The tour crosses many locations. Some examples.
Starting point of the tour, Bologna is one of the most beautiful italian cities. We will see many historical places from the very beginning of our journey.
The city, the first settlements of which date back to at least one 1000 BC, has always been an important urban centre, first under the Etruscans (Velzna/Felsina) and the Celts (Bona), then under the Romans (Bononia), then again in the Middle Ages, as a free municipality (for one century it was the fifth largest European city based on population). Home to the oldest university in the world, University of Bologna, founded in 1088, Bologna hosts thousands of students who enrich the social and cultural life of the city. Famous for its towers and lengthy porticoes, Bologna has a well-preserved historical centre (one of the largest in Italy) thanks to a careful restoration and conservation policy which began at the end of the 1970s, on the heels of serious damage done by the urban demolition at the end of the 19th century as well as that caused by wars.
An important cultural and artistic centre, its importance in terms of landmarks can be attributed to homogenous mixture of monuments and architectural examples (medieval towers, antique buildings, churches, the layout of its historical centre) as well as works of art which are the result of a first class architectural and artistic history. Bologna is also an important transportation crossroad for the roads and trains of Northern Italy, where many important mechanical, electronic and nutritional industries have their headquarters.
Bologna is home to prestigious cultural, economic and political institutions as well as one of the most impressive trade fair districts in Europe. In 2000 it was declared European capital of culture and in 2006, a UNESCO “city of music”. The city of Bologna was selected to participate in the Universal Exposition of Shanghai 2010 together with 45 other cities from around the world. Bologna is also one of the wealthiest cities in Italy, often ranking as one of the top cities in terms of quality of life in the country: in 2011 it ranked 1st out of 107 Italian cities.
The Gothic Line (German: Gotenstellung; Italian: Linea Gotica) formed Field Marshal Albert Kesselring's last major line of defence in the final stages of World War II along the summits of the Apennines during the fighting retreat of the German forces in Italy against the Allied Armies in Italy commanded by General Sir Harold Alexander.
Adolf Hitler had concerns about the state of preparation of the Gothic Line: He feared the Allies would use amphibious landings to out-flank its defenses. So, to downgrade its importance in the eyes of both friend and foe, he ordered the name, with its historic connotations, changed, reasoning that if the Allies managed to break through they would not be able to use the more impressive name to magnify their victory claims. In response to this order, Kesselring renamed it the "Green Line" (Grüne Linie) in June 1944.
The Gothic Line was breached on both the Adriatic and the central Apennine fronts during Operation Olive (also sometimes known as the Battle of Rimini) during the autumn of 1944, but Kesselring's forces were consistently able to retire in good order, and no decisive breakthrough was achieved. This did not take place until the renewed offensive in the spring of 1945.
History and mithology merges themselves around this mountain. They will accompany us during the climb and the descent.
Venere (latin Venus, Veneris) is one of the best known roman goddess. She is associated with love, beauty and fertility.
Fiesole (Etruscan Viesul, Viśl, Vipsul) was probably founded in the 9th-8th century BC, as it was an important member of the Etruscan confederacy, as may be seen from the remains of its ancient walls.
The first recorded mention on the town dates to 283 BC, when the town, then known as Faesulae, was conquered by the Romans. In pagan antiquity it was the seat of a famous school of augurs, and every year twelve young men were sent thither from Rome to study the art of divination. Sulla colonized it with veterans, who afterwards, under the leadership of Gaius Mallius, supported the cause of Catilina.
Fiesole was the scene of Stilicho's great victory over the Germanic hordes of the Vandals and Suebi under Radagaisus in 406. During the Gothic War (536-53) the town was several times besieged. In 539 Justinus, the Byzantine general, captured it and razed its fortifications.
It was an independent town for several centuries in the early Middle Ages, no less powerful than Florence in the valley below, and many wars arose between them; in 1010 and 1025 Fiesole was sacked by the Florentines, before it was conquered by Florence in 1125, and its leading families obliged to take up their residence in Florence. Dante reflects this rivalry in his Divine Comedy by referring to "the beasts of Fiesole." (Inferno XV.73).
By the 14th century, rich Florentines had countryside villas in Fiesole, and one of them is the setting of the frame narrative of the Decameron. Boccaccio's poem Il Ninfale fiesolano is a mythological account of the origins of the community. Robert Browning mentions “sober pleasant Fiesole” several times in his poem "Andrea Del Sarto".
Ancient roman road (187 a.C). We will have the honor to admire and tread it in four archeological places.
The Futa Pass or La Futa Pass (Italian: Passo della Futa) is a pass in the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines, at an elevation of 903 m (2,963 ft). It is located in the comune of Firenzuola, in the province of Florence. It separated the valleys of Mugello and of the Santerno River.
It is crossed by the Regional Road 65 (strada della Futa) which connects Florence to Bologna. During World War II it was part of the Gothic Line. A German military cemetery was created nearby in the 1950s.
Legends about witches and travelers collide in this place full of mystery and they mix with one of the funniest descent of this part of the Appenine (10 km).
Ancient convent of friars, today it offers a spectacular view of Florence and the Mugello valley. Friars produce the "Liquore della Strega" (Witch Liquor).
Parco Talon e acquedotto romano
Parco della Chiusa, a.k.a Parco Talon, was built by Sampieri Talon family. The roman acqueduct is spectacular.
Florence is famous for its history. A centre of medieval European trade and finance and one of the wealthiest cities of the time, Florence is considered the birthplace of the Renaissance, and has been called the Athens of the Middle Ages. A turbulent political history includes periods of rule by the powerful Medici family, and numerous religious and republican revolutions. From 1865 to 1871 the city was also the capital of the recently established Kingdom of Italy.
The historic centre of Florence attracts millions of tourists each year, and Euromonitor International ranked the city as the world's 72nd most visited in 2009, with 1,685,000 visitors. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982. Due to Florence's artistic and architectural heritage, it has been ranked by Forbes as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and the city is noted for its history, culture, Renaissance art and architecture and monuments. The city also contains numerous museums and art galleries, such as the Uffizi Gallery and the Pitti Palace, amongst others, and still exerts an influence in the fields of art, culture and politics.