have a look HERE.

Technical info and services

The 126,9 km of the Emilia-Romagna path from Bobbio to Pontremoli, considering overnight places, could be split in this way:

1° step: Bobbio – Mareto 22 km

2° step: Mareto – Groppallo 16,5 km

3° step: Groppallo – Bardi – km 21,2

4° step: Bardi – Borgotaro – km 33,3

5° step: Borgotaro – Pontremoli 33,9 km

For any info about [Slow Emilia Romagna] contact < m.valeri@aptservizi.com >


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