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.
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 . 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 , 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 .
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 complete with the ruins of an old winding station - a good place for a break .
The view up ahead is seemingly upwards forever . The road is still in very good condition in these upper reaches and as height is gained there are wonderful views back down the valley and out beyond Massa to the sea .
The gradient eases a little as a large rusty storage tank is passed but gets tougher again on the final approach to the first of the quarries. The view back to the winding house is a constant reminder of the severity of the ascent . The frequent pulley axle holes are are all that remain of the systems used to lower marble blocks down this incredible road .
Via Lizza finshes after the second quarry where a large derilect building watches over the valley and Rifugio Nello Conti, a few hundred feet below . From here a path of no more than a few hundred metres rises to the signposted ridge behind . On the far side of the ridge the huge Arnetola quarry scars the far hillside .
Returning to the far end of the derelict building reveals an unsigned path which descends steeply, with cable support, to Rifugio Nello Conti .. 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 contrast sharply with those down the valley .
Leave Rifugio Nello Conti on path 164 and soon after ascending past the spires of Focetta dell' Acqu Fredda turn left onto th Via Vendelli (path 35) . Via Vendelli can be seen clearly snaking down the valley all the way to Resceto in the distance . A plaque on the right hand side is a sad reminder of Vandelli, the engineer who built this road .
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 . The same cannot be said for the more modern bridge . Nonetheless, thanks to Vandelli the return walk, all the way to Resceto, is at a gentle gradient and is easy underfoot .