A Dantesque finale for Appenninica in Castelnovo ne’ Monti

The town in the Province of Reggio Emilia, renowned for the Pietra di Bismantova (Bismantova Rock), will host the grand finale of the Appenninica MTB Stage Race, with the finish of the two decisive last stages

An epic race deserves a Dantesque finale. It will be Castelnovo ne’ Monti, famous for the Pietra di Bismantova (Bismantova Rock), which is told to have inspired Dante’s Purgatory, to host the last two stages of Appenninica MTB Stage Race (12-18 September 2021). For the town in the Province of Reggio Emilia, this is the third participation in three editions of Appenninica, which by now feels at home on the hard trails of the Reggio Emilia Apennines.

After the hard work of the previous five days, the athletes will reach Castelnovo ne’ Monti on Friday September 17th, during the “Park & Roll” stage, run entirely within the Parco Nazionale dell’Appennino Tosco-Emiliano65 km and 2050 meters of elevation gain with a last stretch inside the Cervarezza Bike Park with a view on the Pietra di Bismantova.

The grand finale is scheduled for Saturday, September 18th, 2021, with the “Purgatory” stage: of 50 km and 1600 meters of elevation gain. Leaving the town, the route climbs up to Monte Fosola and then continues along the ridge to the Matildic Castle of Carpineti. To celebrate the 700th anniversary of Dante’s death, the stage will also tackle the climb towards the Pietra di Bismantova in the final part of the race and then experience some spectacular and unprecedented final kilometres through the narrow streets and stairways of Castelnovo’s historic centre, before the finish line in Piazza Peretti, decreeing the winners of Appenninica 2021.

We are really pleased to host a stage of Appenninica MTB Stage Race again – said the Mayor of Castelnovo ne’ Monti, Enrico Bini -. This year’s presence is particularly significant because the last stage passes in the shadow of the Bismantova Rock, a few days after the 700th anniversary of Dante’s passing on September 14th, 1421. Appenninica is part of the activities of our project, Castelnovo ne’ Monti “a town for sports”. Mountain biking is a growing trend in our area, with many hotels now equipped to suit the needs of many riders coming to seize the opportunities of the Apennine ridge.”


The symbol of Castelnovo ne’ Monti is the Pietra di Bismantova (Bismantova Rock) which, according to tradition, inspired Dante’s Purgatory during a visit by the poet in 1306, as also reported in a passage from Canto IV of the Purgatory of the Divine Comedy.

The town has medieval origins, which can still be found today in the archaeological remains of structures from that time. These include the Felina Castle, which in 870 became the property of a close relative of Emperor Ludovico II. Today, only the tower known as “Il salame” (the salami) remains. Here, in 1409, Michele Attendolo Sforza put the head of his Parma enemy Ottobono Terzi on a pike.

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