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5 - LA VERNA - VERGHERETO
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Dal Crudo Sasso, si snoda il percorso della viabilità medievale tra le valli dell&rsquoArno e del Tevere, dove un fantomatico esercito ancora custodisce il Tesoro di Annibale. E poi giù, nei meandri tortuosi del fiume Savio, tra ruderi di castelli e memorie dell&rsquoAbbazia di San Michele, da cui fu cacciato a vergate San Romualdo.

Start Stage
La Verna
Arrival Stage
Verghereto
Stage Length
16,5
Nation
Italy
Region
Toscana  
Ascent
377 mt.
Descent
724 mt.
Difficulty (1 .. 5)
CAI (Diff. Escurs.)
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GPS Maps

From the church porch of Basilica Maggiore, the Cammino goes on to the entrance door of the sanctuary and Parcheggio della Melose and from there it takes the SP 208d. On the felt, the service road 50 GEA CT goes inside the the woods towards Croce della Calla.

The Cammino goes on to the ridge of the valleys of Arno and Tevere on a thin trail, up to the top of Monte Calvano, on the fields that in May become red from the blossoming of the orchids. Around them millions of insects buzz frantically, some of them attracted by the nectar of flowers and some others misled by the possibility of finding love. The flowers of some orchids can take on a female aspect of a certain specie of insect, and the male, attracted by it, lays on the flower trying to couple. During its fruitless attempts, the pollen remains birdlimes on the back and when it will lay on another flower, mistaking it for a female, it will leave the pollen of the first flower on the stigma of the second, fertilizing it. 

The Cammino goes down on a service road up until Passo dell Pratelle, from here it follows a road which goes around Monte Castelsavino a permanent water source is located along the road all the way to Passo delle Gualanciole. Wide views open up on the valley: the villages of Montesilvestre, Giampereta and Nocette stand out in the middle of green fields, while the top of the roundish Montefatucchio emerge from the centre of the valley. The local people still remember the procession that used to go from the Church of Nocette to the top of the mountain, in order to invoke the rain and they tell stories of memorable cloudbursts on the way back. Passo delle Gualanciole is located between Valtiberina and Casentino, while a house not too far away is under reconstruction, to become the new visitor centre of the natural reserve of Alta Valle del Tevere, Monte Nero. The Cammino goes on a dirt road until you reach an intersection, that takes the 50 GEA CT trail, which goes up the crest of Poggio Tre Vescovi.

Recent cuts have partially modified the trail, you need to be careful not to lose the red and white signals. The top of the Poggio, between the valleys of Arno, Tevere and Savio, is completely covered by a beech tree woods. Only a boundary stone marks the borders of the dioceses of Arezzo, Sansepolcro and Sarsina. From the summit you go down on the 00 GEA trail, towards Buca del Tesoro: a wide cavity on the ground, where, according to the tradition, a treasure of Anibal&rsquos soldiers was hidden, after the descent towards Rome. A little further you reach Passo Rotta dei Cavalli, whose name is owed to the narrow and windy passage that made difficult the transit of horses. The Cammino now follows 173 CAI trail, that packs the original trace of the old medieval road that connects the three valleys. The ruins of Casa Faggeto emerge from the forest, while in the distance the bare peaks of Castioglione Martellati stand out, together with macchiata di Castel dell&rsquoAlpe with the ruins of their castles if you look east you see Borgo di Montione and Verghereto. Past the dirt road coming from Monte Coronario, the trail goes towards the house of Ca&rsquo di Vado. A little further you can spot the ruins of Ca&rsquo di Vico, on the adjacent coast. The two buildings are laid down the grade, and they used to grow cereals, which is of vital importance to the population, and functional for the pasture and the maintenance of the cattle. Nowadays, the ruins of the buildings and the wild fields are what is left from the rural culture that had governed the areas of the Apennines for centuries. And probably in a few years we won&rsquot even see the embers.

Down the building, the trail cuts the bare fields, and next to the the domestic service tree goes past the intersection of the moat up until a beautiful votive niche in stone, that leans against the scarp to try not to fall. The urn contains a metal cross and some rocks left by the pedestrian. On one of the rocks, the year of construction is craved: 1944. Beyond Ponte del Vado, the Cammino climbs over Fosso di Montione, goes up on the mule track, delimited by dry stone that supports the overhead scarp. The access to the rural village Montione is via a stoned arch dated back to the XVII century. Montione is located on a ridge derived from Poggio Bastione, and the documents certify the presence of an oratory named after San Pietro Apostolo in 1296. The actual oratory dedicated to the Virgin Mary was reconstructed in 1602 by Francesco di Matteo from Mottiene, and on the ashlar of the entrance door you can read: &ldquoANNO DNI/1602/FRAN.MAT.HO.OP.EREXI&rdquo

Inside the building you find an original international gothic fresco, which represents the Virgin Mary who breastfeeds the Baby, next to S.Sebastiano, who is the patron saint of Montecoronaro with S.Fabiano maybe painted in the part of the fresco that got lost. A permanent water source refreshes the pilgrims. Next to the oratory, the mule track goes down the fields, enters the woods and passes next to a votive niche dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The urn contains the chest of Jesus, protected by glass. The waters of the Savio river, that in here it is called Fosso Grosso, and the ones of Fosso Brignolo, echo in the valley, while the mule track rises next to a votive niche built on the bridge.

It is a small chapel with a polychrome ceramic of the Virgin Mary on a chair. And on a headstone &ldquoMother of God pray for us. The benefactors of Verghereto 18&rdquo is carved. Past the bridge, the mule track goes up until the first houses of Verghereto, on Via Casentinese. Legend has it that the name of the town comes from the branch that the monks used to send away S.Roumualdo from the abbey of San Michele Arcangelo, because he was guilty of imposing rules on his brothers that were too strict. The Cammino stops now in front of the church, named after San Michele Arcangelo, and the piazza S.Francesco and then to piazza San Michele. On the façade of the last house that draws the piazza, a votive niche of Mary and the Child that holds a bird, is set. In the background a mountain recalls the geometric form of Ripa della Moia, a mountainous massif of Monte Fumaiolo. The inscription on the niche reads. &ldquoMaria Mater Gratiae ora pro nobis/ L.S.CE.C.S.CS.FO.FE. ANNO MDCCCXXV&rdquo.

 

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