A really wealthy leg for shrines and points of interest, where it is possible to start truly to appreciate the Apennine landscape, among ridges, valleys, oak, beech and centuries-old chestnut forests. From Loiano we head towards Astronomical Observatory , where it is worth wandering around the various buildings and signs. A descent leads to Gragnano and its beautiful Church of Santa Maria Assunta followed by Campeggio, passing the village of Sumbilla , the way back is climbing up the path of the Via Crucis towards Monte CalvarioThen it is up to the Shrine of Madonna dei Boschi, guarded with incredible passion by the friars, and shortly after to Monghidoro. From here the descent towards the Savena valley begins, passing through Piamaggio, home to the Shrine of Madonna di Pompei and to two small but very interesting museums, to move then to the lake of Castel dell’Alpi. A final short ascent leads to the arrival in Madonna dei Fornelli.
The Astronomy Park of Loiano, located on the northern Apennines, is run by the Astrophysics and Space Science Observatory of Bologna (a section of INAF, Italian National Institute of Astrophysics). The Park has two telescopes, a planetarium, an educational hall - all in separate buildings - and the Solar System Path.
The historic Zeiss telescope, with its main 60cm mirror, was built in the 1930s, and is dedicated to teaching and outreach. The digital planetarium offers shows and projections for grown-ups and children. The educational hall is formed by several rooms containing multimedia exhibits, where children can follow brief talks, watch video material, o take part in hands-on learning activities. The Solar System Path, a model which reproduces the relative scales of the sizes of, and distances between the planets, connects the planetarium to the building which hosts the 152cm Cassini Telescope, which is dedicated to scientific research by the professional astronomers of INAF. The Path can be visited in daytime. Visits to the Zeiss telescope, planetarium, and educational hall can be booked for the open dates of the Astronomy Park.
Monghidoro is a municipality located on the border between Tuscany and Emilia and its name probably derives from a settlement of Goths dating back to the sixth century, hence "Mons Gothorum?. From the mid-1200s to 1900s, the town also took the name of Scaricalasino (Unload the Donkey), quite trendy at present time: for centuries it was a stopping point between Bologna and Florence, controlling the Raticosa Pass, close to the customs between the Papal State and the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. Therefore, it was a center of great importance from a commercial and communications point of view. In the early 1900s, the 'Futa State Road' lost significantly importance and, after suffering serious damage during the Second World War, the town rose back to popularity turning into a tourist destination, in the second half of the century, thanks to its naturalistic areas and its deep-rooted cultural traditions. Many cultural events and festivals take place here during the summer season and beyond.
The natural areas that are included in the municipality of Monghidoro are a great value and very much appreciated. There are many trails that can be walked, travelled by bike or horse-riding. Alpe di Monghidoro stands out for its large beech woods that offer extremely pleasant temperatures during the summer and beautiful scenery of tranquillity. The area is also home to an adventure park, Triton's Park. In the upper Idice valley there is La Martina Park, today inside the La Martina - Monte Gurlano SAC, that recently underwent a re-establish intervention by the Municipality and some volunteers who have restored its rich network of paths.
A short journey from Piamaggio, going towards the hamlet of Villa di Mezzo, leads to the woods of Mulino Mazzone (Mazzone’s Mill). Built around 1700, it is the only working mill in the Savena valley. With its small artificial pond fed by the Rio del Piattello, its beautiful park and the loading canal, surrounded by centenary trees, it is the ideal destination for a break. The mill can be visited upon reservation. It is possible to reach it via a short deviation from the main path, that can be rejoined easily by following the CAI 905 path towards Alpe di Monghidoro.
In the small hamlet of Piamaggio there are two museums.
In the Museo della Civiltà contadina dell?Appennino bolognese , some rooms, that still existed in our territory up to the 1960s, are reconstructed and the interior of a water mill on a 1/3 scale is also present.
In the Piccolo Museo dell'emigrante it is possible to find large panels where the various phases of Italian emigration from 1875 to the present day are described. There are also documents, objects and testimonies on emigration from Monghidoro to other countries. In the annexed Documentation Center , letters, conference proceedings, written and filmed interviews, photographs, numerous films and books all about emigration are available.
Shortly before the end of the 4th leg, the path reaches the lake of Castel dell’Alpi, in the locality of the same name. This is the only natural basin in the province of Bologna, created in 1951 because of a massive landslide, which blocked the course of the Savena torrent. An extremely picturesque walking path goes around the lake, giving the possibility to admire the old church of San Biagio, spared from the landslide, located above the left bank where the village once stood. On the right side there is the new town, with places to eat and an inn.
VIA MATER DEI The Camino of the Marian Sanctuaries of the Bolognese Apennines
Foiatonda Cooperativa di comunità
Via della Libertà, 2 - Madonna dei Fornelli
40048 San Benedetto Val di Sambro (BO)