Freo Refuge and Pania della Croce mountain
The ring route is located in the Regional Park of Alpi Apuane. The Park is famous and important for its marble extraction activities and for its naturalistic aspects of considerable interest. The Apuane mountains stretch for 500 squared km and the highest peak is 1946 m (Monte Pisanino). The walk is interesting and enjoyable with beautiful views. The particular geomorphology of the mountain range has allowed the formation of unique caves. (Antro del Corchia, Abisso Revel, Grotta del Vento). The humid climate has allowed to develop an exceptional variety of flora rich in endemic species. In the park it’s easy to see goats, mouflon, golden eagle, peregrin falcon and chough (symbol of the park).
How we usually organize this day
The trail starts at Passo Croce, following a path that lead to Rifugio del Freo (1180m), we skirt the north side of Monte Corchia (1677m), it’s called empty mountain, due to the underlying Hypogeum complex.
Arrival at Rifugio del Freo where is possible to rest and to have the lunch. This is a beautiful refuge located in an open valley with a lot of water source, meadows , beech and coniferous woods. The refuge is situated on the slopes of the Pania della Croce, “the queen of Apuane”. Tana dell’Omo Selvatico is a cave of karst origin, a legendary place just a few minutes from the refuge. Foce di Mosceta (1170m) is a large cross between Monte Corchia and Pania della Croce. It is a very important point because of many paths starts from here. Pania della Croce(1859m) is considered the most famous and suggestive peak of Apuane. It isn’t the highest peak but since ancient time many it has enchanted visitors for its massive appearance.
From Foce di Mosceta we go towards L’alpeggio del Puntato. Along this path we can admire the top of the Lungo Pizzo delle Saette, it is a beautiful summit and it offers different views depending on the observation points. It’s very awesome. Besides we go next to Tana dell’Omo Salvatico, it has a depth of 281m. L’ Alpeggio del Puntato(987m) is located on the slopes of Corchia and it is a grassland, with its crops, bee breeding, chestnut and the wild cows. The Puntato is an ancient alpine village with uninhabited stone huts. Today here it’s again possible to stay in some old stone houses used as refuges. Rifugio “Il Robbio” is a small farm that produces honey, chestnut flour and vegetables.
From Puntato we continue to Fociomboli (1260m), where it’s possible to visit Torbiera di Fociomboli, a valley of glacial origin, it’s a particular wet environment where there is a great variety of plants and rare orchids.
Packed lunch and extra visits
During the hiking in the Alpi Apuane natural park the group does some stops in order to let the guide explain peculiarities of the area. A packed lunch will be eaten in safe peaceful place.
All the hiking is about 7 hours long and it require good physical conditions and appropriate skills.
The hiking is too long to allow extra visits.