Top Hikes in Italy: the Alta Via – Trail of the Parks


Top Hikes in Italy: the Alta Via – Trail of the Parks

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Discovering the “Alta Via Trail of the Parks“, the trail that crosses the Apennines of Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany.

A trail of 550 kilometers through eight National Natural Parks and connected by a single billboard along the Apennine ridge that divides the regions of Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany, and Marche.
This is, in short, the “Alta Via Trail of the Parks”, a route divided into 27 stages that will take you to discover the flora and fauna of the Italian Apennines. A large open-air gym where hikers of all levels will be able to appreciate the beauty of the Italian mountains, in an equipped path, maintained and structured through refreshment points and shelters.

Alta Via Trail of the Parks

Prato Spilla – Ph. Alta Via Trail of the Parks

A fantastic ride through the northern Apennines, where the succession of mountain panoramas and ridges will allow you to immerse yourself in today’s Apennine reality.

Nature and culture, therefore, of one of the most fascinating mountain areas of Italy, the border between the continental European and Mediterranean climate. Glacial circuses, lakes immersed in high-altitude meadows, endless forests and streams, volcanic cliffs and gypsum cliffs: not only is the Alta Via an experience of the environment that makes up the variegated landscape but allows you to do so in the most simple way, walking slowly.

The richness of the naturalistic and environmental aspects is matched by a series of cultural traces left over the centuries: ancient connecting roads and donkey-back bridges, monasteries, abbeys, and hermitages; but also the humble traces left over the centuries by peasant life in the harsh mountain environment: ruins of houses and stables, shelters for woodcutters and shepherds, bunkers, centuries-old chestnut groves and remains of terraces. Residues of a civilization that in ancient times organized the areas of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines as a gateway to the Italian peninsula and area from which to draw fundamental raw materials.

Alta Via Trail of the Park

Vena del Gesso Romagnola Park – Ph. Fiorenzo Rossetti.

Walking today along the Alta Via – Trail of the Parks is a journey into a Nature that nowadays is taking back its reign, retracing the story of a traditional mountain economy, which has been extensively tested, and which today has disappeared, leaving vast areas uninhabited and free to follow the natural evolution towards more mature and complex environmental forms.

But the Alta Via Trail of the Parks is not an itinerary you must to take all at once, and can also be tackled in a few stages or enjoying many events organized along its route. For all those who intend to walk along the Alta Via in single stretches, and only for a few days, useful publications have been made available where to find the general map of the entire route, the detailed cartography for stages and places where to book.

For hikers who love to combine of nature and technology, we would like to point out that the GPS tracks of the entire trail are available for free, along with a dedicated App that will help you find your way along the route.
If you want to check the route of the Alta Via Trail of the Parks from home, with all the information available, we suggest you access the dedicated site where there are also cycle routes. An extra opportunity to download weight from your backpack, having the convenience of always knowing our location perfectly and that of the nearest accommodations.

If you want to plan a day or a holiday, we advise you to take a look at the connections with public transport located along the entire path. “Alta Via Trail of the Parks is also part of the European project Hiking Europe which led to the development of 6 tourist routes, thanks to the collaboration with the Italian National Parks.

Alta Via Trail of the Parks

Carpegna Mount Ph. Davide Frattini

For lovers of two wheels we also point out that the Alta Via – Trail of the Parks can also be tackled by Mountain Bike thanks to local cycle excursion groups that created a path for the two wheels, following the pedestrian itinerary rich in tips with codes of conduct with the rules to respect the nature while along the path. A magnificent 672 km long crossing, with 24 thousand meters in altitude and divided into 28 stages. A path which can be reached also with train allowing you to easily reach the Alta Via.

So if you love silence, nature and you can’t wait to escape from the city chaos; if you like to sleep in uncontaminated places, far from inhabited areas, cellular networks and the comforts of city life, Alta Via Trail of the Parks is the experience you need, with fascinating views, spectacular night bivouacs and a fantastic experience admiring and walking in the mountains of our Apennines.


Explorer and Adventurer: loves sailing the oceans, climbing the highest mountains and surfing on the waves of the web

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