Pass through the village of Riverzana with its unusual tower-house and go uphill along a narrow asphalted road until you reach the SP 73, which you then leave immediately taking a right turn onto a dirt road that takes just a few minutes to reach the village and the ruins of the Castle (museum) of Canossa.
Just before you arrive there is a tourist information office, a well-stocked bookshop and toilet facilities at a convenient car-park. Continue downhill on a short path with stunning views of the gullies of Canossa and over Rossena and Rossenella.
Soon you cross again the SP 73 where the Ducati Trail (SD) breaks off to rise right towards Monte Tesa, while the Matilda Trail (SM) goes downhill to the left and then up towards Cavandola that is dominated by a massive late mediaeval tower-house erected to control the valley of the Campola river.
A left turn near the tower-house takes you along a dirt road that skirts Monte Tesa and leads to the village of Ceredolo dei Coppi, so named as roof tiles (“coppi” in Italian) were once produced here. You will notice the unusual ashlars, bearing roughly hewn faces that were supposed to bring good luck. The SM shares a short stretch of the SP 54 with the SD and then splits, going down to the left towards the Campola valley following an easy mule track. After descending and fording the stream, the trail climbs up to Bergogno, one the finest of the villages in the area of Canossa with many features of local architecture from late mediaeval times.
From Cavandola you can take path 652 that reaches Bergogno passing through Votigno, where there is an international cultural centre for Tibet (Casa del Tibet).
There is just one road out of Bergogno, but the SM shortly branches off this road taking a dirt road on the right, crossing a junction where several paths meet and then sloping gently down to the trough of Faieto, which it crosses.
The historic architectural form of the tower-house still survives in several villages in the hills and lower mountain areas. In the fourteenth century these buildings were used as defensive structures for people and property when danger approached and therefore had the typical towers of castles with access to the upper floor. Over time they became a status symbol for the most prominent families and dovecotes were added where doves and swifts were bred.
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