South of Modena

South of Modena

South of Modena lies the foothills of the Apennines, overgrown with oak forests, hornbeam and walnut. Narrow roads cut into the mountains and lead to Tuscany via Foce delle Radici or Abetone. From these high mountain passes you can climb the crinate on foot, the main ridge of the Apennine range. Hiking trails lead through the peaks above the forest border, with steep slopes on both sides. They can lead to several glacial lakes, but the routes are impressive mainly because of the magnificent views.

For many, the main attraction of small foothill towns is the local cuisine. The tourist office offers "gourmet routes”, where you can try real moden cuisine, but it is not so necessary, because roadside boards inform, where to eat alla tua nonna, like at grandma's: mortadella, salami or crescente (something like pitta bread eaten with meat sauce and garlic, rosemary and parmesan cheese). A variation on the same theme is gnocco fritto - fried dough cubes served with salami or ham. Higher up in the mountains, ciacci are still prepared, chestnut flour pancakes filled with ricotta (cottage cheese) with sugar - and nocino liqueur made of walnuts (which should be gathered on the night of Saint John, 24 June).

Food, however, should not obscure the landscape, which can be wonderful. It's hard to recommend any particular place. The area is full of inaccessible villages and very few recognized tourist destinations. Closest to Modena, with bus access, it is surrounded by pastures and VIGNOL's cherry orchards, where the spring festival takes place in April. The castle here is particularly well-preserved and was one of many built to defend the passages across the Panaro River to the neighboring Bologna state. In even further away from Modena (also with a bus connection) in the village of SAN PELLEGRINO IN ALPE there is an ethnographic museum, giving an overview of the former peasant customs and lifestyle in the area.

During the last war, partisan activity was carried out here, and mountain peasant houses and barns were ideal hiding places. Sabotage of transport and communication links as well as hiding escaped prisoners of war were punishable by death; Museo della Repubblica in the 12th-century MONTEFIORINO fortress where St. 1944 r. for a short time there was a partisan republic - it commemorates the numerous executed. Less than two hours drive from Modena to the town standing on a rock above the Doi and Dragone rivers.

It is worth driving your own car through the mountains from Modena to Pisa, following the N 12 towards the small holiday resorts around Monte Cimone, highest mountain in the whole massif, lined with poles of ski lifts. Farther west places like Lago di Ninfa, at the exit between Pian del Falco and Passo del Lupo, they are also crowded at weekends, but it is worth going there during the week or taking a walk on the slopes of Monte Giovo, a few kilometers away. Buses from Modena go to PIEVEPELAGO and SESTOLA, two major resorts in this area; from there you can reach Lago Santo and the small lagoons of Lago Baccio, On the height 1554 m. If you want to get away from the crowds, you need to buy a map and set off on the marked trails. Trail # 000 leads at a height of approx 1500 m z Pass of the Radici do Abetone, Passo di Croce d'Arcana and Lago Scaflaiolo a few kilometers away. Trail # 401 goes along the ridge towards FANANO (where buses go to Modena) of Lake Pratignano, shallow, a lake covered with vegetation among forests and meadows.

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