Beyond the Apennines mountain pass, between Bologna and Firenze, at 442 metres above sea level, we find Firenzuola “land wet by the Santerno, where Tuscan is spoken in Romagna”. The town was built in 1350 by the Florentine Republic. These “terra nuova”, new lands, had the strategic purpose of protecting the road to Florence from Bologna.
Firenzuola was almost completely destroyed after the second world war. In fact, the Gothic line, the fortified defensive line created by the German army to stop the advancement of the allied troops, passed directly through these mountains. On September 17, 1944, after a long, bloody battle, the allies crossed the Gothic line and conquered Monte Altuzzo at the Giogo Pass.
Firenzuola is today the ideal place for nature lovers who prefer the relaxing silence of the uncontaminated woods and lush fields for long treks on foot, horseback or by bike. Pietra Serena, the local grey sandstone, has been used for centuries to decorate squares, Florentine palazzo, and religious and municipal monuments throughout the territory. To preserve the history of stone making the cellars of the Rocca, fortress, are home to the Museo della Pietra Serena (museum of sand-stone).
There are many possible itineraries to enjoy:
- Excursion along Via degli Dei to uncover the secrets of the military Flaminia and the “Vie Romee”: leaving the Futa Pass in the direction of Monte di Fò, or towards Passeggere, are two remains of an ancient Roman road.
- A visit to the Museo dell Pietra Serena found in the cellars of the Rocca ( tel. 055 8199477 - 055 8199459 )
- An excursion on foot, by bike or on horseback from Moscheta in the “Giogo Casaglia” forestry complex along thematic routes with rest-stops in picnic areas, retreats, or comfortable lodgings. It makes for the perfect opportunity to take part in numerous events and for a visit to the Museo del Paesaggio Storico dell’Appennino (museum of the historical landscape of the Apennines - tel. 055 8144900 - 055 8144304)
- A trip to the Oasi di Covigliano, where it is possible to see muflons and reach the breathtaking crests of the Sasso di Castro heights, is a wonderful idea. On the way back a stop in the Covigliano Museum, which holds a private collection of numerous objects from the past, is a must (tel. 331 2933434 – www.covigliaio.net).
- A trip to Bruscoli and the Historical Ethnographic museum is perfect for history and archeology buffs. Here you will find traditional farm tools as well as war records and memorabilia from WWII. (tel.055 818110)
- In ExSeminario building, an exibition dedcated to the Second World War ( tel. 349 1670235 - 339 6851939)
- A guided tour of the German Cemetery at the Futa Pass, built by the architect Dieter Oesterlen in 1969, is another great stop.
And if you don’t mind doing a little shopping, an open market is held on Monday, morning and afternoon. Here you can find meat, organic spelt, white potatoes, and a taste of the excellent Tagliatelle with mushroom or wild game sauce. It doesn’t hurt to remember that this is the land of the wholesome Mukki Mugello milk, and that we are on the Vie del Latte (milk road)!