Campassi is the Starting Point of the Hike
There is only space for one car on the narrow street. It winds up in serpentines, it is the only access to Campassi. The church bell bells ring at 10 a.m. A couple of houses. An older man comes out of his house. He sees a foreign car with foreign registration plates. What are we doing here? Hiking: To the old mills (Mulini), to Reneuzzi, Vegni, and back. No, you need two days for this. We are going.
The Way to the Abandoned Settlement of Reneuzzi
The road goes a little further downhill and becomes even narrower. Two houses, here it ends. We ask the man in the shed where the path is. He doesn’t hear us. The trail is marked with 3 dots and leads downhill. We reach the gorge. The former mill has fallen into disrepair. A small picnic area. We cross the Rio Campassi from stone to stone and take the narrow path on the other side. Always uphill. The air is pleasantly cool and humid. The sweat runs down our back. Desolate uphill through tall grass. At some point, we reach Reneuzzi, no caffè. The place has been deserted for a long time, the houses are gradually collapsing, nature is taking back everything that man has struggled to wrestle from. No street, no human life, that’s how it is today.
A small square with a stone table, an extinguished fireplace. The church is best preserved. No matter how small the settlement is, God is omnipresent. A name in the tiny cemetery, Bellomo, again and again. Margherita’s tombstone on the right, she was only five years old. Her parents in grief. A grave light is on. There is someone who remembers them. On the left, a large tomb by Davide, who died in 1961 at the age of 31. His parents surely in grief. A light also on his grave. Were they two siblings and why did they have to die so early?
The path winds through the forest and meets a few houses from Ferrazza. No one there, but still used. Summer houses obviously.
The route of our hike in the Apennines is now a gravel trail. It leads comfortably along the mountain. From time to time it gives a nice view of the deeply cut valley to Campassi. The path divides, to the left via Casoni and to the right via a steep path to Vegni. We decide on the right trail and after a further climb, we meet a wide forest path that leads downhill to Vegni. A church, houses, a playground. Children’s voices from a house, it’s lunchtime. A few steps outside is the small cemetery, the gate is freshly oiled. There are essentially two surnames.
The Abandoned Mills
Past a few donkeys, we now have to go through a fenced area. The path is marked and is getting steeper and steeper down to the Rio Campassi. The path ends at the torrent, we missed the junction. So back until we find the turnoff to Mulino Agneto on the right. The narrow donkey path leads to the mill, from which the large iron mill wheel is still preserved. Every marking ends here and we search in vain for a path. It sucks. Hiking in the Apennines is not always easy. The contour lines on the map show that we have to move in the river valley and so we struggle upstream along the torrent, balancing from one bank to the other on the stones. We support each other when the stone tilts. Lucky, just made it. According to the navigation system, the path to Cà Campassi should now begin on the right bank. Found, finally. Always good to know where you are heading.
A few meters out of the river valley and we meet a small settlement. Four men are chopping firewood. One is chopping and three are watching. A familiar picture. We are greeted warmly, as always in Italy. Where we come from? Oh, gambe buone – strong legs.