We’ve discovered there’s a Lucca chapter of the Club Alpino Italiano (CAI) a walking, trekking, mountain bike riding group, so we joined them the other Sunday for a walk. Walk is a slight understatement. It was graded ‘Expert’ with a duration of '8 hours' and summitting 3 peaks! Now, we are keen walkers but I would not consider us (well myself at least) an Expert! So off we trot to Pittarello (my favourite shoe supermarket) to purchase a pair of trekking shoes. €40 later and a couple of warm up laps of the wall early in the week and we are off by bike to meet the other 10 ‘expert’ walkers, on the outskirts of Lucca.
The ‘Expert’ Walkers
Marino immediately strikes an accord with our designated driver (whose name I confess I have forgotten) and busily commences a conversation. I sit anxiously in the back seat contemplating my fellow ‘expert’ walkers and what’s in store for us. We drive for an hour heading upwards to the hamlet of Alto Matanna in the Apuane Alps (1030m) where our ‘walk’ commences.
Our first peak Monte Matanna at 1317m was I admit a walk in the park.
I must be an ‘expert’ after all!
I must be an ‘expert’ after all!
Mother and Calf
Not long after commencing our walk we encounter a cow that has just given birth to her calf. What an amazing sight! The mother was cleaning her calf, which was only just able to walk.
One thing I like about walking in Italy and conquering the peaks is that each peak is clearly marked with a cross, so thank God you know when you’re at the summit!
First Peak - Monte Matanna
Second Peak- Monte Nona
Third Peak- Monte Croce
The view is amazing, through the passing cloud we can see right across to the Tyrrhenian Coast.
There's actually coastline through those clouds!
Marino enjoys his mortadella panino
A quick refuel stop (only chocolate for us, as SOMEONE had left the bananas on the kitchen table) before we commence the descent. While descending from the first peak, heading back towards the car park where we began – I crack a joke (in Italian) and say “Guarda Marino, siamo finito!’ which translates to ‘Look Marino, we've finished’. I am quickly reassured that there is still more to come. Italian is so difficult – they just don’t get me! I then add ‘solo scherzo!’ (only joking). The second peak Monte Nona at 1296m is as easy as the first – I am an expert!
Marino on the road to somewhere
That's my trusty stick Marino!
We descend to Callare Matanna at 1139m, which is a little trickier than our first descent. It's steep and slippery, the long wet grass hiding a very rocky ground. I find a trusty old stick to help me along the way. So now being the expert that I am, I think I’m ready for Everest!
Here’s where the fun begins! The third and final peak, Monte Croce is at 1314m!! The first 30 minutes are OK, a little climbing but quite manageable (at least for an expert). Then the real ascent begins. OMG!!! It’s seriously steep and I’m now running low on fuel How could I have forgotten those bananas?
But we push on and make it!! Yay! And it’s time for Lunch.
Now for the descent…. I must confess: the climbing is actually OK, it’s the descending that kills me (and my knees, thighs and hips) – thankfully the trusty old stick is still by my side, I’ll never scoff at anyone walking with sticks again!
We make it back in record time (6.5 hours) and finish our day at a quaint bar in Alto Matanna with a warming aperitif. Yes I know I’ve been rubbing in the fact in other posts that it’s 30C, but not in the mountains - it was cold!
Yay! We made it!
If you’d like to see a short video of the walk (and us), click on the below Youtube link. This was taken by one of our fellow walkers.