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Emilia shines with its lakes

Thursday 21 september 2023

With Visit Emilia, spectacular itineraries to discover water gems set among the peaks of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines National Park

Emilia shines with its lakes

Lake Santo

Emilia unveils unique natural treasures among the peaks of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines, such as its fascinating glacial lakes, gems of water that appear set among breathtaking landscapes, providing exciting walks and treks through a dense network of CAI trails. With Visit Emilia - -, the Land of Slow Mix, where every vacation is unique and eclectic among nature, culture and food and wine in the territory of Parma, Piacenza and Reggio Emilia, unforgettable experiences and itineraries are offered to discover the most beautiful lakes of Emilia, among glacial cirques, peat bogs, high-altitude grasslands, forests, streams and spectacular rocks.

Lake Calamone is a jewel at an altitude of more than 1,300 meters at the foot of Mount Ventasso in the Ventasso Lakes region, a coveted year-round destination that can be reached by following the beautiful trails of the Upper Apennine Reggiano trail network, which intersect with the Alta Via dei Parchi (500 km between Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany and Marche). In the heart in the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines National Park and in the area of the biodiversity-rich UNESCO MaB Reserve, the lake enchants with its beauty and the surrounding mountain environment, which reveals botanical rarities such as the orchid Dactylorhiza Praetermissa, the only one detected in Italy, picturesque blooms of high-altitude plants, such as blue-flowered gentians, crocuses, and trees of various types, such as the magnificent century-old beech trees, oak and chestnut groves, banked firs, linden trees, and maples, among which the Ventasso horses graze freely. There are many refuges where you can eat delicious dishes, especially on the shores of Lake Calamone, the Venusta Refuge is ideal for savoring typical dishes while enjoying a breathtaking view.

Lake of Calamone - Ph. Mattia Panciroli/flickr

Of glacial origin is Lake Cerreto Laghi, the most important summer and winter resort in the Reggio Emilia Apennines, thanks to its easily accessible location and its many hotels known for their traditional cuisine. There are plenty of hiking, mountain biking and ebike tours here to catch a glimpse of mountainous views and admire the Gulf of La Spezia and Palmaria Island from above. And reach the picturesque lakes Scuro, Le Gore and Pranda.

Cerreto Lake - Ph. @cerreto.laghi

Following mountain roads, we arrive at the Lake of the Ligonchio hydroelectric power plant, which stands out in the beautiful Ozola Valley. From the power plant, with its Art Nouveau suggestions, starts one of the most fascinating hiking trails (formerly Cai 633), which lies on the route of the spectacular Decauville railway, built starting in 1915, to serve the construction of the Hydroelectric Power Plant and the hydroelectric reservoirs, in the direction of Tarlanda - Presa Alta. Beautiful is the natural environment dotted with small lakes and alpine pools such as those of Prati di Sara, Lago del Caricatore, Lago del Capriolo and then Lago della Bargetana, which can be admired in the basin of Monte Prado and offers a spectacular view of Monte Cusna. Not to be missed in this area are the porcini mushroom dishes expertly prepared by local restaurateurs.

Lago della Bargetana - Ph. Mauro Malvolti/flickr

In the Parma Apennines, stretches the Parco dei Cento Laghi, a paradise for lovers of trekking and lake scenery. Here, beneath majestic peaks, there are some twenty lakes of glacial origin waiting to be explored. From Lago Santo, the largest in the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines, to the picturesque Lago del Bicchiere, from the expanses of the Lagoni to the tranquil reflections of the Laghi del Sillara, from Lago Ballano to Lago Verde and others, the protected area offers a variety of natural beauty to admire, including small settlements and perched villages, pastures, forests and floral biodiversity, crossed by the long route of the Alta Via dei Parchi. The itinerary can start from Prato Spilla, the hub of trekking and hiking, to reach Lake Ballano and Lake Verde by crossing the CAI trail and then climb to the small Lake Frasconi, shrouded in a truly fairy-tale beech forest. Second stop can be Monchio delle Corti, following the Percorso delle Frazioni, which branches off in two directions: the blue, dedicated to the theme of water and energy, where to discover the use of water resources in the valleys of the Cedra and Enza streams; the green, dedicated to the theme of the environment, local culture and rural architecture, where to explore characteristic mountain villages and authentic traditions.

Lago Verde - Ph. Marco Rossi

Food and wine destinations with hospitality options are the area's refuges such as the Lagdei Refuge located on the Lagdei plain of the same name at 1250 meters above sea level, framed by a beech and coniferous forest. Many trails and guided excursions for hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking depart from here. Adele and Giuseppina's mountain cuisine is just what you need after a day of exploring, then relaxing on the meadows.

Stop at Lake Bargetana - Ph. Michael Gaddini/flickr

In the Colli Piacentini area, the Tidone Trail offers a unique experience of trekking, as well as biking or horseback riding in 69 km of trail. Here, the Tidone stream plays a central role, leading toward the Molato Dam, an imposing and majestic structure that gave rise to Trebecco Lake. This 2.5-kilometer-long reservoir is set in a landscape of extraordinary beauty. In Alta Val Nure, an area that offers more than 560 km of trails that immerse themselves in a unique naturalistic universe and connect the municipalities of Ponte dell'Olio, Bettola, Farini and Ferriere, one can glimpse very picturesque lake basins, all of glacial origin, hiking destinations among the most popular in the Piacenza area. A beautiful trail leads to Lake Nero, an oasis of glacial origin surrounded by a green valley. Another path reveals the picturesque Lake Moo and Lake Bino, an extraordinary work of nature, which has divided it in two, decorating the larger of the portions in summer with a wonderful brushstroke of yellow water lilies.

Lake Bino - Ph. Matteo Marci/flickr

Scenic trails surround Lake Mignano, a dam created for hydroelectric power generation in Vernasca, now a reservoir with picnic areas and walking trails, such as the one that runs along it until it reaches the provincial road that goes from Case Bonini up to Gazzola and Monastero di Morfasso. While strolling among these beautiful waters, the desire to taste the delicious Piacenza PDO cured meats and other local specialties becomes irresistible.

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