Summer variant 1: Gazzano – Civago – Case di Civago
From the church of Gazzano cross the village following signposts for SM-690 on the provincial road. Continue on narrow asphalted roads between the houses at the top of the village. On the left, you continue climbing steadily along a grassy carriage road lined with hedges and oaks.
After reaching the Pila Fountain, where you will find tables and a picnic area, you leave the old Cervarolo road on your right and continue straight on past a rocky ridge which affords a view over the narrow course of the Dolo River dominated by the ruins of the Amorotto Tower. The track, that has recently been widened and restored, winds its way between barren rocks, down to the foot of the sandstone rock on which the tower was built, probably while Castruccio Castracani was ruling Lucca towards the end of the thirteenth century.
A protected climbing route has been installed below the tower. At a junction the path on the right, path 690C, makes a short detour to the remains of the tower which are well worth a visit and where you can also admire some ancient inscriptions on the sandstone walls. Path 690 continues straight on, then slopes gently downhill and climbs up again to some younger woodland that was replanted to repair the damage caused by the construction of the above road in 1955.
You actually reach this road and walk along to the left of it, passing under a tunnel; a 2-km walk takes you to Civago and down into the centre of the village. Civago has a number of themed trails that allow you to walk through pastures and chestnut trees and admire buildings that testify to a lifestyle now past: fountains, small rural buildings for drying chestnuts or barns for hay and housing sheep, wayside shrines and dry stone walls.
Chestnuts and mushrooms are still favoured ingredients in dishes appreciated by locals and visitors alike. From the main square of Civago you follow path 605 southwards along the main road of the village. After the junction at the cemetery, turn right uphill and then left towards Case di Civago. You leave path 607 on the right and go past the last houses, where the road becomes a track and climbs up the narrow valley of the Dolo River.
AMOROTTO AND ARIOSTO
In the early sixteenth century, a century of wars and brigands, there was a famous brigand loose in the Carpineti territory of Reggio; his name was Domenico dè Bretti, known as Amorotto the brigand. He was a bitter enemy of the governor of Reggio, Guicciardini. His two havens were the castle of Scalelle in the Dolo valley (today the remains of the Amorotto tower still stand) and the fortress of Carpineti. Ludovico Ariosto often passed through these areas in this period while serving the Este family, first as captain of the Fortress of Canossa and then as commissioner of Garfagnana to hold rebellions and banditry in check.
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