Monte Croce forms part of the southern Apuan Alps and is 1314 metres (4311 feet) high. It is so called because of its four main ridges which intersect to form a cross.
The western part of the mountain consists of a limestone base and then rises up to a grassy slope where one can spend a gorgeous summer’s day. Seen from a distance the turfy mountain changes colour according to the season: from a deep green in spring to a reddish-yellow in autumn. In winter it is usually covered by snow. In the spring Monte Croce is renowned for its gorgeous daffodils and it is also known as the “montagna dei narcissi”.
Nearer home we have wild daffodils on the Prato Fiorito but I feel the display on Monte Croce is even finer At the top there is a very simple cross and one can enjoy intensely beautiful 360-degree views, especially onto the Pania Della Croce.
There are three main routes to get to Monte Croce. We’ve done them all. The numbers refer to the CAI maps and the red and white signs on the paths.
From Foce di Petrosciana: path 6 and then path 137 climbing the rocks of the northern slope up to the Colle Maschio. From here you can follow the ridge north along the trail to the summit.
From the Terme delle Baldorie: path 108 to the saddle at the foot of the mountain and then continue along the trail through the broad, grassy east ridge.
From the Foce delle Porchette: path 108. This goes through a wood and then passes through the gorge known as Le Scalette to emerge into a wide pleasant plateau and the upper meadows. It’s easy then to go up to the summit following the blue signs (blue is the colour used to show a route to the summit.
On a slight detour I came across these memorials. One of them commemorates those who died fighting in these mountains during World War II. Another is dedicated to Lucia Bresciani about whom I know nothing. There is also a “marginetta” of a lovely Madonna and a tiny shelter.
These photographs date from November 2005. I think I must return there before the days become even shorter. It is so beautiful up there!