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Passo del Lucese

I happened to find this little pass on the map, while looking for a day loop possibility over the better known Passo del Vestito. But then on the road, I couldn't find, until a sign appeared in front of my face saying "Passo del Lucese - this way" in Italian of course. I think this would be one road I would ride a lot if I happened to live here.

1.(10m,00.0km) START-END WEST: Capezzano Pianore: jctSR439 - Via Italica
2.(174m,12.0km) profile turns left onto small road from SP1
3.(547m,18.3km) turnoff to right goes to various small villages and the valley
4.(580m,20.0km) TOP: point slightly before Passo Del Lucese; pass elevation is 558m
5.(80m,33.8km) START-END WEST: SP32 terminates onto SP2, south of Borgo a Mozzano


From West.
The approach starts several kms west of Camaiore, where a sign directs Lucca bound traffic to the right. This is counter intuitive, but going to the left leads to many dead ends in the mountains (according to my limited experience)

The road to the right climbs up the lower hills of the Apuane ridge, apparently heading for a low gap containing a group of houses. Traffic here is still almost as heavy as on the unpleasant SS1 in the valley. But climbing further, a sign in the forest comes to the rescue:  "Passo del Lucese" it reads, and directs those that are interested up a very narrow tunnel through thick brush forest up the hill. The turns and switchbacks seem to take no end, even if they are all are very short, tight and narrow.

It seems, that in this area every climb is under the scenic ban of some hilltown, and this little pass is no exception. The view here is more gentle and isolated than on the rugged Passo del Vestito. Somewhere on a mildly rounded hill, between the road and the important ancient town of Lucca, covering the top of a rounded hill perfectly like a tablecloth, Migliano is decked out. First it is at eyelevel, then the pass climbs above it, and the valley becomes visible in the background. The eyes look for big brother Lucca in the distance, but can't find it - probably too hazy. The road traverses further along the edge of the rounded hill. Before the summit is reached another appealing tiny road leaves to the right direction Lucca. Curving through the forest, and keeping the pass top in sight on the GPS on the handlebar, the road seems to make very little progress to get to it. Then finally a group of modern houses in the woods line the road. The sign Passol de Lucese" is bigger than a pass sign. It seems Passo de Lucese is also the name of a town.

From East. When I look at my Belletti 1:300000 road map, there seems to be some confusion which way this pass descends. It looks like there are options to stay on the west side of the ridge, as wells as a descend towards the valley of the Serchio. However, in reality most of the descent happens before that junction. It happens in the form of closely spaced switchbacks in dense forest.

Then in Convale, a junction with a crossing road would merit more exploration, that I think would be very pleasant riding and according to the map would yield much more climbing than this pass (towards north along the Apuane ridge). This profile descends straight as an arrow towards the valley of the river Serchio, and meets it near Borgo a Mozzano.

A dayride with this point as intermediate summit is on page: Passo del Vestito