Day One of the Rossano Freedom Trail Walk commenced on the outskirts of Pontremoli at a rather leisurely pace towards the Cavazana Gordana Bridge. Our walking party is led by Maria Grazie and Emanuele, who are leading lights from CAI Pontremoli and who made even the fittest military types in the party look a tad slow – never mind me!
We follow the Gordana River, past the landslides that have wiped out the road, until the watermill, beautifully renovated by a British architect. We listen in disbelief to Brian Lett’s story about the audacious encounter of two British soldiers and an Italian partisan who marched over the narrow bridge past a German patrol to safety.
We pause at the village of Torrano, and then head for the mountain. Brian describes this as a “gentle gradient” until you reach around 1,000 metres. I could describe it otherwise, but am proud to say that I did make it to the top – a bit red in the face and rather sweaty, but I made it. And wow, it was all worth it for the stunning scenery at the top.
We stop at Pradinalara for a picnic lunch, where Fred, our excellent and ever entertaining road transport manager, was waiting with lunch, cold beers AND wine! Maria Grazie from CAI Pontremoli gives me strict instructions to drink both as apparently, while it is important to keep drinking water, beer and wine provide essential minerals not found in ordinary water. Who am I to disagree.
We lay a wreath at the memorial, which pays tribute to Brian’s father, Gorden Lett, and records the number of escaped prisoners of war that were led down this escape route – well over 400 in total (sorry need to check my reference sources for the exact number) and numerous nationalities.
We continue to ascend a bit before walking around the ridge, which offers breath-taking views across the Rossano Valley and the Coloretta/Patigno Valley. I am astonished to find myself almost (OK, not quite) level with the new wind turbines situated across the valley before descending about 200 metres to finish Day One of the Freedom Trail Walk at Brian Lett’s home at Chiesa di Rossano.
Very approximate statsDuration (including stops): 6.5 hours Distance: 20 km Vertical up: 1,540 metres Vertical down: 960 metres .
Rossano Freedom Trail Walk: Day 1 appeared on Ciao Lunigiana on 2 July 2014, updated on 8 July 2014.