Trekking on the discovery of Monte Tobbio, one of the most characteristic summits of the piedmontese ligurian Apennine
The Natural Park Parco Naturale delle Capanne di Marcarolo is situated on the meeting point between the Piedmont and the Genovese Hinterland. It was established in 1979 and has a surface of approx. 8,200 hectares of mountainous terrain, dominated by the pyramid of Monte Tobbio (1,092 m) and refined by the presence of the Gorzente lakes.
From a botanical point of view it presents itself as an exceptionally interesting environment: thanks to the particular geo-climatic conditions Mediterranean species (curry plant and tree heath) and alpine species (alpine aster and winter heath) grow side by side, and numerous other endemism and rare plants are present. The diverse environments, the abundance of water and the low level of pollution furthermore favour the survival of many an animal species: buzzard, deer, triton, crayfish, dipper and harrier eagle, the bird of prey that is the symbol of the Park.
The area is equipped with a large network of trekking trails and offers walks of one or more days, grouped by length and by difficulty.
The proposed path reaches the summit of Monte Tobbio and is one of the most frequented itineraries, but also one of the most striking ones of the area. The extraordinary thing about Monte Tobbio is the special relationship between its morphology and its position. The pyramid form and the range of altitude between the slopes and the summit grant it a wide-ranging visibility, although it is standing amidst other formations with similar or even higher altitudes. Its clean standing-out on the ideal connecting line between the sea and the Po valley has made it the geographic and symbolic reference point par excellence for the populations on both sides of the Apennine slopes.
The trail starts at Valico degli Eremiti, on the crossroad between the provincial roads 165 and 166, near the small votive aedicule.
The trail consists of wide hairpin bends on stone ground, passing through pine forests and open spaces, in which tree heath is predominant. During spring multicoloured patches of winter daphne, cerastium utriense, spurge, viola di Bertoloni and and alpine asters appear, while the meadows are populated by poets daffodils, wild daffodils, orchids and plum-scented irises. From the crossroads with the road turning off on the left we take the trail coming from Voltaggio and in a short time reach the Passo della Dagliola, a wide grassy wind-swept saddle. The bends become narrower the closer we get to the summit.
Once we reach the top on which the sanctuary of the Beata Vergine di Caravaggio, consecrated in 1899, is situated, the suggestive 360° panorama on all the surrounding valleys from the alpine arch to the ligurian sea repays us for all our efforts. The descent can be done on the same itinerary or alternatively following the FIE trail tracks with the yellow crossed circle.