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Home The Pilgrims' Paths in Emilia Romagna Romea Nonantolana Way

Romea Nonantolana Way

 

Via romea nonantolana

The Via Romea Nonantolana is part of the project Walks of Europe: a European network of history, culture and tourism. The route proposed, conceived also as a bike tourism trail, starts out in Nonantola, home of the monumental Benedictine Abbey. The itinerary, about 105 km long in Emilia Romagna, winds along a road used in the Middle Ages by traveling merchants and pilgrims, crossing through and passing by the main castles and religious monuments from the medieval era.

 

In the 7th century, central and northern Italy was divided among the territories conquered by the Byzantines and the Lombard territories: the big roads (such as the Flaminia Emilia), occupied at different points by the two armed enemies, became too difficult to use for their entire length. The effort to reorganize the roads was taken on by the Lombard king Aistulf who in 749 gave the territories of Fanano and of Sestola to his brother-in-law Anselm. Anselm, once he had given up the title of Duke and become a monk, founded a Benedictine monastery and hospice, indispensable structures of support near the Apennine peaks. Three years later, in 752, Anselm founded another monastery in Nonantola, which became the heart of the new road system and the street that connected the two monasteries - the Via Romea Nonantolana - became a very important strategic point, allowing for the connection, through the passes of the Calanca or of the Croce Arcana, with the Lombard duchies of Tuscia, Spoleto and of Benevento. The street was used by soldiers, royal courts, wayfarers, and pilgrims going to Rome: thus structures supporting the travelers began to pop up, such as the hospice of the Val di Lamola dedicated to S. Giacomo within the outbuildings of the monastery of Fanano. With the decline of Nonantola and the rise of the autonomous powers and rivals of Modena and Bologna, a good part of the Lombard road became the “Mutina Pistoria”, a road cited in a signed treaty in 1225 between the Municipality of Modena and that of Pistoia and used for the entire feudal era.

 

Today, there are two roads for the Via Romea Nonantolana: the western route that runs along the left bank of the Panaro River, and the eastern route, which runs instead along the right bank. Both routes leave from Nonantola and reach Fanano to then continue on towards the Apennine peaks and cross through the mountains at the pass of Croce Arcana.

 

In detail

 

Regions crossed: Emilia Romagna, Tuscany, Lazio

 

Legs:

 

The western route

1st leg Nonantola - Modena 15.5 km

The first leg allows hikers to reach Modena, with its UNESCO cathedral, starting out from the monumental Abbey of Nonantola, along secondary roads with little traffic and bike paths in the city nearing the city center.

2nd leg Modena - Castelvetro 20.5 km

The second leg, which ends in Castelvetro, along the bike path created along the old train track Modena-Vignola and the bike path along the river Guerro, takes the hiker into a characteristic and suggestive country landscape dotted with vineyards.

3rd leg Castelvetro - Coscogno 21 km

The third leg from Castelvetro to Coscogno, once past the lovely town of Levizzano Rangone, hikers will need to clamber up the right bank of the river Guerro to climb the Tre Croci mountain, an enchanting place from which you can enjoy a great panoramic view, to then move on to the towns of Denzano and Ospitaletto.

4th leg Coscogno Pavullo nel Frignano 15 km

The fourth leg reaches the town of Pavullo nel Frignano and in particular its monumental Montecuccolo Castle, with its annexed medieval town, home to an important artistic and natural museum center.

5th leg Pavullo nel Frignano - Fanano 18.5 km

The fifth leg traverses the valley of the river Scoltenna to reach the town of Fanano, going past, in order, the characteristic town of medieval origins Renno di Sopra, the Pieve di San Giovanni Battista in Renno and the town of Rocchetta Sandri.

6th leg Fanano - pass of Croce Arcana 13 km

The last leg runs along the valley of the river Ospitale up to the historic pass of Croce Arcana at an altitude of 1675 m. In the leg that goes from Fanano to Ospitale the route runs along the paths and mule tracks with an ancient feel offering evocative glimpses of the river Ospitale. Once past the town of Ospitale little by little you reach the high altitude prairies with great views that open up over both the Emilia valleys and, once at the pass, also Tuscany.

 

 

The eastern route

 

1st leg Nonantola - Spilamberto 21.5 km

The first leg goes to Spilamberto, home of the Consortium of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, running along dirt roads, streets and bike paths into the city center.

2nd leg Spilamberto - Vignola 8 km

The second leg, which ends in the city of cherries, goes mostly along a nature path that runs along the river Panaro. The fortress of Vignola, symbol of the city, is majestic; it represents one of the most interesting examples of fortified architecture in the region.

3rd leg Vignola - Samone 20 km

The third leg, which crosses through the heart of the Parco dei Sassi di Roccamalatina, starts out along a nature trail that runs along the river Panaro up to the town of Casona, and, once having crossed the river, begins to go up along narrow paths to the Pieve di Trebbio, passing by the majestic arenaceous pinnacles, symbol of the park, to finally reach the town of Samone.

4th leg Samone - Montese 18.5 km

The fourth leg goes to Montese after having crossed the summit of the Riva mountains, the lovely town of Montalbano, and a path along the CAI trails marked with numbers 400, 434, 440.

5th leg Montese - Fanano 22.5 km

From Montese the long and tiring fifth leg goes to Fanano, passing through the small towns of Maserno, Castelluccio, Rocca Corneta and Trignano. The panorama that can be enjoyed from the Croce mountain not far from the town of Castelluccio is incredibly vast and the part from Rocca Corneta to Trignano along the left bank of the river Dardagna is enchanting.

6th leg Fanano - pass of Croce Arcana 13 km

The last leg runs along the valley of the river Ospitale going to the historic pass of Croce Arcana at and altitude of 1675 m. Along the path from Fanano to Ospitale the route runs along paths and mule tracks with an ancient feel offering evocative glimpses of the river Ospitale. Once past the town of Ospitale little by little you reach the high altitude prairies with great views that open up over both the Emilia valleys and, once at the pass, also Tuscany.

 

Length: the western route is 103.5 km long; the eastern route is also 103.5 km long

Level of difficulty: medium

 

Information

 

Website: www.camministorici.it/en


IAT Information and Tourist Office

Piazza Grande, 14 - 41121 Modena

Telefono: +39 059/2032660 - Fax: +39 059/2032659

info@visitmodena.it

 

Last modified Apr 28, 2016

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