Protected areas, Natura 2000 network and Forests


Lago Santo parmense (1508 m)
Prato Spilla (1350 m)
GRADIENT: +1480 m / -1640 m
HIKING TIME: 8,30 hours
Tuscan-Aemilian Apennine National Park and Cedra and Parma Valleys Regional Park


Sella Paitino (author Nevio Agostini)

The long stage runs along the entire “Ridge of the Lakes”, a charming succession of glacial depressions, rocky ridges, polished slabs and grasslands. The harsh high altitude environment is softened by an extraordinary collection of ponds and by wondrous blooms for most of the summer.

From the shores of Lake Santo one goes up to the slopes of Mount Marmagna, where he ridge path starts: it’s a very scenic but strenuous route because of all the ups and downs.

Sharp rocky ridges and very steep channels fall towards the Lunigiana territory, whereas on the Emilian side the slopes are gentler: they descend through hollows and glacial tiers separated by ridges and rocks, up o he vast forests hat cover he Val Parma.

After skirting he wooded valley of the Riserva Statale di Guadine Pradaccio, established over forty years ago, one can see he Capanne di Badignana, an old barn now used as a bivouac that may be useful in bad weather.

Several stretches of water flow further down, below he path: he Tiny Lake Bicchiere and, further away, Lake Scuro and The Lagoni, embedded in the beech woods at the foot of the Rocca Pumacciolo.

At last one reaches Mount Sillara (1859 m), the highest peak in the Parma area. The nearby Sillara Lakes, just below the ridge, seem to float in the sky. On a clear day he view stretches up of the Ligurian Sea, Corsica and of  the Alps, and yet he most impressive is he view below, hat of the valley of the Bagnone: a green chasm dotted by lighter spots that are nothing but villages, located nearly one and a half kilometres further down.

At Giovarello Pass he descent starts on the Emilian side: one touches the modest Lake Martini, then a steep stone valley leads to the Cagnin bivouac. The descent continues in the forest, grazing Lake Verde and arriving at the dam of Lake Ballano, which in the summer can also be reached via he little road hat climbs up from Trefiumi, in Val Cedra. From here one gets o Prato Spilla via an easy walk in the beech forest.

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Photo gallery

Stage Locations and Services

  • Albergo Prato Spilla: Info  | Public transport  
  • Rifugio Lagoni: Info  | Public transport  
  • Capanne di Badignana: Info | Public transport

  • Bivouac with tent: in some areas it is possible to spend the night in a tent, setting it up at sunset and dismantling it at dawn.

 Interactive cartography



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last modified 2022-09-08T17:16:47+02:00
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