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Tuscany Mountain Walks

Vias Lizza & Vandelli

(Anybody choosing to follow this walk does so at their own risk and is entirely responsible for their own safety)

 

Car Journey from Villa

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Reference Material

 

 

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Main Roads
Minor Roads

One-Way Journey Time

30 miles on Autoroute to Massa  
7 miles up to Resceto

1:00

Tuscany North Book
Bocchi Book
Map details

Walk 44, Page 140
Page128, partly described as Ascent of Monte Sella
Carta del Sentieri e Rifugio No. 101/102
 

Recommended Route Description

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Overview
The "Recommended Route" is that described in the Tuscany North book. It is an anticlockwise circuit visiting the now disused marble quarries (Cave Cruze) on the ridge between Monte Sella and Passo Tambura.

It ascends via an old quarry road, Via Lizza, originally built to transport quarried marble blocks down to Resceto, and descends on Via Vandelli, an ancient trans-Apuane road bulit to support commerce between Modena and Massa.

Detail
Leave Resceto on path 165 (Via Lizza) which ascends the broad stream bed eastwards from below the church. Remains of many of the constructions built to provide a steady sloping road are visible everywhere Blue Camera Image for Linking Photos . It is difficult to imagine how quarrymen were able to transport large blocks of marble down such steep inclines using little more thant hemp ropes and pulleys.

The path follows the valley for just over a mile, crossing the river bed several times en route. The valley is very rocky and steep sided Blue Camera Image for Linking Photos, and provides some excellent rugged scenery. After 1 mile it starts to climb gently out of the valley, up the right hand side. Shortly after this a path crossroads is reached. Path 164 goes off to the left, utilising a Via Ferrata to go directly to Rifugio Nello Conti. Path160 goes off to the right towards Monte Sella Blue Camera Image for Linking Photos .

Continue to follow path 165 (Via Lizza) which now climbs steeply up the right side of the valley, through a heavily wooded area, arriving on a large ledge Blue Camera Image for Linking Photos complete with the ruins of an old winding station - a good place for a break Blue Camera Image for Linking Photos .

The view up ahead is seemingly upwards forever Blue Camera Image for Linking Photos. The road is still in very good condition Blue Camera Image for Linking Photos in these upper reaches and as height is gained there are wonderful views back down the valley Blue Camera Image for Linking Photos and out beyond Massa to the sea Blue Camera Image for Linking Photos.

The gradient eases a little as a large rusty storage tank is passed Blue Camera Image for Linking Photos but gets tougher again on the final approach Blue Camera Image for Linking Photos to the first of the quarries. The view back to the winding house is a constant reminder of the severity of the ascent Blue Camera Image for Linking Photos. The frequent pulley axle holes are are all that remain of the systems used to lower marble blocks down this incredible road Blue Camera Image for Linking Photos.

Via Lizza finshes after the second quarry where a large derilect building watches over the valley Blue Camera Image for Linking Photos and Rifugio Nello Conti, a few hundred feet below Blue Camera Image for Linking Photos. From here a path of no more than a few hundred metres rises to the signposted ridge behind Blue Camera Image for Linking Photos. On the far side of the ridge the huge Arnetola quarry scars the far hillside Blue Camera Image for Linking Photos.

Returning to the far end of the derelict building reveals an unsigned path which descends steeply, with cable support, to Rifugio Nello Conti Blue Camera Image for Linking Photos.Blue Camera Image for Linking Photos. This difficult descent can be avoided by adding an extra loop to the north via Passo Tambura. ((0.7 miles). However, even this route has a short exposed ridge traverse with cable support (200m)

From Nello Conti the views back to the mountainside above Blue Camera Image for Linking Photos contrast sharply with those down the valley Blue Camera Image for Linking Photos .

Leave Rifugio Nello Conti on path 164 Blue Camera Image for Linking Photos and soon after ascending past the spires of Focetta dell' Acqu Fredda Blue Camera Image for Linking Photos turn left onto th Via Vendelli (path 35) Blue Camera Image for Linking Photos. Via Vendelli can be seen clearly snaking down the valley Blue Camera Image for Linking Photos all the way to Resceto in the distance Blue Camera Image for Linking Photos. A plaque on the right hand side is a sad reminder of Vandelli, the engineer who built this road Blue Camera Image for Linking Photos .

The road was commissioned by the Duke of Modena, Francesco III dEste, to provide access from  Modena to the coast via Massa. It was built by the engineer Abate Domenico Vandelli  and after many years of construction difficulties was eventually completed in 1738.

However, many of its twists and turns were too tight for larger horse drawn carriages, including those of the Duke of Modena. Consequently the road was little used, and ultimately its percieved failure led to Vandelli committing suicide.

However, his road survives him as a memorial and is still in generally good condition today Blue Camera Image for Linking Photos Blue Camera Image for Linking Photos. The same cannot be said for the more modern bridge Blue Camera Image for Linking Photos. Nonetheless, thanks to Vandelli the return walk, all the way to Resceto, is at a gentle gradient and is easy underfoot Blue Camera Image for Linking Photos.


Map Showing Possible Routes (Click Map below for Larger Version )

Tuscany Mountain Walking - Apuane - Rescetto - Vias Lizza & Vandelli
 
Statistic Recommended Route Variation 1 - Longer but Easier Variation 2
Walk Style Circular Out & Back n/a

Height Profile
(Click Thumbnail to Enlarge)

 

Tuscany Mountain Walking - Apuane - Resceto - Vias Lizza & Vendelli
Tuscany Mountain Walking - Apuane - Resceto - Via Vendelli n/a
Walk Description

As Above

For those wanting less ascent and easier walking than the Recommended Route, the descent route from the Recommended Route can be used for both ascent and descent.

This lengthens the walk by 1.5 miles but makes for a much easier day, whilst still visiting Rifugio Nello Conti in the high Apuane.

 
Walk Start Resceto, below the church Resceto, above the church  

Paths Used

165 (Via Lizza). 164, 35 (Via Vandelli) 35 (Via Vandelli), 164, 35  
Walk Grade EE E  
Scramble/VF Dist (metres) VF 300m n/a  
Scramble/VFGrade EE n/a  
Maximum Height (metres) 1597 1500  
Flat Speed (mph) 2.0 2.0  
Walk Distance (miles) 6.3 7.8  
Walk Ascent (metres) 1170 1073  
Walk Time 5:06 5:42  
Rest Recommendation Late Lunch at Rifugio Nello Conti Late Lunch at Rifugio Nello Conti  
Rest Time 1:24 1:18  
Total Hill Time 6:30 7:00  
Total Trip Time (Villa to Villa) 8:30 9:00  
Leave Papavero @ 08:30 8:30  
Return to Papavero @ 17:00 17:30  

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