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Walk 30. Across the Ponte della Villetta to Sambuca

The great bridge over the Serchio
Poggio - Sambuca - Sillicagnana - Villetta

Starting point: Poggio railway station, 400m.
Access: We recommend arriving by train from Lucca or Aulla. By car, as in Walk 28 from Lucca to Poggio: 57km (from Aulla: 48 km); to the railway station, head toward Aulla/Camporgiano for a short distance. Return from Villetta by train.
Walking times: Poggio railway station Poggio-Sambuca 45 min., to SiIlicagnana 45 min., to the Villetta railway station 1 hr.; total walking time 2½ hrs.
Ascent: 200m.
Grade: Easy valley walk on roads and paths. If you tend to get dizzy, it is better to keep your eyes on the railroad tracks while on the bridge.
Refreshment: Bars in Poggio, Sillicagnana and Villetta.
Alternative: From Sillicagnana on the road to San Romano, there, go left toward »Camporgiano« and left on an asphalt side-street down to the Serchio. Head upstream along the gravel road, across the bridge, and to the other side to the Ristorante Mulin del Rancone; from there to the Camporgiano railway station. An additional 2 hrs.
Map: Carta dei Sentieri e Rifugi No. 101/102, Multigraphic Firenze.

In the heart of Garfagnana, there are two major eye-catchers: Small, dark rocky mountains of volcanic origin, and the Ponte della Villetta. The long railway bridge also offers a footpath secured by railings across the Serchio - at a dizzying height and directly in front of the medieval village jewel of Sambuca. From the Poggio railway station, head along the road, then left onto a cobblestone path up to the main road. Go left across from the new church into the village centre, 451 m. Next to a house with a loggia, go right down Via delle Vigne to vineyards. In front of a shed, go left to an oak tree, then right onto a road which leads to the large railway bridge. After crossing it, go right downhill along a gravel road, and on it, turn sharply to the right and under the bridge.

Directly afterward, head left on a meadow trail (chain) through gardens and past a little house with a water container. In front of a farm, go right up an asphalt road. There, turn left, cross a stream, and at a wash house, turn left to Sambuca, 395m. Beyond the village, head right onto a gravel road toward a fence, at a sign, head right, and on the red and white marked path upward along stone walls. Walk through brush to a gravel road (sign), go right for a short way, then left. Pass a small house and - with an increasingly beautiful view of the Apuane Alps walk to Sillicagnana, 491 m. Go back to Sambuca. From there follow the asphalt road to Villetta, 440m, and go right to the railway station, 370m

This walk was reproduced by kind permission of Rother Walking Guide »Tuscany North« by Wolfgang Heitzmann / Renate Gabriel, © Bergverlag Rother · Munich. For more information and to purchase your copy of the full guide visit their website at www.rother.de

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