The stage is among the most beautiful of the Via Romea and crosses the Apennines between Romagna and Tuscany. Two routes are planned: one towards Vallesanta (Corezzo-Bibbiena), historic and mentioned in the Annales Stadenses, and one towards the Sacro Monte de La Verna. We follow the historical one and then the one of La Verna (variant).
From Bagno di Romagna, we follow the SP 137 which goes up the Savio river up to the crossroads for Passo dei Mandrioli (cyclists take the Mandrioli SS 71 road, turn left up to the entrance to Badia Prataglia. Before entering the town, take the Corezzo up to Rimbocchi.From here they cross the bridge and take the SP del Corsalone and along a mostly gravel road they arrive at Casa Santicchio). On foot, continue to Le Gualchiere, the small village. Then the route begins on the path, first gravel, then a roadbed. After the bridge over the Fosso del Capanno, there is the recently restored Maestà Balassini, and then you climb towards the Nasseto plateau, one of the steepest and most tiring stretches of the stage. It is a mule track, the only link between Romagna and Tuscany until the nineteenth century; at times the ancient pavement is visible, but mainly the marl rock on which it was traced emerges. To the east is the Fosso del Capanno Wilderness Area, the first to arise in Italy. Nasseto was an ancient stop and refreshment point in the middle of meadows, with a shelter for passers-by, water (spring with drinking trough) and a beautiful avenue of ancient maples which lead to a stretch made of flaky and fragile clays, affected by the water and therefore to be approached very carefully. The trail has recently been made safe. We arrive at the last slopes of Monte Zuccherodante, where the path enters a dense beech forest and, with a series of hairpin bends often paved, leads to Passo Serra, where the municipality of Bagno has placed a stone to mark the Apennine pass of the Via Romea . At a subsequent crossroads you can choose two directions: Valle Santa-Corezzo and La Verna. The historical layout is that of Corezzo. There are various fallow areas that were active until a few years ago; the path has almost disappeared in various points, but the indicative signs such as dry stone walls and parts of the pavement remain evident. We arrive in Serra di Sopra, a group of houses all well recovered as second homes. From here, past the church, you cross vegetable gardens and terraced fields and reach the ford of the Fosso di Serra which is provided with a small wooden bridge. We then arrive at the church of Corezzo. After crossing the small town, you descend on the provincial road to descend on the Fosso di Corezzo which you cross on a wooden bridge; with a steep climb we arrive at the village of Frassineta where you can see the ruins of an ancient observation tower dating back to the 11th century. Once out, you go up towards Poggio della Forca and then a downhill path through the woods and fallow fields, you reach Casa Santicchio: a place to rest and spend the night (16 km from Passo Serra).
VARIANT OF LA VERNA: at the crossroads after Passo Serra you go to La Verna. Passo Serra marks the border with the Foreste Casentinesi National Park. We begin a journey along the ridge that marks the border between Romagna and Tuscany, in continuous ups and downs more or less tiring butsuggestive, in a thick forest, full of colors and with memorable landscapes. The path, previously wide and easy, narrows and soon begins to climb with a constant slope, until it climbs up to reach the summit of Montalto (1,291 m asl). Now the path remains at high altitude, with a slight slope and also becomes a beautiful dirt road that crosses a beautiful beech forest. We leave the entrance that leads to the Rifugio del Lupo and head towards the Rotta dei Cavalli (1,172 m asl). Then a long but not too tiring climb that takes us to Poggio Tre Vescovi (1,238 m asl) which marks the ancient border of three dioceses (Arezzo, Sansepolcro, Sarsina), and we are one third of our way towards La Verna. We begin a long descent, first light, then more steep, following the CAI path n. 50 until you cross the forest road for Rimbocchi. We follow the cart track in the direction of La Verna, passing first the Gualanciole Pass, then the Pratelle, maintaining almost the same altitude (1,050), with Vallesanta on our right. At Pratelle we leave the forest road and take the dirt road again which will soon lead us to the foot of Monte Calvano, the last long and demanding climb. We follow the path and come out on the meadows of Monte Calvano (1,254 m asl), after which we begin a long descent towards Monte de La Verna. We first reach a crossroads, at the foot of a large cross which indicates the beginning of the two paths that lead to the sanctuary: under the cliff of Monte Penna, you enter the sanctuary. We have covered about 10.8 km from Passo Serra (cyclists who have to leave from Bagno di Romagna in any case take the SP 137 and then the Mandrioli SS 71 road up to the entrance to Badia Prataglia. Before entering the town they go towards Corezzo (SP Val di Corezzo) up to Rimbocchi.Then take the SP Corsalone up to La Verna.. From Rimbocchi to the Sanctuary it is 12.3 km).