Day 5 GEA San Benedetto in Alpe

Today was supposed to be an easy walk but somehow we managed to fill all the available daylight time, a sort of Parkinson's law adjusted to walking.

Time filling started with a relatively late breakfast at the Agriturismo Poderone and it was after nine when we left and only after Chris had nearly bear hugged the life out of a clearly petrified landlady.
Crushing the landlady at the Agriturismo Poderone

After 5 kilometres of on-off road walking we were back to the Passo della Calla and the GEA. The car parks at the pass were packed and there was clearly something significant going on. Lots of elderly Italians, many dressed in military fatigues typical of the local hunters, but instead of rifles they were armed with baskets. Today was open season for fungi.
Funghi hunters near the Refugio de Forlì 
For 40 minutes or so we climbed up through the autumn mist to La Burraia and the Refugio de Forlì which, contrary to the notes in the guide, turned out to be open and at the present time is open all year. We could have stayed here!

Captured funghi
For a few minutes only the mist cleared and we got some lovely views across the valleys to both the north and south. A fungi hunter let me look inside his basket and it was already full of huge fleshy pink things with just a vague family resemblance to the mushrooms we eat at home.

Back into the trees and mist we headed off towards Mount Falco and then Mount Falterona before we worked out that we were on the wrong 00 track. I'm sure there is some reasoning behind giving different routes the same number but it always confuses me. Eventually, and after roaming around for about an hour, we drop down the mountain and mist clears.

The walk changes in the afternoon, becomes more open, along a ridge and with some big views. Instead of mist and a slightly spooky autumn feel, it's now windy, fresh but with the colours there is still no mistaking the season. We drop down to Passo Tre Foggi, three fungi hunters are recovering from their exertions, two women and a man. I ask the man if I can see inside his basket hoping for a fungi photograph but the two empty bottles of wine and remnants of crushed mushroom aren't quite the effect I had been hoping for. The man, perhaps spotting my surprise, tells me it's been a bad fungi year.

Approaching the Passo del Muraglione
We press on to the Passo del Muraglione, where the the hotel I had once hoped to stay at is closed and for sale. The bar is still open and clearly a key stopover for elderly men with huge motorcycles. We hang around for beer and a rest.

The landlady at Agriturismo Poderone had booked us into another agriturismo at San Bernadetto in Alpe. Although we managed to find a nice trail down it was a long one with some nasty road walking at the end. San Bernadetto was another decaying mountain resort town a bit like Badia Prataglia. The venue was an anticlimax after the Agriturismo Poderone but the food was good and so was the price.


  1. Hi John,

    Just catching up with this walk. How well I remember the Sunday lunch at Caprese Michelangelo! It must be more than a decade ago now.

    1. It was, pure chance that I ended up walking past the same restuarant, wouldn't mind eating that meal again