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The Tuscan-Emilian Apennines is an Apennine ridge that separates Emilia-Romagna from Tuscany. Although not very touristy and often with narrow streets, its territory hides unique beauties in the world that will amaze you.
An example of this is the enchanting castle of Rocchetta Mattei, which combines various architectural styles that make it a unique castle in the world. The Grotta di Labante will also appear extraordinary and the panoramic view from the Sanctuary of Montovolo is superfine, a particularly spiritual place with its places of worship and its short panoramic paths on the summit of the mountain. There is no shortage of lakes, of which the largest and most representative is undoubtedly Lake Suviana.
With mountains reaching two thousand meters of altitude, this area also offers tourism for mountain lovers, both in summer and in winter. In the Corno alle Scale Regional Park, there are ski areas and slopes, as well as numerous paths, through which it is possible to reach the summit of Corno alle Scale.
Lake Suviana is the largest lake in the Apennines, an ideal destination for camping and trips out of town. This artificial lake is surrounded almost entirely by a path. Scattered along the way there are large spaces, with brick barbeques, where you can relax in contact with nature, ideal with family or friends.
Rocchetta Mattei is an enchanting castle unique in the world, built by the eccentric Cesare Mattei in the second half of the 19th century, who became rich thanks to the electrohomeopathy he invented. It is located on the Bolognese Apennines, near Riola.
From the road you will immediately be intrigued by the sight of this great castle and the visit will also amaze you with its Moorish Arab style on the structure of a European castle, which recalls the colors and charm of many cultures of the world.
In this castle Mattei welcomed patients. After passing a majestic entrance, they found themselves in a courtyard, where on one side was a waterfall and on the other a huge cage of exotic birds. Today the water is no longer present and neither is the large bird cage.
There is an entrance fee to the castle and here you will discover Mattei's eclectic personality. In the castle, many illusions appear to be constructed as if by magic. You will see concrete crafted to look like wood, wooden arches painted to look like stone, perspective paintings that show a non-existent depth. You will also find the musical and innovative technology of that era.
If you are fascinated by the castle, not far away is another structure by Cesare Mattei: the Villa del Cavaliere. Access is not allowed, because the structure is private, but a look from the outside will assure you of its unmistakable style.
In the municipality of Marzabotto, about thirty kilometers away, is the Castle of Medelana, in a state of abandonment.
Located in the same municipality of Grizzana Morandi, is the tiny medieval village of La Scola. The place, dating back to the fourteenth century, with characteristic stone houses. The village, collected and well preserved, was born as a military district, a place of resistance and defense of the monastic center of Montovolo, which dominates the mountain.
The last stretch of the road is narrow and not very easy, but the road to the Sanctuary of the Beata Vergine della Consolazione of Montovolo, at the top of the mountain, will be no better. Parking is not very easy, but ample for off-road vehicles.
The Sanctuary of the Beata Vergine della Consolazione of Montovolo is a place of spirituality of medieval origin, on the summit of Mount Montovolo. Dating back to the 12th century and of Romanesque architecture, it has a simple and ancient interior, with numerous Romanesque arches.
The place also offers two simple scenic routes, a guesthouse and an ancient oratory. It is an ideal place for a trip or a spiritual retreat. The only downside is the long, narrow road.
The Grotta di Labante is a unique and rare place, one of the most impressive karst rock formations in Italy. They are located in the municipality of Castel d'Aiano, near the village of San Cristoforo Labante, and are easily reached by car. If there is no space in the parking lot in front, it will be sufficient to have the church of the small village as a reference and take a short footpath that starts from there. The caves are also well signposted on the trails in the area.
With its 54 meters in length and a drop of 15 meters, the Grotta di Labante is one of the largest in Italy and represents a rare karst phenomenon.
Thanks to the material characteristics of the rock, to the San Cristoforo spring and to the habitat above the cave, natural waterfalls are generated. In fact, the water from the San Cristoforo spring, rich in calcium, contributes to the formation of travertines, rocks with a porous structure capable of storing water like a sponge.
Also characteristic of the cave are the pisolites, small rounded pebbles, also called"cave pearls". They are formed, in particular, in the narrow tunnel between the front and the rear. For the characteristic of storing water and releasing small waterfalls, a tiny lake has been created in the back of the cave.
Next to the Grotta di Labante, there is the smaller and less famous Grotta dei Tedeschi.
If you like waterfalls and mountain air, the Corno alle Scale Regional Park is a park that extends between the highest mountains of the Emilian Apennines, such as the peak of Corno alle Scale, which is almost two thousand meters above sea level. The park also has an area and ski slopes for winter tourism.
Here it will be possible to venture along the numerous paths, to discover waterfalls, such as the Waterfall Waterfall or the Dardagna Waterfalls. It will also be possible to reach the summit of Corno alle Scale.
The park does not lack evocative places of worship immersed in the woods, such as the Sanctuary of the Madonna dell'Acero or the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Faggio.
The Upper Modenese Apennines Regional Park is located west of Corno alle Scale, in the province of Modena, to which it is connected by footpaths. It features numerous waterfalls, trails, and entertainment. It also boasts of having the highest peak of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines: Monte Cimone.
An important node is the village of Sestola which, in addition to offering services for the Cimone ski area, has an ancient part dating back to the 7th century. The ancient church of San Niccolò and above all the Castle of Sestola testify to this, although they were later rebuilt.
Not far away, but on the Tuscan side, is the Abetone ski area.