Along this trail lies the ancestral home of Luca Ghini, the illustrious citizen of Casalfiumanese, considered one of the fathers of modern botany.
Who was Luca Ghini?
Luca Ghini was born in 1490 in the hills of Croara near Casalfiumanese. He was a professor at the University of Bologna where, surrounded by his pupils, the idea of the herbarium (erbario) began to take shape. He began drying plants to recognize, compare, and catalog them. His innovative approach proved unpopular in Bologna, which at the time was known to be pontifical and counter-reformation, leading to him transferring to Cosimo de’ Medici’s Tuscany where challenges to cultural norms were encouraged. In Pisa, he created the first university botanical garden in the world.
The Luca Ghini trail climbs from Villa Manusardi to Casalfiumanese up to the remains of the house where the botanist was born, crossing evocative landscapes marked by deep ravines.
It starts from Villa Malusardi park following the steps that lead down to the Casale river. The path then heads up stream where it reaches a bridge and crosses the river. It traverses the park of Villa Masolini and comes out on via Ceredola where it takes a right. Further ahead it takes you up a slope and to the left reaching a panoramic ridge, which leads uphill to the ruins of the Ca’ Baladelli. Then it descends to Baladelli di Sotto and continues in the same direction to the ruins of Ca ‘Frascari. There it joins the CAI 703 path that goes into the hills and leads to the summit of Mount Maggiore (455 m a.s.l). The trail is approximately 7.5km and takes about 5 hours of walking with elevation changes of 450m ascent and 100m descent.
The path to the Bridges of Croara (Ponti di Croara) is exposed and restricted to expert hikers only. After it rains, the path can become dangerous and slippery. The path has no wooded cover or water sources.