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Valle di Zeri – An excursion through untouched nature

There’s still an undiscovered part of Tuscany. It is situated in Lunigiana, at the far border with the regions of Liguria and Emilia Romagna, in the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines.

It is here that the Zeri valleys are found, covering a territory divided into three vast valleys known as the valley of Adelano, Gordana and Rossano.

Woods resplendent with chestnut, beech and oak trees alternate with vast, permanent meadows; a veritable corner of paradise from the point of view of nature. Water reigns supreme in the Zeri valleys: the whole area is full of springs, rivers, streams, and some parts are untouched by mankind.

This is the case in the Colombara grotto, in the Rossano valley, where, between giant stones and logs carried by the raging waters, a waterfall has carved a wonderful natural swimming pool. Of no lesser beauty are the straits of the Giaredo, a canyon dug into the rock by the river Gordana, covering hundreds of metres. In general, the rivers and streams possess freezing and crystal-clear waters, perfect for refreshing summer swims.

The Zeri Valleys Cultural Association, founded just a year ago, organises free trekking itineraries to discover this territory. It will suffice to describe one of the many possible itineraries, which we have chosen for its distinctive beauty and which departs from the 3,425 foot high Passo del Rastrello. Following a flat path on the mountaintop, between wild horses and breathtaking views with the Ligurian sea visible in the distance, the itinerary swoops down towards the Rossano valley, with a pit-stop to visit an abandoned mountain pasture, Capanne di Vruga.

This old village appears out of nowhere like a mirage, hidden in a beech-filled wood, like a forgotten temple. For centuries, during the summer season, the low-valley dwellers moved up here to graze the livestock. The buildings are small, made of stone, but resplendent in their simple architectural styles. The roofs tiled with sandstone slabs have long collapsed onto the ground and beech trees grow inside the houses where people used to live in.

There are many old, abandoned buildings in the Zeri Valleys, signs of a changed economy and history: mountain pastures, mills, kilns, often located in inaccessible areas, silently await those capable of understanding the extent of their beauty, saving them from an inescapable ruin.

For further information:

Associazione Culturale Valli di Zeri

Web site:


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