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Rocks and Rugby – 4 rugby players on “Via Ferrata” in the Apuan Alps

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Rocks and Rugby – 4 rugby players on “via ferrata” in the Apuan Alps

Niccolò Nardi

We left on August 2nd at 7:00 pm from the Alto Matanna refuge (Stazzema – Lucca) and headed towards Monte Procinto (1177 m). On the way there, I start to wonder about something and I ask the team: “Will there be enough space on Monte Procinto for two tents?”
After a moment of silence… one of the boys replies: “We’ll find out soon enough!”.

We arrive without great difficulty at the base of Mount Procinto at 7.50pm and we start to walk up the “via ferrata”, specific for inexperienced climbers (we looked like mountain goats). A steep and vertical wall, followed by a less steep climb. After the ferrata, we were a few meters from the summit and the thought of where to put the tents was always there. At the top, we found that the space for the tents was 3 square meters of stones, which made it impossible to camp. We had to decide in a hurry what to do: go down the “via ferrata” in the dark and sleep in a small cave just below the summit or spend the night in a small space in the open air. We chose the latter which allowed us to rest comfortably on the grass, on the summit, watching the stars in silence.

The next morning we left at dawn, destination Rossi refuge, at the foot of Monte Pania della Croce. As soon as we started off, we took a path that turned out to be a dry mountain water drain. We decided to continue nevertheless, hoping that we would probably come across the right path in the end … and so we did! Shortly after we found a good water spring where we drank and filled up bottles, knowing that soon after the road would have been all uphill.

Later to get to the Rossi refuge we passed by the second ferrata – Monte Forato – a little more challenging than the previous day. After this climb we got to the top where we decided to rest. After an hour break we carried on with our walk towards our destination and about halfway there we realized that the path was shrinking a lot. We began to look around for the signage of the path but nothing, no trace. We took the map and we noticed that we had taken the wrong path …yet again … so we climbed for several meters between trees and tall grass finding the right way in the end.

At the foot of Monte Pania della Croce we headed towards the only visible path, where a sign warned us that there were 1. 5 hours left to the Rossi refuge. We started off knowing that for an hour and a half we would be constantly in the sun because the last bit of shade was the tree at the signpost. Halfway up the road we were so shattered and the end of the road seemed really far away.
When we arrived at the top, with the refuge now at our doorstep, we rested while wondering if there would be room for the tents, which is not obvious given the limited flat space. Once we arrived we immediately saw two good spots and we camped out. That same evening we decided to climb to the top of Pania della Croce, leaving our backpacks in our tent. At the top we enjoyed the breathtaking view that pays for the various hours of walking and the “only” 7 km and 1253 meters in altitude.

We attached the “Colligiana Rugby” (our rugby club) sticker on the cross (at the highest point where anyone can leave a trace of their passing) with a line out lift, after which we went back to the tents for dinner.

The next morning, for the return journey, we woke up at 7:00am, we packed the tents and left. Being all downhill we arrived at the starting point in just 5 hours and 9 minutes and celebrated with a beer and a nice ham sandwich.

Rugby Friendly Farmhouse

Croce di Bibbiano, Ester and Federico (il Sosia) rugby friendly farmhouse, awaits you in a unique location, overlooking San Gimignano.
In addition to a pleasant stay, you will have the chance to chat with them about rugby, the world championship that has just ended and the activity of Valdelsa Rugby (formerly Colligiana Rugby)… Go to farmhouse page

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