The Park as we can see it today was born at the end of 2011 by joining Stirone Regional River Park and the Piacenziano Geological Nature Reserve.
The whole Park is particularly important for its fossils from the Tertiary and Quaternary eras, which were discovered thanks to natural erosion in the area and allowed for the Park to become famous in the scientific domain all over the world.
Trail of Monte Giogo (Lugagnano V.A.)
Walking time: 3 hours
Difficulty: The itinerary is easy to walk, even if in the initial part you have to overcome a difference in height of about 200 meters until you reach the area of the Cross.
However easy, the ascent to the mountain should be done slowly (especially in the hot summer months) and savored with frequent stops in order to admire the panoramic views as well as the precious vineyards from whose grapes originate Gutturnio and Monterosso D.O.C. wines. On our right side there is the spectacular amphitheater of Monte Giogo, an imposing wall engraved in Pliocene marine sediments from which thin and arid clay ridges emerge, with a serrated profile interspersed with deep incisions thickly wooded.
La Ciocca Mountain Trail (Vernasca)
Walking time: about 1 hour and 45 minutes (round trip)
In the initial part of the path, there is a small riparian wood made up of poplars, elms, willows, locust trees and English oak trees, among whose foliage it is not rare to observe the frenetic activity of squirrels and woodpeckers (green and red), and a thick and intricate arid shrubland where, among prunus and thorny brambles, the dormouse (a small rodent with an attractive face) and a myriad of small animals (wren, robin. ..).
Rio Carbonaro Path (Lugagnano V.A.)
Walking time: 2 hours
Difficulty level: the basic itinerary is easy but sometimes muddy during the rainiest periods, so the use of trekking boots is recommended.
The route is partly equipped for use by people with reduced mobility. After passing Case Cancellieri you take, after about 100 meters, the first cartroad on the right and you go up until you pass a small brook, beyond which you turn right, to the beginning of the equipped path. Leaving behind the imposing sandy wall engraved on the opposite side of Val Chero (Zone n.2), there’s the entrance to the small valley of Rio Carbonaro where you immediately meet a small scrub of alders at the foot of which proliferates a hygrophilous vegetation consisting of sedges, rushes, straws and horsetails whose stems can reach 140 cm in height.
Rio Rosello Path (Gropparello)
Walking time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Length: 1 km
Difficulty level: the path is about 1 km long and it is easy to walk along; the first part develops along a cartroad while the return crosses the Rio Rosello several times. It is therefore advisable to use trekking boots or rubber boots in the rainiest periods.
Along the way there is no possibility to get water so it is advisable to plan ahead. After leaving the car and crossing Case Badini, a pleasant panorama opens up in front of you, where rural environments shaped by man’s work coexist with natural environments. On the right side of the path there is a long hedge of hawthorns, dogwoods, brambles, prunus, dog roses… where passerine birds, small mammals, the shy “saettone” and the unpredictable “biacco”, harmless snakes find food and shelter.
Trail of Rio Stramonte (Lugagnano)
Walking time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Difficulty: the itinerary is easy, even if with slopes sometimes accentuated in the wooded area that leads to the gully, and it is partly muddy in the rainiest periods. As footwear we recommend the use of hiking boots.
The ascent to the gully area must take place in the driest periods (late spring – early autumn) when normally collapses in the walls do not trigger. After leaving the car and looking at the didactic panel with some information about the protected area, take the cartroad on the right that goes up among bushes and oaks until you reach some vineyards on the ridge from which you can enjoy a beautiful view on Val Chiavenna, on the gully area of Diolo and on Mount Giogo (to the East). Observing the ground along the cartroad and at the edge of the vines, it’s surprising the quantity of fossil shells that emerge and that reveal which treasure is hidden under our feet.
Trail of the Arda Stream (Castell’Arquato)
Walking time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Length: 2 km
Difficulty level: the itinerary is about 2 km long, it is flat and easy to walk.
The route develops mostly on the upper part of the right bank and only for short stretches it goes down to the riverbed. We suggest the use of hiking boots or rubber boots to move more freely along the riverbed.
Take the cartroad and turn right, leaving behind the bridge of Castell’Arquato. Along the path you can see among the plants some “burghe”, old bank defenses made of metal cages filled with stones that until a few decades ago delimited the course of the torrent when it flowed at this altitude. The vegetation found here is of riparian type (willows and poplars), but due to the lowering of the water table and the human intervention, it is associated with typical species of arid environment (broom and downy oak) and allochthonous species such as Robinia pseudoacacia, originally from North America, and Ailanthus altissima, originally from Central Asia.
NATURE TRAILS IN THE STYRONE AREA
Pietra Nera Path – San Genesio (Vigoleno)
Travel time: 2 hours 30 minutesLength: 3 km
Difference in height: easy; flat route with a short climb to Pietra Nera
Walk between nature and history. Parked the car near Pietra Nera, an ophiolite with a typical dark color that stands out for its isolated position, you first go up to the artificial lake, and then reach the top of the rocky spur through a short and steep path that passes through an environment characterized by plants typical of arid and sunny environments. At the top of the spur you can see the whole Stirone valley and on the opposite side the village of Vigoleno. Going back down along the same route you reach the state road and crossing the bridge on the Stirone, which separates the province of Parma from Piacenza, turn right to cross the village of Case Trabucchi, a place characterized by typical rural buildings. Leaving the village, walk on the main road and then take the path towards the torrent on the right. After about 500 meters you arrive at the picnic area “Trabucchi”, equipped with tables, benches and barbecue and characterized by a ring path in wood for people with disabilities.
The area surrounding the area is very important for the Park as there are many species of protected flora, such as orchids. Returning to the main road, we pass the nearby soccer field, from which the path starts again for about 600 meters through the riparian wood and the clearings, and then along a naturalistic forestation intervention realized by the Park. Going on, you arrive at the oratory of San Genesio, a small Romanesque parish church of the XII century, near which you can admire some oaks of remarkable dimensions.
The return is on the main road and allows to admire on one side the riparian wood of willows and poplars, which runs parallel to the torrent, and on the other side the hills of Piacenza, covered by vineyards for the production of local DOC wines. On the right side the rural landscape is interrupted by gullies, typical morphologies of clayey soils, which appear as a complex network of furrows divided by steep slopes often bare and subject to erosion. Such formations in spring assume a particular aspect for the flowering of the Broom, of the Wild Rose, of the Blackthorn and of the Sanguinello. This is also the area of birds of prey (kestrels and buzzards), of some reptiles (lizards and snakes), but also of hares, hedgehogs, martens, wild mice and toads. The presence of a remarkable biodiversity is surely due not only to the variety of the landscape, but also to the numerous hedges of autochthonous trees and shrubs, which still today divide the various properties of the farmers.