From the town hall in Casina the trail slopes down towards Marola on Via Cà Matta following path 650. You then turn right onto Via Gramsci passing a highly unusual dovecote tower on the right. You climb along an asphalted road up to the last houses, where you take a path on the right that skirts the larger village of Monte.
Once you reach the ridge, you can enjoy a great view. The dirt road passes through fields to the church of Migliara and then once again joins the asphalted road. Take the underpass of Via Militare della Lunigiana and continue along the asphalted road towards Marola, along Via Dante Alighieri, and then turn right onto Via Boastra. Carry straight on, ignoring path 658 on the left, until you reach Villetta where the trail slowly climbs along a dirt road that then runs through woods eventually leading to the villages of Cà Brioni, Castello and Canova.
These villages preserve buildings from different eras with a number of original portals. From Canova you climb up to the outlying houses situated high in Marola along Via Poggio and then descend, crossing Via Dante Alighieri and continuing to the Abbey and Seminary of Marola on Via Chittoni. A short detour allows you to see the renovated “metato” (a barn for drying chestnuts) at Frazera.
From the seminary continue down along Via Chittoni; the trail branches off to the left, passing next to the old roadman’s house. After crossing the road the path goes down opposite the Campodeloppio Oratory onto a dirt road that descends through fields and woodland to Carezza.
Here you take the asphalted road once again, enjoying a broad view of the valley; on the right you can admire the village of Sorchio with its tower-house. Continue along Via Carezza to the junction with Via San Martino next to the dairy of Cigarello where the path intersects the other branch of the SM coming down from Valcava.
ABBEY, SEMINARY AND CHESTNUTS
Marola is equally well known for its Romanesque abbey and for its chestnut trees. The presence of the trees can be traced back to the largesse of Matilda of Canossa who founded the abbey and endowed it with wealth and land. The monks cared for and managed the chestnut groves that ensured a substantial income even when the abbey became a mansion and then seat of the seminary. The former abbey now houses the diocesan spiritual centre. Marola has an extensive network of trails and paths.
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