For art and nature lovers
Follow the numbers on the map to recreate this itinerary and find our suggestions for activities, cultural points of interest, gastronomy, and accommodations below. The red route is the main itinerary but you can stop along the blue route detours to further discover the area.
1. Barberino di Mugello
2. San Piero a Sieve
3. Borgo San Lorenzo
4. Panicaglia - Ronta - Madonna dei Tre Fiumi - Razzuolo
5. Passo della Colla - Passo della Sambuca
6. Palazzuolo sul Senio
7. Tirli - Coniale - Firenzuola
8. Badia di Moscheta - Rifredo - Barco - Passo del Giogo
9. Omomorto - Ponzalla - Scarperia
10. Lake Bilancino alternative
A. Passo della Colla - Crespino del Lamone - Marradi
Tackling this itinerary means preparing for a much longer journey than the previous ones, in terms of kilometers and therefore travel times: at least 4 hours are necessary for an evocative, varied, and tortuous route, ideal for motorcyclists. After all, the goal is immersion in nature and discovering the beauty of the Upper Mugello, via passes and deep gorges with considerable differences in altitude.
In spring and summer, you are accompanied by the breathtaking views offered by strong and luxuriant nature, which in autumn and winter is transformed by the spectacle of colors: from burnt umber to red wine, up to the white of the snow, which envelops everything with its light veil. However, this close encounter with wild and uncontaminated beauty requires constant attention while driving however strong the temptation may be to follow the flight of a golden eagle or a peregrine falcon, or to admire the millenary sediments of the Apennines.
The starting point is the Barberino di Mugello exit of the A1 highway, from which you can quickly get to Borgo San Lorenzo. From here, proceeding in the direction of Faenza along the road of Roman origin, known as Via Faentina, you begin to climb towards the first pass, Passo della Colla di Casaglia. Several hamlets mark the route, guarding small jewels of culture and faith such as the Pieve di San Giovanni Maggiore church or Villa di Striano. After passing the towns of Ronta and Madonna dei Tre Fiumi, the road becomes increasingly narrow and rocky. After the hairpin bends above Razzuolo, arriving at the pass (913 mt.) can be disappointing, with dense and gloomy vegetation and with the only place for tourists closed a few years ago.
Continuing towards Faenza, you can deviate from the main route passing through Casaglia, then through the small but interesting village of Crespino del Lamone and finally through Marradi, one of the municipalities of the so-called “Tuscan Romagna,” also known for processing chestnuts. From Marradi you can take SP 306R and quickly get to Palazzuolo sul Senio from the north. Taking SP 477 instead on the left of the Passo della Colla, after a few bends, the alpine green is a prelude to areas such as Prato all’Albero, an area full of memories of WWII. Today, it is a setting for pleasant outings and a starting point of challenging trekking and biking tracks, on the double ridge and downhill on both sides. After a few kilometers of ups and downs, we arrive at Passo della Sambuca, the gateway to the territory of Palazzuolo sul Senio, awarded one of the “Most Beautiful Villages in Italy,” as well the “Ideal Village” titles. The ascent towards Firenzuola on the SS 306 is no less fascinating, as is the third pass, Paretaio, located at almost 1,000 meters above sea level. Tabernacles and cottages dot the landscape. The next descent takes us to the Santerno valley and Diaterna creek, with their basins of fresh and pure water and the evocative effects created by the stones smoothed by the current, ideal during the summer for a refreshing break. Before Firenzuola, a detour of 7 kilometers on the left leads to Casetta di Tiara, a tiny village clinging to the rock with all its history, whose romantic aura is linked to the fateful meeting, in 1916, between the great Marradese poet Dino Campana and the writer Sibilla Aleramo.
After Firenzuola, which, like the other towns is worth a visit, we go up towards Passo del Giogo, the fourth pass of the itinerary, in the direction of Scarperia. And, immediately on the left you’ll find the sign for Badia di Moscheta. It is difficult to describe this valley with the homonymous church, its rivers, and mysterious canyon known as “Hell Valley” whose magic can only be experienced in person.
Continuing along the itinerary, you pass the hamlets of Rifredo and Barco until skirting pastures and forests, you arrive at Passo del Giogo, open and windy, from which you can tackle trekking and biking routes that bring you to Passo della Colla.
During the descent, we can see a view of the Mugello, the lake, and its banks where we will return to the real world on our way back with the feeling of having almost touched heaven.
There is a popular nude bathing area on the banks of Torrente Diaterna, a shallow stream that is a tributary of the Santerno River.
Granfondo del Mugello
From July 2021, a permanent route of 120 km with a difference in altitude of over 2.300 mt. can be biked from Scarperia and San Piero a Sieve to Passo della Sambuca and Paretaio before descending again towards Borgo San Lorenzo.
There are numerous trekking and hiking paths along this itinerary. Just to name a few to give you some inspiration: you can go trekking from Passo della Colla to Passo della Sambuca, use the PAF paths, Foglia Tonda path, Prato dell'Albero picnic area, camping and trekking in the Veccione and Rovigo valleys as well as the Inferno valley, and trekking from Marradi to Eremo di Gamogna and Rocca di Castiglione.
An enchanting town set between the Tuscan-Romagna Apennines: refined, beautiful, and peaceful. As stated by the magazine Airone, it is the "Ideal Italian Town." In 2018, it was also included among "I Borghi Più Belli d'Italia," a list of the most beautiful hamlets in Italy. The strong medieval urban structure dates to the 13th century when the Ubaldini had to relinquish their hold in favor of the Florentine Republic and therefore the Medici rule. It is ideal for nature lovers: there are itineraries for every ability level. Trekking, biking, horseback riding, and even motor-tourism can be enjoyed in total tranquility.
Badia Vallombrosiana di Moscheta Abbey
In the heart of the Tuscan-Romagna, surrounded by secular woods of chestnut, oak, and beech trees, is the ancient Abbey of Vallombrosa Moscheta, founded in 1034 by San Giovanni Gualberto. It is an oasis of peace and tranquility surrounded by streams, woods, wild valleys and rolling pastures.
Historical Research Centre Gothic Tuscany
Località Ponzalla 47, 50038 Scarperia e San Piero
Created in 2011 to preserve the memory of WWII in Tuscany with particular attention to the events of September 1944 when the Apennines north of Florence were a focal point. The permanent and temporary exhibitions are the result of discoveries, private collections, and donations from locals. Upon request, there are guided tours of the museum and battlefield.
Town centre of Marradi
Beyond Passo della Colla, on the Tuscan side of the Apennines that overlooks Romagna, Marradi rises on the banks of the Lamone River which flows into Ravenna. The central position of the town situated between Florence, Faenza, and the Adriatic coast contributed to the urban development and growth of the town in the past. In fact, travellers who reach Marradi by train are always pleasantly surprised by the town's make-up with beautiful villa lined streets and elegant Palazzi that is more similar to important cities such as Florence.
Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi 3, 50035 Palazzuolo sul Senio
Enoteca and Osteria with a vast selection of wines and traditional Tuscan fare. Local products and high attention to quality. Great for lunch or dinner under their famous portico.
Ristorante il Giogo
Via del Giogo 19, 50038 Scarperia e San Piero
Possibility in winter to have lunch near the warmth of the fireplace or in summer on the veranda. Seasonal dishes with traditional local products: handmade pasta, wild game sauces, mushrooms and truffles, Florentine steaks, roast suckling pig, stewed game, homemade desserts and many other delicacies.
Ristorante il Camino
Viale Baccarini 38, 50034 Marradi
Located just outside the city centre of Marradi, near the train station, this restaurant offers traditional local cuisine with a mixture of Tuscan and Romagna influence.
This resort has a quiet pool reserved for adults, a family pool, tennis court, Spa, and fitness room. Numerous experiences are offered such as cooking courses, wine and olive oil tastings, and yoga by the pool. The in-house restaurant Enoteca del Monsignore welcomes you in a romantic atmosphere where you can taste homemade pasta, bistecca alla Fiorentina, and exclusive truffle dishes. The ingredients are all organic and mainly from the resort's garden.
Agriturismo La Topaia
Via S. Giovanni Maggiore 57, 50032 Borgo San Lorenzo
Villa La Topaia stands on a hill overlooking a small valley in which cultivated fields and wooded areas alternate harmoniously. It is ideal for a regenerating holiday in complete tranquility. There is an outdoor pool that guests can enjoy during the summer months.
Località Fantino 29, 50035 Palazzuolo sul Senio
Consisting of two farmhouses, Il Fantino, an ancient residence from the 1200s, is surrounded by centuries-old woods and chestnut trees. Carefully restored, it offers hospitality in rooms and apartments of various types, all with private bathrooms, furnished with care and elegance typical of the Tuscan tradition.
Mugello landscape photos by Christian Ghelardini
Watercolor maps by Lisa Brancatisano
Photos of hotels, restaurants, and activities provided by each entity