|Monte Prana from Foce
|Estimated net time||4-5 hours|
|Drinking water||No access to running water.|
|GSM coverage||Coverage at the summit. A bit mixed throughout the route, but mostly coverage.|
|Parking||Room for a few cars at trail head.|
|Start height||560 metres|
|Vertical metres||720 metres for the roundtrip|
|Trip distance||12.2 km|
From Lucca cross the river Serchio north of the Porta S. Jacopo, and drive in the direction of S. Martino in Freddana. 15.4 km after crossing the river turn right where it is signed for "Passo Lucese" and "Gombitelli". Continue upwards for 11.9 km until the road stops by a small restaurant. Find parking here.
Start hiking by following the road going up to the left, signed route "101" and marked by white and red. After 2.3 km this mountain road turns into a path, which can be followed all the way to the summit. When you get out of the forest, and you stand at the foot of the final ascent, you need to pay attention to what path you follow; the correct path does a sharp left and circles around the mountain on the left hand side (make sure you don't continue along the path that goes around the right hand side of the mountain). When this path is located the final 300 vertical metres are trivial. Note that the path through the forest can be fairly narrow in some sections, with a lot of high vegetation crossing the path. Some of this vegetation includes nettle and various types of thorn bush, but isn't of any real issue.
22. July 2008
This was our third full day in Tuscany, and the first day without low clouds the first half of the day. It was therefore time for a mountain hike, and Sigurd decided to come along.
We left the outskirts of Lucca just after 09:00 and headed north-west. After having passed S. Martino in Freddana we started the drive up into the mountains, but were promptly met by a closed road a few hundred metres after having left the main road. If our knowledge in the Italian language had been a bit better we would have understood the signs down at the main road ...
We therefore headed back down to the main road and drove along to the next suited exit into the mountains. After around a million zigzags we got to something we assumed would be trail head. A closer inspection of the signs confirmed our suspicion/hope, and we set off up along the mountain road.
When we got towards the end of the mountain road we noticed a path going off to the right, but after some considerations we instead followed the mountain road that continued towards left. This road was marked with the white and red colours, but soon turned into an unmarked path of mixed quality. However, we gave this path a try, only to finally turn around after around 800 metres. We then walked back to where the path had forked off to the right. After having walked something like one metre further along this path than we did on our first encounter we saw a clear sign saying "101" (the number of the route we were following) hidden behind a large log. Arrrrgh! From here the path was easy to follow through the forest, until we were at the foot of the final hill to the summit. Here we continued on the only path we saw, but after a few hundred metres realised that this path was circling the foot of the mountain in a counter clockwise direction, which did not match what our map said. We therefore decided to try to walk across to the left to try to find the path shown on the map, but this proved a nasty exercise through a lot of thorn bush on something that probably has been used by some animal once as a path. Eventually we got on the right path and could follow this to the summit. Not long before the summit, while I was talking with my friend Ole Petter via mobile phone, I almost stepped on a snake of length close to one metre. I don't know what it was, but it didn't appear to be an adder, an within seconds it shot off to safety.
The view from the summit was very nice, with the higher Apuane alps to the north, the Mediterranean Sea to the west, and Lucca to the south. We spent around ten minutes at the summit, sharing a couple of sandwiches, taking photos, and enjoying the views. Then we started our descent, this time following the best and quickest route all the way. After having walked down the steep section we started to run, and ran all the way back to the car. Then we drove back to our apartment outside Lucca and dived straight into the pool. An additional plus to the hike was the fact that we found out that we were able to see Monte Prana from our apartment.