Fanano (Modena) is a small mountain municipality, 640 meters above sea level, set in the context and landscape of the Parco dell’Alto Appennino Modenese. Its strategic position between Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany makes it an easily accessible tourist destination, especially for sports.
In winter, Fanano is a tourist destination for winter sports thanks to the Monte Cimone ski resort, where it is possible to practice downhill skiing, ski mountaineering and Nordic skiing, as well as the presence of an ice rink for figure skating and hockey. In summer, the developed network of trails allows for trekking, mountain biking and outdoor sports.
PLACES TO VISIT
Orange flag of the Italian Touring Club since 2001, Fanano is not lacking in places full of history and culture that are worth a visit. In particular, the Pieve di San Silvestro, probably built at the end of the 12th century over the remains of the abbey church of Sant’Anselmo, and the Church of San Giuseppe, built in 1619 by Ottonello Ottonelli.
The center of the old town and the beating heart of Fanano is Piazza Corsini, where the three most important access roads to the town converged and where fairs, markets and popular assemblies were held. Near the park of Sant’Anselmo, you can also admire two beautiful 17th-century villas, known as Ville della Badiola: Villa Burchi and Villa Severi-Monari, perhaps the most photographed view in the whole town.
World War II enthusiasts can visit the Gothic Line Museum in Trignano, while in the small village of Ca Biagio it is possible to learn about the history of Fanano’s most illustrious citizen, Felice Pedroni, in his hometown.
Love and attention to detail typical of the Emilian culinary tradition are the main ingredients of Fanano’s cuisine. Tradition at the table can be tasted with tortelloni, gnocco fritto, crescentine, and borlenghi, very thin crepes made with water, flour and salt. There are also many delicious typical products such as ricotta, caciotta, Parmigiano Reggiano and Balsamic Vinegar of Modena. Mushrooms, chestnuts and blueberries are also brought to the table from the surrounding woods and can be purchased in quantity from all the stalls of producers and fruit and vegetable shops. Right on the paths of the Apennine ridge of Fanano there are endless fields of blueberries.
There are no significant traces of Fanano in Roman times, but after the fall of the Roman Empire, this center became very active as a place of refuge for those coming from the devastated lands of the plains. It was Saint Anselm who made Fanano prosper, promoting the spread of Christianity and building infrastructural works that improved communication with the other Lombard territories.
At the center of wars between Bologna and Modena, it was during the dominion of Ferrara’s Este family that Fanano enjoyed considerable development, increasing chestnut cultivation and exploiting water resources by building mills. The numerous monasteries present also made Fanano prosper from a cultural point of view, thanks to easy access to studies.
The construction of the Via Vandelli at the end of the eighteenth century marked the decline of Fanano, cut off from the main trade routes between Modena and Tuscany. At that point, many citizens emigrated to the United States in search of fortune, among them Felice Pedroni.
During World War II, these territories were on the front line, the scene of fierce battles between German forces and local partisans. At the end of the war, Fanano went down in the annals of history for having Italy’s first female mayor, Elena Tosetti: a sign of new times.
The most important character linked to Fanano is Felice Pedroni. In the years when Fanano’s territories were emptying and many tried their luck in the United States, Pedroni found his fortune in Alaska, repeatedly defying death in the gold rush.
In his search, Felice Pedroni came across a moose and decided to chase it to eat the animal’s fresh meat. As luck would have it, in his pursuit of the elk, the Fanano native discovered a waterway where the animal used to drink and where there was what proved to be the largest gold deposit in Alaska. In his pursuit, the elk left gold nuggets on the road, which came from that very stream.
On those banks, Felice Pedroni founded the town of Fairbanks, where most of the citizens were dedicated to collecting gold. Pedroni died a few years later in suspicious circumstances.
THE BEST MTB ROUTE
One of the most interesting mountain bike trails near Fanano is Passo del Lupo and Lago della Ninfa. Starting and finishing in Fanano, the trail is 39.1 km long with a total elevation gain of 1,289 m.
The route can also be tackled in wet conditions and starts in Fanano, taking the paths towards Sestola. From Sestola, the ascent to Passo del Lupo begins and then, at high altitude, we reach Lago della Ninfa where we can stop at the Baita della Ninfa. From there we return to Sestola by road and then take the outward path in the opposite direction towards Fanano.
Throughout the year there are many events in Fanano. Every two years, on 24th December and 5th January, the traditional living nativity scene takes place, with more than 200 figures involved in reliving the evocative context of Christmas.
On Easter Monday there is the traditional “Cocetto di Fanano”, a traditional game with colored eggs. In the third week of July, on the other hand, there is the “Cima Tauffi Trail”, a race from the village to the surrounding peaks over three distances (60, 35, and 12 km).
In August, it’s blueberry time with a festival dedicated to the typical Apennine fruit, featuring show cooking, tasting menus, music and craft markets. Still on the culinary theme, in autumn there is “Ste Sroden”, the event organized by the restaurateurs of Fanano with recipes based on pumpkin, mushrooms and chestnuts, which animates all the streets of the city center.
HOW TO GET THERE
Fanano is 60 km from Modena and 75 km from Bologna and can be easily reached by car from the Modena Sud and Bologna Casalecchio tollgates, following the signs for Vignola or taking the “Fondovalle Panaro” road. By car, it can also be reached via the SS324.
Fanano can also be reached by bus with a direct extra-urban line or with a change in Vignola or Pavullo, leaving from the railway stations of Modena and Bologna.
The nearest airports are Bologna-Guglielmo Marconi and Florence-Amerigo Vespucci.
FANANO AND APPENNINICA MTB STAGE RACE
Fanano has been a stage venue in all editions of the Appenninica MTB Stage Race
Appenninica MTB Stage Race 2019
- Stage 2: Castlenovo ne’ Monti-Fanano
- Stage 3: Fanano-Porretta Terme
Appenninica MTB Stage Race 2020
- Stage 2: Porretta Terme-Fanano
- Stage 3: Fanano-Fanano
- Stage 4: Fanano-Castelnovo ne’ Monti
Appenninica MTB Stage Race 2021
- Stage 3: Lizzano in Belvedere-Fanano
- Stage 4: Fanano-Fanano
- Stage 5: Fanano-Cerreto Laghi