Introductory and technical notes
The route runs along, for the most part, the ancient road that linked Palazzuolo sul Senio to Marradi, a road which, therefore, may have been travelled by Campana.
The road, in fact, is dotted with farm houses that once offered refuge and aid to anyone who travelled here. In particular we find the 17th century Villa di Gruffieto, a grand residence that, notwithstanding a part that is in ruins, maintains its elegant architectural style. The trail ascends more that 510 metres and takes from 3 to 4 hours to walk.
It is not possible to take the route on horseback, because in the first section from Palazzuolo sul Senio there are two steep metal stairways, and in the part that descends towards Marradi, you must climb a number of ladders to pass over fences. It can be covered by MTB if you take the alternative route described below.
Palazzuolo sul Senio can be reached from Florence by car along state road 302, which leads to Borgo San Lorenzo and Colla di Casaglia. From the Colla, the route goes left onto state road 477 to Palazzuolo.
Itinerary on foot
From Palazzuolo sul Senio the route moves along the road to Marradi but, just outside the town, once past the bridge, it leaves the paved road and climbs left along a steep grassy hill (red and white signage n. 519). It immediately reaches a metal stairway leading to the water deposit. It climbs steeply and, by way of another ladder, crosses over a fence and into the pine wood forest overlooking Palazzuolo, offering a breathtaking view. Just below a restored farm house, a paved road leads left. It soon becomes a dirt road and crosses an ancient, well kept, chestnut forest. Maintaining these forests, mostly chestnut, is one of the many important duties of the towns of Palazzuolo and Marradi.
Theroute turns widely through the chestnut forest, reaching an area where the chestnuts are dried and then, shortly after, straight up to the top of the crest. We leave the marked paths behind and follow the route up to the peak: this is the ancient route for Marradi. It leads, farther up, to the fields of Campo d'Olivo, a wonderfully restored farm estate. The route moves around the property and down the rocky path that starts here.
Soon after, the signs lead off the road and ascend left towards the Bacero, an abandoned farmhouse. It is, however, best to continue on the path which leads quickly to another dirt road. Here we turn right, and shortly after leave it, turning left on the marked trail. We cross a forest and come out onto an open field with a beautiful view. It is a wonderful place to stop and rest, or picnic in the sun. At the other end of the field, we take the dirt road left. After a few metres, we leave this new path to descend left towards Villa di Gruffietto, whose red roof was visible from above. We enter another chestnut wood and, moving downhill, reach the villa. We move along the right of the property until we reach a dirt ro ad. The route climbs right a few hundred metres until it reaches the white and red trail sign, which we follow, pointing to the trail that climbs along the side of Monte Gamberaldi.
The path crosses trail n. 505 from Croce Daniele. We go right, and just above Ca' Mondera leave trail n. 505 for trail n. 519 on the left. The descent that takes us to Marradi starts here. This road, in tracts, offers glimpses of the underlying Medieval road. At Ca' Mondera we continue softly downhill towards Ca' del Falco and, after a steeper descent, reach Ca' del Vento. From the crests, therefore, moving swiftly downhill, the route takes us to Marradi and the state road just in front of the station.
Alternative route for MTB
From Palazzuolo sul Senio the route moves along the road to Marradi for roughly 5 kilometres until we reach Valico S. Ilario. On the left, a trail marked n. 505 is clearly visible.
The route moves along this trail to a farmhouse and then just above Ca' Mondera. Trail n. 519 for Marradi descends towards the right from here, following the directions described in the itinerary on foot, which is also suited for MTB.