A full day-out to enjoy in the Modena Apennines, in the pretty little village of Montecreto, “The Town of Chestnuts” at the foot of Mount Cimone, trekking to explore the mines, a visit to the local museum and a relaxing walk in the impossibly charming park, home to centuries-old trees.
We’ll make our way to the countryside around Montecreto to explore the ancient copper mines. This is really and truly a step back in time: copper was first mined here as far back as the Roman period (traces of a metal furnace dating to the period have in fact been uncovered), and the mines were in operation up until the time of the Second World War.
Parts of the underground mine tunnels can still be visited today. The itinerary which covers the archeological-mining area is easy and also suitable for children. It lasts about 3 hours including stops, and can be done either on foot, with a good walk, or the comfort of an e-bike.
The itinerary continues with a visit to the Montecreto museum, ‘The Home of the Stone Lions’, which preserves historical artefacts and evidence of the Montecreto community from the time of the Ligurian Friniate people until the Second World War. As well as the four stone lions coming from the original Strettara Bridge, the museum also houses three permanent exhibitions:
The Inscribed Stones of Rovinamala – a group of stones coming from the hamlet of Rovinamala near Magrignana, evidence of the Celtic origins of the mountain peoples;
Frignano at war 1943-1945 – a large section which traces the years of the Second World War through the war diaries of Don Ercole Bertolani;
“Leonardo da Vinci, Montecreto”- a collection of artefacts and photographs from the Leonardo da Vinci Professional Training Centre founded by Don Antonio Cenacchi, tenacious parish priest and archpriest of Montecreto from 1949 to 1967.
The museum is housed within the basement of the Town Hall and, through the “Virtual Tour” platform on the official town council website, an interactive tour of the rooms which house the artefacts is available.
To end the day in a fairytale atmosphere, we suggest relaxing body and mind with a stroll among the centuries-old chestnut trees in the Chestnut Tree Park of Montecreto. Twisted trunks and hollowed-out bark resembling human faces marked by the passing of time and the adversities of nature create a peaceful, reflective atmosphere, so much so that the park is considered one of the most beautiful, picturesque green spaces in the Apennines.
The Park embodies all of the ancient essence of Montecreto: work and toil, and the almost unchanging passing of the centuries, but also beauty and man’s ability to shape nature, respecting and improving on it at the same time.