Lizzano in Belvedere (Bologna) is an Italian municipality renowned for its natural beauty and landscape, located entirely within the Corno alle Scale Regional Park. Green, sport and culture make this town perfect for a relaxing stay.
PLACES TO VISIT
The municipality of Lizzano in Belvedere is inextricably linked to Corno alle Scale, whose symbol is the Punta Sofia cross. At 1945 metres above sea level, the panorama is breathtaking, opening up to the Alps to the north, Florence and the port of Livorno at its feet and, on particularly clear days, it is possible to see the Tyrrhenian Sea and the islands of Sardinia, Corsica and Elba to the west and the Adriatic Sea to the east. The vegetation and flora make it a place of great interest, while sites not to be missed are Lake Scaffaiolo, the Silenzio Valley and Balzi dell’Ora.
The simplicity and harmony of the building is striking at the Sanctuary of Madonna dell’Acero, a place of the soul surrounded by monumental trees where silence induces the visitor to meditation. Built in 1500 on the site where the Madonna appeared to two young shepherds, saving them from a blizzard, the cult of the ancient sanctuary is renewed every 5 August and legend has it that the maple tree on whose branches the Madonna is said to have rested still grows on the sides of the church.
Outside the sanctuary is the Dardagna waterfall, the last of seven cascades on the stream of the same name before its waters soften their descent. In this almost fairytale-like place, the power of the water is clearly perceptible, putting the visitor in complete contact with nature.
A theatre of World War II, Lizzano in Belvedere was crossed by the Gothic Line, the defensive fortification built by Marshal Albert Kesselring in 1944. The Municipality of Lizzano has created a true tourist-cultural system, allowing visitors to walk a stretch of the Gothic Line as far as Marzabotto. An evocative journey down the memory lane, in an environment of enormous natural beauty capable of echoing the history of the people of the Apennines, protagonists of the partisan struggle between the autumn of 1944 and the spring of 1945.
During the summer, visitors can also cool off in the Conca del Sole municipal swimming pool water park, surrounded by the greenery of the Silla Valley and the surrounding mountains.
The Emilian culinary tradition is at home in Lizzano in Belvedere. It is the strong, decisive flavors of the local woods and mountains that dominate the local recipe book.
Chestnuts’ lasagne and tagliatelle with cupline, genuine porcini mushrooms, represent the perfect union between traditional Bolognese cuisine based on fresh pasta and the strong flavors of the mountains. Also typical of the local cuisine are fugacine, better known as ‘tigelle’ made of flour and water, fried crescentine and zampanelle, a kind of crepe made of water, white flour, salt and oil.
From the forest, chestnuts are abundantly used in the culinary tradition of Lizzano in Belvedere, for all kinds of dishes. Starting with chestnut flour and adding water, patolle are made to be eaten with ricotta, cheese and salami. Also typical of these mountains is castagnaccio, a poor man’s cake made with chestnut flour, water and shelled walnuts. In January, on the other hand, chestnut fritters, a simple and tasty recipe also made with chestnut flour, are preferred.
For those with a sweet tooth, there are also zuccherini montanari and rice cakes, traditionally prepared at Easter. Finally, chestnuts are used to create an excellent digestive called “chestnuts gourmand“, perfect to enjoy in front of a lit fireplace.
For fish lovers, another typical dish is Salmerino, a freshwater fish with extraordinary organoleptic characteristics, cooked in different ways depending on the season.
The municipality of Lizzano in Belvedere boasts a rich history. Ligurians, Etruscans and Boi Gauls were probably the first peoples to inhabit these mountains of the Emilian Apennines.
In the Middle Ages the area came under the dominion of the Byzantine Exarchate, whose presence is confirmed by the name of the church of Lizzano, dedicated to San Mamante. The name ‘Massa Lizzano’ is mentioned for the first time in the document with which the Lombard king Astolfo donated the territories to Sant’Anselmo, founder of the Benedictine Abbey of Nonantola. Already at that time, the boundaries of the municipality coincided with the current ones. In 1227, the Municipality of Bologna, whose dominion extended over these territories, built a guard castle on the summit of Mount Belvedere, of which only a few ruins remain today.
More recent history sees Lizzano in Belvedere and its mountains as protagonists of the World War II, given the construction in 1944 of the Gothic Defence Line in this area. On the Riva and Belvedere mountains, two battles were fought that were decisive for the capitulation of the German armed forces.
Alongside the official history, there is a history linked to the people of the area, which can be discovered by visiting the Ethnographic Museum of Mountain Culture in Poggiolforato, where three thousand tools, furnishings and fittings are preserved, tracing the human and civil history of the entire territory.
Lizzano in Belvedere was the birthplace of the famous Italian journalist and writer Enzo Biagi, who was born on 9 August 1920 and died in November 2007. After spending his youth in the hamlet of Pianaccio, Biagi soon moved to Bologna where he tenaciously embarked on his journey as a journalist, beginning his career in student magazines.
In 1940 he was hired by Carlino Sera, but his antifascist nature soon made him flee to his native Apennines. Here Biagi supported and participated in the Resistance, joining the “Libertà e Giustizia” brigades linked to the Partito d’Azione and editing Patrioti, the partisan counter-information magazine.
When the resistance forces of Emilia-Romagna and the allied troops entered Bologna in 1945, it was Enzo Biagi’s voice that announced the city’s liberation on local radio. As well as writing for Il Resto del Carlino, during his career Biagi collaborated with Il Corriere della Sera, Il Giornale and La Repubblica, and hosted several television programmes on history and current affairs. The most famous is ‘Il Fatto’, broadcast on Rai 1 from 1995 to 2002.
Deeply attached to his land, he often returned to Pianaccio where he wanted to be simply a villager. “I am a man of the mountains: I like the fog that makes the ridges disappear, the clouds that suddenly descend. If I were blind, I would understand the hours by listening to the sounds of the woods“, he loved to repeat as he watched from the window of his house the profile of those mountains he loved so much. A museum dedicated to him has been set up in Pianaccio
THE BEST MTB ROUTE
Above the villages of Lizzano in Belvedere and Vidiciatico, at Monte Pizzo, there is a bike park in the midst of charming woods. The route does not offer any impossible gradients, but the tracks have been well marked by the volunteers who created this area dedicated to bikers. It is possible to choose between different routes where you can race your mountain bike on the basis of different levels of difficulty.
Around the municipality of Lizzano in Belvedere, however, there is no shortage of other routes to tackle by mountain bike, to immerse yourself in exceptionally beautiful natural landscapes.
Many events take place in Lizzano in Belvedere and its hamlets over the course of the months. Among these, “Corno Ti Risiko!” is certainly one of the most popular: a huge open-air Risiko! game usually held in the last weekend of June.
The first weekend in July is the “Monte Acuto delle Irish”, an Irish-style evening with beer and typical dishes. At the end of July, the “Festa del Borgo” is held in Vidiciatico, recreating the atmosphere of times gone by with shows, food stands and craft markets: to pay, it is necessary to use an ancient currency, the Magalino.
Also, in Vidiciatico, on 14 August, the traditional “Giughence la Campana” takes place, a challenge between villages based on mountain games to win the coveted bell. In mid-August, Lizzano in Belvedere also hosts the “Festa del Mirtillo” (Blueberry Festival), a two-day event dedicated to the precious berry known as “the purple gold of Corno alle Scale”.
At the end of August in Vidiciatico, it is time for street food, while the first weekend in October sees the “Tartufesta”, an event dedicated to the autumn flavors of the territory. For the occasion, the town’s restaurants offer special menus based on local delicacies. During the Christmas period, a Father Christmas village is set up in the small square in Vidiciatico, which can be visited throughout the festivities and is usually inaugurated on 8th December.
HOW TO GET THERE
From Bologna: A1 motorway to Sasso Marconi 5 Cerri or Sasso Marconi Nord (Telepass exit) and then the Porrettana state road to Silla. From here proceed in the direction of Lizzano in Belvedere/Corno alle Scale.
From Firenze: A11 motorway to Pistoia and then the Porrettana state road to Porretta Terme. From here proceed in the direction of Silla and then Lizzano in Belvedere/Corno alle Scale.
BY PUBLIC TRANSPORTS:
From Bologna: regional train Bologna/Porretta Terme and then coach (776) to Corno alle Scale.
From Firenze: train to Pistoia and then from Pistoia to Porretta Terme. Then, bus line (776) to Corno alle Scale.
LIZZANO IN BELVEDERE AND APPENNINICA MTB STAGE RACE
Appenninica MTB Stage Race 2021
- Stage 2: Porretta Terme-Lizzano in Belvedere
- Stage3: Lizzano in Belvedere-Fanano