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In the heart of the Bologna Apennines, between the Reno and Setta Valleys, in the municipalities of Marzabotto, Monzuno, and Grizzana Morandi, the Mount Sole Natural Park extends over 6,300 hectares. Though at first it may look like any other area of the Apennines, it was the site of a tragic historical event  which happened during WWII, forever changing the history of the land: the massacre carried out by Nazi-Fascist soldiers between 29 September and 5 October 1944.

This area is protected in part to keep the memory of and interest in this piece of Italian history alive—in particular that of the events involving the Stella Rossa Partisan Brigade and the devastation brought about by the war. The park is also home to the  Fondazione Scuola di Pace (School of Peace Foundation) of Montesole. Its goal is to promote educational and training initiatives about peace, the non-violent transformation of conflict, and respect for human rights so that different peoples and cultures can coexist without conflict.

Aside from its historical importance, the park is also a naturalistic wonder. Here, visitors can admire about 936 species of plants, almost a third of the flora biodiversity of Emilia-Romagna, and rich, diversified fauna (wolves, deer, boar, dormice, squirrels and even birds like European green woodpeckers, wood nuthatches, common kingfishers, Montagu’s harriers and European honey buzzards).

Different thematic routes have been created within the park, all of which are clearly marked. They are designed to let visitors learn about the cultural, historical and naturalistic soul of the park on their own:

  1. The Trail of Remembrance à a route so that we may never forget the Mount Sole massacre. This path is designed to commemorate a few tragic events. It passes by San Martino, Caprara, Casaglia and Cerpiano, locations which embody the damage caused by WWII on the land through the ruins of homes and churches.
  2. Stella Rossa on the Peak of Mount Sole à a trail that leads to a memorial stone in honour of the Stella Rossa Partisan Brigade.
  3. The Traces of the Gothic Line à a route on the slopes of Mount Caprara that touches upon the trench encampment and the defence posts built by the Germans after the massacre. They are a part of the Gothic Line.
  4. In the Footsteps of the Etruscans à a route that leads to the Museo Nazionale Etrusco Pompeo Aria (Pompeo Area National Etruscan Museum) and the archaeological site.
  5. Grizzana and Giorgio Morandi à a route dedicated to the rural landscape that inspired the everlasting artwork of Giorgio Morandi, a painter from Bologna.
  6. The Romanesque Church of Panico à a route that leads to this late medieval religious building, much of which is still original.

Visit the Park’s website

bar_chart Technical Info

6300 hectares

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