4TH LEG: 22,5 km | 985 D+ | 7 h
Santuario della Madonna della neve Chiesa di Madonna dei Fornelli / Shrine of Madonna della Neve Church of Madonna dei Fornelli – Qualto – Brane – Borgo di Montefredente – Pian di Balestra – Tratto Via degli Dei / Stretch of Via degli Dei – Flaminia Militare – Il Passeggere – Le Fratte – Monte Gradi – Mulino del Frate – Roncobilaccio – Santuario della Beata Vergine delle grazie di Boccadirio / Shrine of Beata Vergine delle Grazie di Boccadirio
DO NOT MISS
via Qualto (San Benedetto Val di Sambro)
At 2km from Fornelli, its stone structure nestling among age-old chestnut trees, the oldest village in the area is a real gem. It dates back to the Middle Ages, when the walls of a fortified castle surrounded today’s church of San Gregorio Magno. Built in the 1300s, it is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin of Carmel who protected Qualto from the plague in 1630. There is a tavern in the village square and nearby a coffee bar where you can meet one of the most welcoming communities in the entire Apennines.
Pian di Balestra – Monte Bastione (San Benedetto Val di Sambro – Firenzuola)
The ancient Roman road (187 BC) from Bologna to Fiesole (Florence) attracts thousands of foot travellers each year. The most enchanting stretch and the first to have been discovered in 1979 is on Mount Bastione at 1,190m above sea level, 6km from Madonna dei Fornelli. Its paving is a testimony to its history, its enormous stones the very same paced by Roman legionaries and later by Mediaeval pilgrims. An incredible place to discover, deep in the green Pian di Balestra forests.