“Via della Vena del Gesso” (gypsum vein route) is a 70 kilometre-long path connecting the Emilia Romagna towns of Imola and Faenza. It traverses a rocky mountain chain formed entirely of chalk (gypsum), also known as selenite, which is included in the protected area of the Parco Regionale della Vena del Gesso Romagnola.
A route abounding with sheer chalk cliffs, characteristic of the Karst systems that have created underground routes, more than two hundred and thirty natural cavities.
The route starts from Imola railway station. After passing through the historic centre, it climbs along the Santerno river towards the gypsum cliffs, crossing woods, valleys, cultivated fields and the ridges of the Parco della Vena del Gesso (gypsum vein park) and then descends through spectacular ravines to the city of Faenza and onwards to its railway station.
Not to be missed along the route are the historic centre of Imola, the Parco delle Acque Minerali (mineral water park), Casa del Fiume (river house), Briglia di Codrignano (Codrignano dike), Ponte Bailey (Bailey bridge), Monte Penzola, Riva di San Biagio, Grotta del Re Tiberio (King Tiberius cave) and the Museo delle Grotte Gessose (gypsum caves museum).
The second stage of the route is quite difficult, both for the legth and difference in level. It is recommendable to stop halfway in Borgo Rivola.
High-top hiking boots and thermal anti-blister socks are recommended.
40/50 litre rucksack that should never exceed 7-8 kg (water included. At least 3 litres per day are recommended in summer. On some parts of the route there are neither drinking water fountains nor shops)
First aid kit
GPS system for orientation
Telephone and battery charger + power bank
It can be faced in different seasons. In summer, pay attention to the heat.
If there is snow or if it rains, exposed sections on cliffs are not recommended, and variants or trails located to the north are strongly recommended.
Download the GPX track or buy the paper map at eXtraBO