In 2022, the town in the province of Reggio Emilia will host the start of the Appenninica MTB Stage Race (4-10 September) for the first time. The athletes will kick things off with three days in the shadow of the Bismantova Rock

The story of Appenninica MTB Stage Race continues in Castelnovo ne’ Monti. After staging the grand finale of the last two editions, the town in the Province of Reggio Emilia will hold the start of the 2022 race (September 4-10, 2022) in the shadow of the Bismantova Rock, the iconic mountain to which Dante’s Purgatory was inspired. 

Having been a stage venue of Appenninica every year since the first edition, Castelnovo ne’ Monti showed a neat commitment to the format of the mountain bike stage race on the trails of the Emilia-Romagna Apennines. This time, Castelnovo will welcome the Appenninica family for no less than three days of racing. 

The first two stages will run along the popular trails of the Reggio Emilia Apennines, highlighting an area rich in history and charm. The much-anticipated third stage, the High Mountain Queen Stage, will also start from Castelnovo ne’ Monti.

On Saturday, September 3rd, the central Piazza Gramsci will already come alive with the preliminary operations and the expo area with all the local associations involved in promoting outdoor activities.

Piazza Gramsci will be the venue of the start and finish of the first stage on Sunday, September 4th, when the athletes will ride through the territories of Matilda di Canossa’s reign, among castles and ancient routes. La Matildica, with its 52 km and 1850 meters of elevation gain, will warm the athletes’ legs around the iconic Bismantova Rock, touching the Castle of Carpineti. It will be continuous hilly ups and downs alongside Monte Fosola and the long bank of the Secchia river.

The following day, Monday, September 5th, another loop stage with start and finish in Castelnovo ne’ Monti will take place. The 62 kilometers and 2350 meters of elevation gain of The Rock stage will considerably raise the bar, through the ascent to the Monte Ventasso and the passage over the scenic Calamone Lake before reaching the crest of the Monte Pastorale. Again, a sequence of ups and downs will take the athletes from the highest point of the course back to the finish line. 

On Tuesday, September 6th, Castelnovo ne’ Monti will greet the Appenninica MTB Stage Race caravan before the athletes tackle the most challenging stage of the 2022 edition, the High Mountain Queen Stage (105 km and 3650 meters of elevation gain) with arrival in Fanano (Modena). On the route, Passo della Cisa, Monte Cusna, and Pian Cavallaro are just some of the difficulties that could completely overturn the general classification.  

We are delighted to host the Appenninica MTB Stage Race in Castelnovo ne’ Monti for the fourth straight year. We believe mountain biking has the Apennines as its territory of choice, with routes in untouched natural environments, through towns and villages rich in history, art, and culture, inhabited by welcoming people. Sports are a key vehicle to the promotion of these territories: we look forward to having the participants of Appenninica MTB Stage Race back with us in September,” said Enrico Bini, mayor of Castelnovo ne’ Monti. 


Castelnovo ne’ Monti and the surrounding territories are full of history and magic, starting with the Bismantova Rock, which, according to tradition, inspired Dante’s Purgatory during a stay of the poet in 1306, as also reported in the Canto IV of the Divine Comedy’s Purgatory. The Castelnovo area also boasts several fortresses and castles, once part of the reign of Matilda of Canossa, between 1000 and 1100 AD.

The medieval town’s historical center is definitely worth a visit. It was renovated in recent years, and it offers some truly characteristic views. Among these is the Palazzo Ducale, immersed in the green gardens of Bagnolo, built by the Este family as a symbol of their domination over the territory, and is now the venue of Castelnovo’s City Hall.