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The path of Valtopina
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Nature parks and theme parks

A charming itinerary to discover two important Umbrian villages: Valtopina and Armenzano

The Pieve Fanonica, the Bridge over the Flaminia, the Castles of Poggio, Serra and Gallano, the Tower of Capodacqua, the Calestro Fortress: the stages of an enchanting ring-route trek

Difficulty: E           
Distance: 15 km   
Height difference: + 600 m     
Duration: 6h (excluding breaks)    
Starting point: Valtopina  
Number of Stages: 1    
Suitable for families: no 
Activities to do: birdwatching - admiring landscape - visit Buccilli Mill

This itinerary, relatively demanding in terms of height difference and development, starts from the village of Valtopina, which was built along the Topino River, not far from the ancient Via Flaminia, around the year 1000. In its vicinity are testimonies of pre-Roman, Roman and early Christian culture: the most important of these are undoubtedly the Pieve Fanonica, built in the early Christian era and, a short distance away, the Bridge over the Flaminia with its large basement below the ancient consular road and the buildings of the Via Flaminia itself.

From the Middle Ages, there are numerous landmarks in the surrounding hills, such as the castles of Poggio, Serra and Gallano, the Tower of Capodacqua, and the Fortress of Calestro. Many of these buildings were part of a complex system of sighting and defence, or were later integrated into it, extending as far as Visso (MC) and commissioned by the Trinci, a family of probable Longobard origin, Lords of Foligno from 1305 to 1493.

We start uphill inside the village, behind the last houses above the market, following path 355, at times coinciding with a winding asphalt road, as far as Casa Tommaso. From here, still uphill, along a dirt road through the woods, we continue until we pass the remains of Serra Castle. The road now descends and after about 100 metres, at the crossroads, you turn right. Continue along path 355 to reach Vallemare. You arrive on the asphalt road below, turn right past Case Colle Silvo and continue on the path until, leaving a small tower called ‘la Croce’ on the left, you take the asphalt road that leads to the splendid village of Armenzano. Its name derives from ‘armentum’, herd, underlining the importance of sheep farming for the inhabitants of the area. While its origins can be attributed to the Umbrians, its present structure dates back to the 13th cen

tury, as the dwellings are arranged in a double concentric row to protect the central castle. Leaving Armenzano, take path 359 in the direction of Nottiano, a place strongly linked to Franciscan tradition. After passing the village of Nottiano, you reach the Pian dell'abate road and continue for 4 kilometres to San Giovanni di Collepino. Here we meet path 357, which cuts through the woods, finding an alternative route to the tarmac road, and leads to the Buccilli Mill. This is the only active historic mill in the park and it is possible to request a visit. From here it is easy to return to Valtopina along path 357, which follows the asphalted road.