The fantastic history of Frignano: an itinerary through local myths and legends

3 trails in the Modena Apennines to explore enchanted places shrouded in mystery

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The unspoiled nature of the Modena Apennines has always held a great evocative power, becoming an ideal setting for dozens of surprising myths and melancholic timeless legends.

And so, on the wings of imagination, a lake can turn into the tomb of eternal love for two unhappy young people; a cave into an impenetrable fairy lair; a clearing into a dark hiding place of evil spirits; a squared-off boulder into a fictitious treasure chest.

In popular 'fole' (fairy tales in dialect), the real is often confused with the oneiric: re-invented places and imaginary characters are a reflection of the soul, morals and folklore of ordinary people, who enjoyed projecting their beliefs, experiences and superstitions into the fabulous.

Are you ready to dive into the past and discover the Frignanese oral tradition? The following itinerary runs along the Abetone State Road 12 and includes 3 simple trails suitable for everyone, which will allow you to breathe in magical atmospheres of timeless charm.

Please note: although the suggested trails are not demanding, the use of technical footwear and appropriate clothing is absolutely recommended.

  • Length
    48 hours
  • Interests
    Nature & Outdoor
  • Target
  • First stop - Bucamante waterfalls Serramazzoni

    Our trip begins with one of the most beautiful and evocative hikes in the Modena hills.

    We leave the car in the parking space of Granarolo, a hamlet of Serramazzoni easily reached from the SS12, and following the easy path no. 1, enter the dense forest.

    After about a kilometre, the lush vegetation opens up to welcome a marvellous natural oasis, characterised by rare specimens of Apennine flora: here are the five bubbling waterfalls of Rio Bucamante, closely linked to the fairytale story of forbidden love between the shepherd Titiro and the noble lady Odina, a young lady of the nearby Monfestino manor.

    Having met by chance, the two fell in love instantly and continued to see each other in great secrecy, until one day they were surprised by the damsel's maid. Immediately alerted, Odina's parents locked her up in the fortress without mercy.

    However, the intense passion could not be repressed for long: Odina soon managed to escape and was reunited with her beloved Titiro. At that point, they were wanted; hunted and now without a chance, the two decided to throw themselves off one of the waterfalls, finally joined for eternity. Since that time, like a tribute to the desperate affair, the picturesque waterfalls have been called 'Buca degli Amanti', hence the name 'Bucamante'.

  • Second stop - Ponte del Diavolo Lama Mocogno

    We take the SS12 again, past Montecenere and just before entering the town of Lama Mocogno, we take the Ponte d'Ercole road.

    Arrived at the equipped rest area, we set out on the path (indicated by the red and white signs) which, with moderate ups and downs among cultivated fields and chestnut groves, quickly takes us to the vicinity of an incredible 33-metre sandstone monolith.                

    This is a unique geological outcrop, surrounded by woods in which exceptional remains of archaeological interest have been found, testifying to the assiduous frequentation of the area since the Protohistoric Period.

    The 18th-century Via Vandelli passed through here: strongly desired by Duke Francesco III d'Este, the route crossed the impervious Apennine territory, connecting Modena to Massa in Tuscany.

    Repeatedly associated with supernatural phenomena, in the Roman Period the natural bridge was attributed to Hercules, as only a heroic strength could have lifted such a heavy boulder.

    In the Middle Ages, on the other hand, the arch became the work of the devil: the legend tells of a peasant who, in exchange for his soul, asked the devil to build him a bridge so that he could cross a raging stream. Satan willingly agreed, but one dark night, while transporting the huge stone, he was fatally attracted to a festive gathering of witches.

    When dawn broke, the devil, hating the light, had to flee hastily without the spirit of the man, abandoning the bridge where we admire it today.

  • Third stop - Lago Santo Pievepelago

    Water and love are also the protagonists of the last unmissable destination of our day: about ten kilometres from Pievepelago, the spectacular Lago Santo awaits us at 1501 metres above sea level, enchantingly nestled among the green mountains of the Modenese Apennines.

    The mirror of glacial origin has always been at the centre of various popular ‘fole’ about the origin of its name. One of the most recurrent concerns the story of a shepherd boy who, while grazing his flock around the frozen lake, saw a magnificent young girl on the opposite shore, but did not dare approach her to speak to her.

    Over the next few days, by dint of the constant exchange of complicit glances, a pure and overwhelming love blossomed between the two: it is said that, suddenly, driven by an uncontrollable impulse, they both began to run towards each other on the fragile frozen surface, ending up dramatically swallowed up by the waters, locked in a final 'holy' embrace.

    After a break on the shores of the lake, we recommend that you take the CAI trail 523 from the car park (follow the red-and-white markings), which leads, with a half-hour walk on a slight incline, to the equally splendid Lake Baccio, from where you can enjoy a wonderful panorama.

Last update 16/05/2024

Information offices

UIT Serramazzoni
Piazza Torquato Tasso, 7 - Serramazzoni (MO)
+ 39 0536 952199
UIT Lama Mocogno
Via XXIV Maggio, 4 - Lama Mocogno (MO)
+ 39 0536 344390
Pro Loco Pievepelago
Piazza Vittorio Veneto, 17 - Pievepelago (MO)
+ 39 0536 71304

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