Hike from Filetto to Bagnone via Malgrate Castle, Tuscany

Walking in Lunigiana, Northern Tuscany
Malgrate Castle, Lunigiana, Tuscany Italy
Malgrate Castle from Pian di Mocrone
This is an easy and enchanting hike with views all the way. There's one steep section that will repay you with even better views and a castle. Good for a picnic or for a restaurant lunch in Mocrone or Bagnone. It is about 2 1/2 hours and about 8 km.

From Aulla head up the valley on SS 62, or from Pontremoli head down the valley toward Villafranca. Turn east (away from the Magra river) from the SS 62 at a marked turn inVillafranca toward Filetto. This is Viale Italia. Just 1 km ahead, Filetto is a wonderful small village that is square, and the road passes through two narrow gateways - but cars are not permitted. Park near the gate and begin the walk. Here's your chance to explore Filetto, which has a Medieval market every August and an Antique market on the last Sunday of every month. As you exit the village, turn left after the far gate past the town parking lot onto Ca' dall'Ara.

This passes along fields and farms and ends at Via dei Menhir. Here you turn right and continue after admiring the large villa just across the road. Continue on Menhir, and then branch left at the next road which is Via Pian di Mocrone. Note the Gavarini sign, an excellent restaurant just a short detour from this walk. (Details below).

Soon the views of Malgrate and its castle will dominate as you pass farm fields and woody sections. When modernity intrudes in the form of a new housing development, you turn right just before it. (for Gavarini, you would continue straight into Mocrone). After a short section along the perimeter of the housing, you'll meet the larger provincial road, and you turn right again.

Another short section and you turn left onto Via della Montada. This becomes - with a swag to the right and a veer to the left - the path up to Malgrate.

  Along the way there's an olive grove overlooking the plain which we found to be picnic heaven.

Malgrate, Lunigiana, Tuscany Italy
Malgrate with Castle Tower, Lunigiana, Tuscany Italy

Pass through Malgrate and continue up the asphalt road you'll find after exiting the gate. The castle is open at times and is worth its small admission charge. This road continues up gently but steadily to Ortunano past overgrown fields, and through forested sections. There's a fork to the left at one point, but it's marked.

At Ortunano Sotto, the road from Malgrate will terminate and the itinerary will turn right toward Bagnone. There's a church and small settlement at Ortunano Sotto to explore, and if you're feeling frisky there's Ortunano Sopra uphill. The walk downhill is fascinating as one tries to imagine the history of the forests, the fields and the boundry walls as you pass by. There are, soon enough, glimpses of Bagnone through the trees as the road curves down. Finally the road ends at a large traffic circle, and you take a sharp right.

Though a sign says the road is interrupted ahead, that's for cars. You will walk straight down into Bagnone. This is a wonderful small city of distinguished stone buildings along a river gorge which provides many picturesque scenes. There's an old bridge, a castle, and stony waterfalls. There's also a nice restaurant which we can recommend, La Lina, located on a small piazza near your entrance into the town. (details below). We have a walk around Bagnone which intersects this walk which you can use to explore Bagnone's environs.

To continue, your entry street - Via Niccolo Quartieri - will terminate at Bagnone's main drag, Via della Repubblica. Turn right, and walk downhill for about 2.5 km and you are back at Filetto. At one point there's a fork of sorts, and you take the left, as the right fork heads toward Malgrate and Mocrone.

Thanks to Daniele Canossini whose book Le Valli di Parma e l'Alta Lunigiana helped us find this walk. We recommend his book to any serious hikers in Lunigiana and the Parmense.

Gavarini Ristorante, Good food and good Italian watching. Seriously narrow entry street, arrive walking.
Via Benedicente 50, Mocrone  Closed Wednesday  0187-495504 or 493115

Locanda La Lina, 'Liberty style' Good food and a pleasing ambience. We loved it.
Piazza Marconi, 1, Bagnone. Closed Monday, Holdays  0585-785087

Alla Piazza di Sopra In Filetto, this new restaurant is committed to using the freshest ingredients to create local specialties. Read Our Review. Piazza Immacolata, 11. Filetto di Villafranca in Lunigiana (MS) 0187-493796 or (cell) 349-8783364. allapiazzadisopra@libero.it

Written by Martha