Trekking on the Pistoia mountains: three itineraries

Three routes from Pracchia to Abetone through the former FAP and the Suspension Bridge

Pracchia-Abetone hiking path
50 kilometers of trails in the middle of the woods

The Pracchia-Abetone hiking path stretches for about 50 km in the green heart of the Maresca, Melo-Lizzano, Spignana and Abetone Regional Forests, connecting Pracchia and Abetone. The former has the historical transapennine Porrettana railway. The latter has the grand-ducal Ximenes-Giardini road, built by Pietro Leopoldo, Grand Duke of Tuscany, and Francesco III d’Este, Duke of Modena and Reggio. All this was possible thanks to the local governments that alternated between forest management in the area and financing provided by the 2007/2013 Regional Rural Development Plan.
Passing among the beech woods and the majestic firs is to understand the history of the people who lived in these places. The technical characteristics of the route (average altitude 1,100 meters above sea level), permits its use by a wide range of walkers.

Hiking along the former FAP route
A heritage to be discovered and promoted

On 30 September 1965 the last of the Ferrovia Alto Pistoiese’s narrow-gauge trains made its final run. Thus ended the narrow-gauge railway service that the Ferrovia Alto Pistoiese (F.A.P) had provided for more than forty years in Pistoia’s mountains, connecting towns from Pracchia to Mammiano and most of those in between. Thanks to a restoration-development project commissioned by the Municipality of San Marcello Pistoiese, the railway line has become a real hiking trail. Some sections of the original railbed, offer visitors a natural tourism trail to explore on foot, by bicycle or on horseback. Along reclaimed stretches of track, you can admire the unspoiled nature of Pistoia’s mountains, remarkable views, or be charmed by detours to villages in the Pistoian mountains where the natural beauty, traditions, and culture of these mountain villages can be discovered. The route connects the towns of Mammiano, San Marcello, Limestre, Gavinana, Passo dell’Oppio, Maresca, Campo Tizzoro, and Pontepetri.

Suspension Bridge: a way for workers

The engineer Vincenzo Douglas Scotti, the manager of the Metallurgical plant of Mammiano Basso for many years was responsible for the construction of the Ironworks Suspension Bridge. The bridge, which was built to shorten the long journey that many workers from Popiglio were forced to make every day, is the result of the designer’s profound scientific-technical knowledge, as well as the work of skilled, local workers. Since the spring of 1922 the bridge has been crossed both ways, first by workers, with a firm step, accustomed to the void and oscillations and then by an “infinite” number of day trippers and tourists. The 212,4 metre long Ironworks Suspension Bridge is on of the longest, pedestrian suspension bridges in the world!



Francesco Benesperi

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