In May, those who love the Apuan Alps and trekking cannot miss the daffodil bloom on the slopes of Mt. Croce. An intoxicating spectacle!
The month of May in the Apuan Alps, it is the flowering of daffodils on Mount Croce
This is how Vasco and I, on the day dedicated by the Italian Alpine Club to hiking in trails and parks, thought of reaching Stazzema and, from there, the bucolic slopes of Croce.
Just before arriavre to the small Versilia village a detour on the right (well paved road) indicates the Forte dei Marmi shelter.
The road to the refuge, slightly uphill and increasingly narrow, then continues on a long, well-maintained dirt road. When the dirt road becomes less passable (presence of a bar) we park the car and continue on foot, backpacking. You walk along the dirt road which, finally becoming more regular again, with wide switchbacks leads to a lay-by in the middle of the woods (about 30′ from the parking lot).
Several paths indicated by “markers” start from here: it is necessary to take, uphill, path No. 6, located on the immediate left of those arriving at the lay-by (the path is recognizable by the wide steps formed by the rock).
Shortly we arrive at the “Casa Giorgini” B&B, a charming cottage in the middle of the woods where the owners live year-round, raise animals and offer their delicious menus to trekkers.
CAI Trail No. 6 continues to the left of the B&B, gaining elevation quickly and, after small, short switchbacks and a short descent, continues with gentle ups and downs in the middle of the black hornbeam forest. On the right, imposing, the North Face of the Procinto and the so-called Cresta dei Bimbi, a meeting place for climbing enthusiasts; on our left, beyond the woods, the Pania della Croce (the Queen of the Apuan Alps) and Mount Corchia watch us in silence.
In 30 to 40 minutes from the B&B we come to a fork in the road: on the left continues CAI trail No. 6 to the Foce di Petrosciana, on the right begins route No. 8 to the Foce delle Porchette (well indicated by CAI signs); we take the latter, which, in about 30′ of steep switchbacks, leads us to the Foce; at the site we find the usual “marginetta,” a typical stone construction intended (originally) to offer shelter to the Apuan peoples and generally containing inside a white marble bas-relief, a reproduction of sacred images.
By now, along our route, it is a swarming of hikers of all ages; the blooming of the daffodils is becoming a must for spring appointments in the Apuan Alps and more and more people do not want to miss the spectacle offered by nature; we also meet a group from CAI Viareggio that is accompanying youth mountaineering kids: I think of these Instructor friends and admire them for the passion and time they dedicate to the kids and to offering them simple but so formative life experiences!
Vasco and I now continue on route No. 108, which in about 15′, leads us to the most delicate passage of the hike: the path, through some easy rocks, climbs on the left side a narrow and deep rocky crack with the help, in the most exposed points, of a metal chain\cable (novices can tackle the passage with a via ferrata kit); we proceed very carefully, the rock is wet and therefore slippery.
We have just finished the challenging stretch and here we are at Fonte del Pallino, a beautiful clearing with verdant meadows where a series of markers are clearly visible: we follow the marker indicating Monte Croce (still route No. 108), which can be reached in about 45′.
After about 15′ from Fonte del Pallino, near some small rocks, the trail branches off to the left, which, in another half hour of well-tracked ascent, takes us to the summit of Croce.
Along the climb, the spectacle now is truly superlative: the scene is literally stolen by the green of the meadows and the white of the thousands and thousands of daffodils (narcissus poeticus or wild narcissus) in bloom. We, actually, prefer the silences and intimacy of the mountains, but today it is perfectly fine: it brings optimism and gives confidence to meet so many people fascinated by the spectacle of nature and willing to put in a little effort before a well-deserved rest;
“The mountains are made for everyone, not just for mountaineers: for those who desire rest in quietness as well as for those who seek even greater rest in toil.”
There, now we are on the top of the Cross, meeting other friends we haven’t seen for a long time; it’s really a celebration. The meadows, all around, are dotted with an infinity of white dots … today “I think” the mountain looks like a Monet canvas!
We decide to descend from the southeast side of the Croce (about two and a half hours to get back to the car): a long and beautiful “ride” to the Foce del Termine, in the direction of the village of Palagnana; from there, by trail 108, we cut through the mountain halfway up, reach the Fonte del Pallino again and then, by the same route up, the car.
Even on the way back, in the section of Trail 108 between Termine and Pallino, nature offers its best; unexpectedly we come across the blooming globularia and the beauty of the gentian verna (from Latin vernus, verna, vernum, meaning spring): legends tell of knights struck by love spells thanks to the beauty of its flowers.