Passo della Cisa - Special Stages

Cisa pass

Chris Leustean

Surely it is one of the most beautiful Apennine passes you can ever travel. Thanks also to the recent resurfacing of the road surface, the road that runs along it, the SS62 della Cisa in fact, guarantees you a truly engaging driving experience.

Altitude: 1.041m
Length: 55km
Connects: Fornovo di Taro (PR) with Pontremoli (MS)
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It is located between the provinces of Parma and Massa-Carrara at a relatively low altitude (1,041 meters above sea level), which guarantees its opening throughout the year. Along the road there are numerous small hamlets, but the main municipalities you come across are Pontremoli on the southern side and Fornovo di Taro on the northern side.

At the top of the pass stands the Sanctuary of the Madonna della Guardia, built at the beginning of the 1900s, and there are some structures including a bar. The panorama that can be admired from the pass is not excellent, also due to the dense vegetation that we still find at these altitudes.

The Emilian side is certainly the most interesting one. The road that starts from Fornovo di Taro, on the outskirts of Parma, is in excellent condition, the road surface has no breaks, holes or anything that could disturb driving, and the roadway is wide enough to allow you to drive in complete safety. From Fornovo di Taro there are 35km before reaching the pass, which means that the road is not too steep.
The morphology of this stretch is very valuable. The route has very few hairpin bends but it turns out to be very guided with a succession of really sudden curves, with sharp curves and other more flowing ones which makes it really pleasant to ride this stretch, both uphill and downhill, both with many and few horses.
Despite the relatively low altitude, the panorama that presents itself is truly stupendous, thanks to a sparse vegetation on this side, the view of the surrounding mountains, the subsequent stretches of road, the meadows along the road, traveling along this side is very very appreciable.
This road also has historical interest, as a famous competition was held here, the Parma-Poggio di Berceto (Poggio di Berceto is the last fraction you meet before arriving at the pass, at the crossroads with the SP523), a competition which by the way was the first race in which Enzo Ferrari took part in 1919.

To the south, descending into Tuscany, the road has some imperfect road surfaces, perhaps even the narrowest roadway in some places, but it is still a wonderful road to drive on. Here we find a more tortuous route, with the presence of some series of hairpin bends and the often thicker vegetation compromises the visibility of the surrounding panorama.
Pontremoli, the town from which the ascent to the pass begins, can be easily reached by going up the valley along the SS62 from Aulla or further south from La Spezia, or by exiting the Cisa motorway right at Pontremoli. From the inhabited center it is also possible to climb towards the Passo del Brattello, which also leads to Emilia Romagna.

In our opinion

Obviously it is a destination that we highly recommend! A stupendous road in every respect, practicable at any time of the year.
Generally little traffic, difficult to advise in which direction to take it. Above all, the north side deserves to be covered in both directions, therefore, whether you arrive from the south or the north, you will be able to enjoy this road, and why not retrace it on your way back.
If, on the other hand, you want to make a round trip, or in any case a more complex itinerary, the Brattello Pass is certainly to be taken into consideration, which takes you back to Emilia and can easily put you in communication with the Cento Croci Pass or with the Santa Donna Pass.

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