Photography by Roberto Ridi
Degree of difficulty: Challenging EEA (Expert Hikers with Equipment)
Time: 6 hours
Departure: “Monte Perone and surroundings”
Arrival: Marciana, Fortezza Pisana.
«Footpath 100, which winds along the ridges of the highest peaks of the island, has given me unforgettable sensations!» The photographer Roberto Ridi tells us, accompanying us along the beautiful path full of colours; and continues: «The journey starts from a large area of pinewood with facilities at Monte Perone, close to the provincial road S.Ilario-Poggio, and continues along a stretch of the 105/GTE, also known as “the butterfly trail” and part of the Gran Traversata Elbana (Great Elba Traverse), and climbs steeply to a junction, near Monte Maolo. Here, turning left towards Le Calanche, marks the beginning of Footpath 100.
The whole route, which faithfully traces the ridge of the mountains, is very beautiful; you’ll discover a granite-paved path winding between round cushions of prunella and the fascinating natural architecture of the rocks in the midst of magnificent mountain landscapes.
Your faithful companion will be an encompassing, far-reaching view of the sea and, as you climb further, of all the islands of the Archipelago and Corsica Take care as you walk and make time for breaks to enjoy the wonderful scenery.
Towards Le Filicaie
Between Monte Maolo and Le Calanche there are short stretches where fixed safety features (“via ferrata”) have been mounted by the Italian Alpine Club (CAI).
The walk continues along the ridge through Le Calanche (903 m) and then descends along the Felicaie (895 m) and a spur that forms a watershed. The route, once again with a “via ferrata”, continues up to the highest peak of the island, Monte Capanne.
Monte Capanne, “Via Ferrata”
I recommend you walk in this area on clear days, in autumn or spring, when the colours literally explode.
The best times are when the light is more oblique; for example, at sunrise in the Calanche area the beams of dawn literally caress the outline of the island – an amazing sight – and if you’re lucky you’ll see the mountains gradually emerge from the morning mist. At dawn you’ll also discover that the play of light enhancing the sculpted forms of the rock face makes for very picturesque shots.
Alternatively, there are some extraordinary photography opportunities in the late afternoon, especially in the stretch between Monte Capanne and La Stretta, as the sun is setting on the horizon.
Take care at all times as the slopes and rock faces can be slippery; opt for dry days and/or with winds from west or north.
Herds of mouflon
Along the way you’ll often see traces of the passage of mouflon and even encounter small herds of the now habitual guests of these mountains.
Continuing from Monte Capanne (1019 m) the trail becomes much more challenging and should be tackled with safety harnesses attached to the “via ferrata”.
The route traverses the slopes towards Monte di Cote, passing through La Galera and La Tavola (936 m). From heights such as these, you’ll be able to admire the spectacular panorama and splendid views across to the islands of the Archipelago and Corsica.
Footpath 100 ends here and the return journey along footpath 110 from Monte di Cote to La Stretta arrives back at the Fortezza Pisana in Marciana ».
TIPS FOR FAMILIES
The via ferrata is a great family experience. However, children must be sufficiently capable to attempt this endeavour and we strongly recommend following the advice of expert local guides. Monte Capanne has many alternative routes suitable for children.
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Photo ©Roberto Ridi