Via della Lana e della Seta
Two cities bonded by their productive history and connected by a trekking route that enables you to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennine filled with excellencies and tradition, and discover the territory's history and culture.
The route passes through towns, peaks and valleys and links two historic centres that have grown over the centuries thanks to their wise management of water: Bologna, the city of the Lock and canals and centuries’ old silk capital, and Prato, the city of the Cavalciotto, millstreams and fulling mills, capital of the wool and textile district.
Not to be missed
Heart of the city overlooked by important buildings such as the San Petronio Basilica, Palazzo dei Notai, Palazzo d’Accursio, Palazzo del Podestà and Palazzo dei Banchi. It became officially known with its current name of Piazza Maggiore only in 1945.
Built between the 10th and 11th centuries and renovated in the mid-14th century, it is the most ancient water system in Europe, operating non-stop ever since. The construction was declared by UNESCO a “Heritage to Promote a Culture of Peace for the Young Generations”.
The suspended bridge connecting the two banks of the Reno river was rebuilt in 1949 and it is the last in a series that are thought to date back to Roman times: it is in fact thought that the road connecting Rome to Florence and Bologna ran through here.
The complex in the Late-Gothic Bologna style was started in 1482 and includes the noble residence and hamlet. Historical figures such as Torquato Tasso and Pope Julius II both stayed here. The large access archway, unique moat with a drawbridge and dovecote are visible to this day.
Built in the late 1950s, it is placed opposite the Campiaro Barns, which are often depicted in his paintings. It was the perfect place to observe the Grizzana landscape, included many times in his work.
The recently-restored town centre maintains the characteristics designed by the Pepoli family, who controlled the territory between 1462 and 1796. The old Palazzo Comitale, Clock tower and Palazzina overlook the square.
A town with a long history located at the foothills of Mount Vigese. The first settlement dates back to the Bronze Age. Near the town, there is the small Oratorio dei Frascari dedicated to the Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows with its gable roof, bell gable and late 16th-century door.
This is where the oldest settlement in Prato - Borgo del Cornio - was located. Its existence was documented already in the 9th century and the Cathedral is home to frescoes by Filippo Lippi. Ever since the 14th century, the square is where the Sacra Cintola has been displayed from the pulpit designed by Donatello.
Dating back to the 11th century, it is one of the leading examples of industrial archaeology and a fundamental component of the Prato water system: 53 km of millstreams cross the entire territory and flow into the Ombrone river.
Its rounded peaks create a typical karst setting dotted with caves, dolinas and springs, recognisable for the meadows on the slopes. In addition to spectacular views, you can also admire rare flower species and specimens of the local Calvana bovine species.
Part of the Calvana massif at 807 asl between Retaia and Croce Cantagrilli. The view ranges from Mount Morello and the Florence plain to the East to the Bisenzio valley to the West. It is possible to spot some wild horses among the low vegetation typical of this area.
Built by the Montecassino Benedictines in the 9th-10th centuries and rebuilt in the 11th-12th centuries, it has three completely plastered aisles. The monk quarters develop around the Renaissance cloister and still boast trompe l’oeil decorations, celebratory emblems and landscapes.
The current buildings part of the complex made up of a Church and monastery dating back to the 12th century still maintain Romanesque elements. The interior boasts considerable frescoes dating from 1260-80. The monastery partly collapsed in the 19th century due to an earthquake.
Set up in 2003, the open-air museum is made up of various types of stations. During the Second World War, the mountain was the setting of tragic events, so much so that there’s an inscription commemorating the dead. The park is open all year round and entry is free
Poggio dei Mandrioni
Calvana - galloping horses
San Quirico di Vernio
Canale del Reno
Vista del Bilancino
Badia di Vaiano
Via della Lana e della Seta:
6days of exploration
The Guidemap, a 48-page booklet edited by Vito Paticchia and produced by Fusta Editore, is made up of a map and a small guide. It is an agile versatile tool put together to help hikers discover these territories.
The map includes the Via della Lana e della Seta itinerary: a 130 km path between Bologna and Prato made up of 6 sections that can be modified according to your needs. Each section includes an intermediate stop in a facility or shelter for one night.
In addition, it reports also deviations as well as a few connections with railway stations near the itinerary. What is more, the guide highlights the main points of natural, cultural or historical interest along the way or that can be reach through alternative routes.