Appenninica 2022 reverses course: start is in Castelnovo with finish in Lizzano

The 2022 edition (September 4-10) of the mountain bike stage race in the Emilia-Romagna Apennines will turn the route on its head by swapping the start with the finish (and vice versa) compared to recent years. Castelnovo ne’ Monti will kick off the 450-km, 16,000-meter elevation effort, while Lizzano in Belvedere will stage the grand finale. Fanano and Porretta Terme have also been confirmed as stage cities


The Appenninica MTB Stage Race does an about-face in order to offer participants a new route. The event, scheduled from September 4-10, 2022, will start from Castelnovo ne’ Monti (Reggio Emilia) and end in Lizzano in Belvedere (Bologna). This change is a calculated move by the Happy Trail MTB organizers aimed at bringing new perspectives and routes to the athletes while leaving the race’s successful mix of scenic routes and breath-taking scenery untouched, all while striking a proper balance between technical and fun features.

The route for the 2022 edition will wind along the paths of the Alta Via dei Parchi, amid the inviting landscapes of the Apennine ridge. The area’s natural beauty is a great source of pride for local tourism in the Emilia-Romagna region and is a highlight of the Appenninica MTB Stage Race. Compared to past editions, competitors will also face routes full of history and WWII settings, like the Lunigiana military road and part of the infamous Gothic Line.

Along the Appenninica MTB Stage Race’s 450 km and 16,000 meters of elevation, participants will take on yet unseen mountains while passing through both the main winter and summer outdoor sports areas of Emilia-Romagna: VentassoMonte CusnaMonte CimoneCorno alle Scale and Monte Pizzo. Even though the route is new, the stage locations remain unchanged. In addition to the above-mentioned Castelnovo ne’ Monti and Lizzano in Belvedere, Fanano (Modena) and Porretta Terme (Bologna) have remained in the Appenninica family.

credits: The Outdoor Lab


The start is set for Sunday, September 4, 2022, from Castelnovo ne’ Monti with a circuit around the iconic Pietra di Bismantova in Matilde di Canossa’s scenic lands. The opening “La Matildica” stage has been named after her and spans 50 km with a little more than 1,750 meters of climbing.

Another circuit around Castelnovo ne’ Monti and the Bismantova Rock will be proposed for the second stage on Monday, September 5. 62 km and 2,200 metres of elevation gain on the menu, climbing almost to the summit of Monte Ventasso, with a view on the scenic Lake Calamone.

On Tuesday, September 6, the “High Mountain Queen Stage” from Castelnovo ne’ Monti to Fanano will be the first real test for the competitors. If the first two stages are meant to warm up the legs, the third stage (103 km with 3,600 meters of elevation gain) on the Apennines ridge between Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany will be a real watershed for individual ambitions within the general classification.

The following day, Wednesday, September 7, Appenninica will once again traverse the trails of the famous trail builder, Pippo Marani. The “Pippo Yeah 2.0” starts and finishes in Fanano in a renewed version of one of the most loved stages from past editions: 56 km with 2,250 meters of elevation gain.

Stage five from Fanano to Porretta Terme, scheduled for Thursday, September 8, will take place on the so-far untouched paths of the Gothic Line, the famous battleground of the Second World War. The “Gothic Line” will offer a smooth and fun route through 71 km with 2,500 meters of elevation gain.

On Friday, September 9, riders will head from Porretta Terme to Lizzano in Belvedere on a 60 km route with 2,700 meters of elevation gain. During the “Il Corno” stage, athletes will cross some unforgettable spots from previous editions, like the beautiful summit of Corno alle Scale – the mountain of Bologna – and the stunning Scaffaiolo Lake

The final stage set for Saturday, September 10, will roll out the red carpet on the beautiful slopes of the Monte Pizzo bike park around Lizzano in Belvedere. It is a fast and spectacular 37-km route with 1,750 meters of elevation gain, which will determine the winner of the 2022 Appenninica MTB Stage Race.

“Compared to last year’s edition, we decided to go against the tide and design a route in the reverse direction while still being able to enhance the most endearing elements of the Appenninica MTB Stage Race. As usual, the breath-taking scenery of the Apennines ridge is combined with wooded passes in a mix of smooth climbs and technical, fun descents. In addition, we have worked hard to better balance each stage’s length with its elevation gain. We are sure it will be a spectacular edition,” said the Appenninica MTB Stage Race organizers, Beppe Salerno and Milena Bettocchi.

credits: The Outdoor Lab


Registration for the 2022 edition is open on the official website:

Same as in 2021, the organizing committee is allowing individual participation only. After the Early Bird phase sold out, and almost 100 registrations already confirmed out of the 150 maximum, riders can sign up for the Appenninica MTB Stage Race with the “Regular Registration” fee until May 31, 2022. Furthermore, a three-installment payment plan is also available.

For more information:


Stage 1 – La Matildica – 50 km with 1750 meters of elevation gain

Sunday, September 4: Castelnovo ne’ Monti – Castelnovo ne’ Monti

Stage 2 – The Rock – 70 km with 2550 meters of elevation gain

Monday, September 5: Castelnovo ne’ Monti – Castelnovo ne’ Monti

Stage 3 – High Mountain Queen Stage – 95 km with 3000 meters of elevation gain

Tuesday, September 6: Castelnovo ne’ Monti – Fanano

Stage 4 – Pippo Yeah 2.0 – 55 km with 2250 meters of elevation gain

Wednesday, September 7: Fanano – Fanano

Stage 5 – Gothic Line – 75 km with 2550 meters of elevation gain

Thursday, September 8: Fanano – Porretta Terme 

Stage 6 – Il Corno – 60 km with 2700 meters of elevation gain

Friday, September 9: Porretta Terme – Lizzano in Belvedere

Stage 7 – Monte Pizzo – 34 km with 1600 meters of elevation gain

Saturday, September 10: Lizzano in Belvedere – Lizzano in Belvedere

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