The Sentieri Della Costellazione Del Gufo (footpaths of the constellation of the Owl) are a collection of short-to-medium-length signposted paths developed by a forestry consortium whose aim is that of helping walkers rediscover largely extinct traditions in the Garfagnana.
I’ve done several of these delightful walks: the path from the village of Cascio to the town of Molazzana is particularly interesting as it concentrates on the once widespread cultivation of chestnuts, their drying and their milling into chestnut flower.
There are also explanatory signs about olive groves which here reach their highest cultivable extension.
This is a great walk to do in the height of summer as most of it is under forest cover.
Much of Molazzana looks quite new, although with a scale very much in keeping with Garfagnana’s old buildings and Cascio, too, has quite a few new buildings in addition to its rather battered castle. This is because both settlements were on the re-drawn gothic line in late 1944 when Gerry withdrew further north and abandoned the official one (See post at https://longoio.wordpress.com/2013/04/07/olive-oil-persian-cats-and-the-gothic-line/ for more on the gothic line) and suffered considerable destruction in the fighting which eventually brought allied troops to Aulla.
For those who do not want to spend ten hours walking, the Sentieri Della Costellazione Del gufo are great paths to do, especially in the short winter days since they usually don’t take more than two or three hours to finish.
I often feel that the Garfagnana administration has rather more initiative than that encountered in the Mediavalle where we live. I’m sure there are many footpaths around here that would gain by being properly signposted and documented and give added pleasure and interest even to occasional visitors.
The following photographs date from December 2007 and show several features encountered on the path including mills and a metato (chestnut drying house).