There are places in the Apennines that can be considered "arches" of memory. Nodal points that help to remember that, where today there are green slopes, woods and paths to be explored immersed in the beauty of nature, there was once war. And with it the martyrdom, sacrifice and resistance struggle of the people who inhabited the Bolognese mountains.
They are places more than ever alive, the destination of many people who consciously choose (thanks to the numerous initiatives and guided tours) to combine the taste of walking and visiting places of art and monuments, the value of knowing the history and of "remember to understand".
This itinerary proposes three of these places to visit in a single day starting from Bologna and arriving up to the upper Reno Valley.
In about thirty minutes from Bologna you can reach the charming village of Livergnano (Pianoro), with its characteristic houses set in the rocks of which only the facade protrudes.
Here, where during the Second World War very hard clashes took place, is the small but very interesting Winter Line Museum.
Created by Umberto Magnani, it boasts a large collection of objects collected over the years on mountain paths: old radios, helmets, uniforms, images, water bottles and cutlery. Not only weapons, but also objects of daily use that tell very dramatic stories that you can hear, not by video or modern media, but through oral tradition in an incredibly fascinating atmosphere.
From Livergnano you can easily reach the via Porrettana and, going up for about 20 km, you get to Marzabotto.
In the center of the village there is the Shrine that houses the remains of the deceased civilian victims and partisans in the various villages of the municipality of Marzabotto, most of them following the fierce retaliation unleashed by the Nazi Fascists between 29 September and early October 1944.
Inside, on three large black marble tombstones, are also mentioned the fallen of Marzabotto, Monzuno, Grizzana and Castel d'Aiano not included in the shrine or unidentified.
On four sides of the central cross vault, large white marble tombstones report the reasons for the Gold Medals for Military Value granted to the memory of the Chaplain Don Giovanni Fornasini, the Commander of the partisan brigade Mario Musolesi ("Lupo"), of the 16-year-old partisan Gastone Rossi and partisan Francesco Calzolari.
Much of the massacre took place in the area of Monte Sole, which is now a natural park.
From Marzabotto the route is short (about 8 km) and the view that you can enjoy once you arrive is very impressive.
Inside the Park there is the School of Peace and the Poggiolo Visitor Center, which welcomes visitors by providing information on the history and environment of the protected area and has a bar, restaurant, children’s playground and ample parking.
The Center is close to the town of San Martino, in the area of the Memorial (about 400 meters above sea level) and is the ideal starting point to start a walk or participate in guided tours.
During the tour you can also listen to the podcast La Staffetta di Monte Sole that tells how life was in those places before the massacre.
Continuing along the road Porrettana, once you have arrived in Vergato, head towards Castel d’Aiano, a pleasant Apennine town.
In the Multipurpose Civic Hall (via Val d'Aneva) is located the multimedia layout of the Gothic Line. It is a unique construction, of 5x2 meters in size, in scale 1:50,000. An extraordinary historical-didactic instrument that traces chronologically the events that occurred on that tragic front between August 1944 and April 1945, in the sector between Florence and Bologna, from the Tyrrhenian Sea to the Adriatic, through a story of about an hour that tells what happened using an electronic synchronized system of lights, music, sounds and projections of images and movies of the time.