A ride to discover the authentic territories of the Upper Taro Valley where the Parma Apennine stretches over Emilia, Liguria, and Tuscany. Surrounded by woods and valleys interspersed with characteristic towns like Borgo Val di Taro, Compiano, and Bedonia, travellers can cycle on roads used for centuries by the pilgrims of the “Via Francigena”, where hospitality is still a value to be respected and handed down to the new generations.
The ring route is 41 km long, with departure and return point in Borgo Val di Taro.
From the station, cross the historic centre of the town by passing over the centuries-old Bridge of San Rocco, then follow the signs for Bedonia. After first travelling along the panoramic SP 113 and then along the SP 4 road, after 13 km you get to Sugremaro; from here, we recommend you take a detour to visit the nearby medieval village of Compiano.
Once in Bedonia, which undoubtedly deserves a visit, continue along the SP 359R road to Santa Maria del Taro; once in Piane di Carniglia, take the secondary road that leads to Groppo di Bedonia (2 km), a sort of equipped beach where you can swim in the clear waters of the River Taro.
The route continues along the river towards Isola di Compiano before reaching, travelling along a quiet side road, the village of Pieve di Cambi, where you can find water.
On the way back to Borgotaro you can admire Mount Molinatico, the Gotra Valley, and enjoy another swim in the River Taro, near the dam.
Suitable for everyone, the route includes paved roads and does not present challenging changes in altitude (200 m). To visit Compiano, take a detour of about 2 km from the main route.
Small village of the Parma Apennines, in the upper Taro Valley, the town is surrounded by beech and chestnut woods, and it is the ideal starting point for nature hikes especially along the Gotra stream and on the nearby Mount Gottero (1,640 m). In the woods surrounding the small town you can find the prized Porcini Mushroom and a National Fair dedicated to it is held every year in September.
Often called Borgotaro, the town is considered the capital of the Upper Taro Valley. It boasts a strategic position, straddling three regions Emilia Romagna, Tuscany, and Liguria and it is surrounded by the Parma Apennines and crossed by the River Taro. Indeed, the town is located in an area of great cultural, naturalistic, and gastronomic interest. The centre of the village is characterized by the remains of an old castle (today, only a part of the original 12th century masonry remains), Romanesque churches (such as that of SantAntonino, rebuilt in Baroque style in the 17th century), and historic buildings (like Palazzo Boveri, where the Queen of Spain, Elisabetta Farnese, resided during her visit in 1714). Last but not least, the tasty porcini mushrooms, IGP-marked, are the pride of the local food & wine tradition.
A small village of medieval origin, completely surrounded by walls and with turrets and bastions of various shapes, Compiano is very well-preserved, with narrow streets and an imposing castle overlooking the town. Placed in a strategic position close to the territories of the Republic of Genoa, Compiano was considered a bulwark to defend the access to the upper valley of the River Taro, and as such it was often the centre of territorial disputes. Its history is closely linked to that of the 12th-century castle, located on a rocky spur and which passed into the hands of several Signorie over the centuries, including those of the families of Malaspina, Landi, Visconti, and Farnese. Today it appears as an imposing fortified quadrilateral building featuring three corner towers and it can be accessed through a masonry bridge. The internal halls, winding around the central courtyard, are richly decorated.
Located in a green valley at the foot of Mount Pelpi (1,480 m), the town features a small historical centre with the coloured houses typical of Ligurian villages, and has in its beautiful Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Marco its historical and religious symbol. It is a neo-byzantine building erected in the mid-20th century to replace an earlier, 17th-century church now incorporated into the adjacent Episcopal Seminary. The building, with its large silver dome, preserves in its crypt the first original nucleus (Cappellina del Pozzo). Inside the 19th-century former Episcopal Seminary, on the other hand, visitors can find the museum complex complete with the Art Gallery, the Museum of Natural History, the Museum of Archaeology, and the Planetarium.
City of departure: Borgo Val di Taro
City of arrival: Borgo Val di Taro
Length (Km): 41
Type of Itinerary: Half Day
Difference in height (m): 200
Difference in downhill (m): 200
Highest point (m): 562
Lowest point (m): 409
Duration (h.): 4