As I mentioned in my last post, Luke and I have been trying to spend less time at Ikea and more time hiking around Bologna. So we pulled out a map (okay, Google Maps on our iPhones), picked out a Regional Park nearby, and jumped in the car. We ended up heading to Parco Storico di Monte Sole.
At Parco di Monte Sole, we found what we were looking for. A nice day. Peaceful surroundings. Hills to hike. Good views.
But we were met with much more. We also found a touching memorial, a history lesson, and a reminder about the involvement of Italian soil in WWII.
As we learned along the course of our hike, Parco di Monte Sole was the site of the biggest civilian massacre in Italy during World War II. Between September 29th and October 5th in 1944, over 770 people were killed around Monte Sole as the Germans took action to rid the region of rebel influences. Most of the victims were women, children, or elderly people. Many of the sites along the hiking trails in Monte Sole were significant sites during the massacre of 1944. Others serve as memorials for those who fought for Italy’s freedom.
Description: The route we took was mostly sites from the Memorial Itinerary. We started at Il Poggiolo Visitors Center, walked past Caprara di Sotto, hiked up/down Monte Caprara, and hiked up/down Monte Sole. You could easily ascend/descend each mountain in 40 minutes or less. From Monte Sole, we visited the Chiesa di Casaglia and the Cimitero di Casaglia. Then we turned back towards the Visitors Center passing Caprara di Sopra and Caprara di Sotto on our return. With the map from the Visitors Center and the signs along the trail, we were easily able to make up the hike on the fly.
Length: I’m estimating about 4 miles, but we weren’t keeping track of our mileage.
Time: This route took us about 4 hours with a long break for lunch and plenty of stops for water, photos, and reading the Memorial signs along the path.
Distance from Bologna: The Parco Storico di Monte Sole is about 40 minutes from Bologna by car.
Other Details & Resources
Visitors Center: Upon arriving, we stopped by the Visitors Center, Il Poggiolo, at Via San Martino 25. In addition to being the Visitors Center, Il Poggiolo is also a hotel and restaurant. The woman working in the restaurant gave us a map of the park, some educational brochures, a DVD about the park’s history, as well as some tips on what to see.
Itineraries: The park’s sites are categorized by six different itineraries (Memoriale, Naturalistico, Etrusco, Morandiano, and Montovolo). The Memorial Itinerary is the core of the park. Some sites you can visit by car, bike, or horse. Others can only be reached by foot. See the park website for details.
Wikipedia page about the Marzabotto massacre