The Route of Gods by Mtb - A MULTI-STAGE JOURNEY

The Route of Gods is a very charming itinerary, which covers long stretches of the ancient Roman Via Flaminia Militare, connecting the cities of Bologna and Florence along the Apennines.

It's one of the main tourist attractions of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennine: many trekking and mountain biking lovers trace this piece of history fully enjoying the pristine beauty of these places. The name probably derives from some locations that are encountered along the way, such as Mount Adone, Monzuno (Mons Jovis, the mount of Jupiter), Mount Venere, Mount Luario (Lua was the roman Goddess of Atonement).

There are many possible variations: this is the one that runs standard by Mtb, tested by our editorial staff.

In general the entire route is challenging. Also this version, which is divided into 5 stages (as provided by the official route), is recommended for trained bikers with good technical and athletic preparation.

Legs

The Route of the Gods by Mtb - Stage #1 classic track
The Route of the Gods by Mtb - Stage #1 classic track

The Route of the Gods is a very charming itinerary, which covers long stretches of the ancient Roman Via Flaminia Militare, connecting the cities of Bologna and Florence along the Apennines. It's one of the main tourist attractions of the...

The Route of the Gods by Mtb - Stage #2 classic track
The Route of the Gods by Mtb - Stage #2 classic track

The Route of the Gods is a very charming itinerary, which covers long stretches of the ancient Roman Via Flaminia Militare, connecting the cities of Bologna and Florence along the Apennines. It's one of the main tourist attractions of the...

The Route of the Gods by Mtb - Stage #3 classic track
The Route of the Gods by Mtb - Stage #3 classic track

The Route of the Gods is a very charming itinerary, which covers long stretches of the ancient Roman Via Flaminia Militare, connecting the cities of Bologna and Florence along the Apennines. It's one of the main tourist attractions of the...

The Route of the Gods by Mtb - Stage #4 classic track
The Route of the Gods by Mtb - Stage #4 classic track

The Route of the Gods is a very charming itinerary, which covers long stretches of the ancient Roman Via Flaminia Militare, connecting the cities of Bologna and Florence along the Apennines. It's one of the main tourist attractions of the...

The Route of the Gods by Mtb - Stage #5 classic track
The Route of the Gods by Mtb - Stage #5 classic track

The Route of the Gods is a very charming itinerary, which covers long stretches of the ancient Roman Via Flaminia Militare, connecting the cities of Bologna and Florence along the Apennines. It's one of the main tourist attractions of the...

Points of interest

BOLOGNA - Piazza Maggiore
BOLOGNA - Piazza Maggiore

It is the main square of the Emilian capital, the hub of Bolognese life. The area that we now know as Piazza Maggiore (which is actually without a name) was built in the 1200s when the inhabitants felt the need to have a space to be used for markets and other city events. Only in the 15th century, however, did the square take on its current appearance. Surrounded by the most important buildings of the medieval city – including the Basilica of San Petronio with its characteristic ‘unfinished’ façade – the central part of the square is characterized by a slightly raised pedestrian platform, nicknamed the “Crescentone”, built in 1934.

THE SANCTUARY OF THE MADONNA DI SAN LUCA
THE SANCTUARY OF THE MADONNA DI SAN LUCA

Dedicated to the Catholic cult of the Virgin, the Sanctuary rises on Colle della Guardia, a partly wooded spur of rock located about 300 m above sea level, south-west of the historic centre of Bologna. Since its origins around 1192, the church has played an important role in the history of the city, being a destination for pilgrimages to venerate the icon of the Virgin with Child called “di San Luca”. The Sanctuary features an imposing Baroque architecture in the shape of an ellipse with seven chapels and an elegant dome, and is rich in precious marbles and paintings of great value. The long row of porticoes leading from the city to the Sanctuary is very impressive. It was built in the 18th century to protect the many pilgrims on the way, climbing towards the hill, from the elements. It is the longest portico in Europe, almost 4 km long, with 666 arches and 15 chapels. Legend has it that the number of arches was not a random choice: 666 is in fact the devil’s number, and it was used to identify the portico with the serpent, i.e. the Devil, for its shape and because, ending at the foot of the sanctuary, it recalls the traditional iconography of the Devil defeated and crushed by the Virgin Mary.

DE’ ROSSI PALACE
DE’ ROSSI PALACE

The palace was built in the late fifteenth century by Bartolomeo de 'Rossi on the banks of the Rhine river, as a sumptuous residence that could accommodate noblemen, ladies, scholars and clergymen who from Rome travelled to Bologna. The large castle and the adjacent village, with the oratory and the stables, form a unique architectural complex, which proposes integration between the productive activities, stately habits and social life of a country village. The imposing and elegant building, built in late Gothic style, housed Pope Julius II, Pope Leo X and Torquato Tasso.

FORTRESS OF BADOLO
FORTRESS OF BADOLO

Badolo is a village located near the town of Sasso Marconi in the province of Bologna. The town is characterized by a succession of rocky cliffs that form a picturesque stretch of the "Pliocene Buttress" that crosses the territory. The area is under nature conservation and it has been proposed as a "geological nature reserve". The Badolo’s sandstones represent since years the training place of Bologna’s rock climbers, who find here a true open-air rock climbing gym.

PLIOCENE SPUR
PLIOCENE SPUR

The Pliocene Spur is the set of rocky cliffs made of sandstone that winds for about 15 kilometers, as a natural rampart, between the valleys of Setta, Reno, Savena, Zena and Idice rivers, in the province of Bologna, in the municipalities of Monzuno, Pianoro and Sasso Marconi. The Spur’s rocks are the result of sand and gravel sedimentation transported by the Apennine streams within a marine gulf that, in the Pliocene (between 5 and 2 million years ago), interested a large part of the actual Bologna’s Apennines. Due to the raising and lowering of the sea level (due to glaciations and deglaciations), there were several sedimentation cycles in centuries. Therefore, today, all these rocks are rich in marine fossils, in particular shells, but also mollusks, fishes, and marine mammals.

MOUNT ADONE
MOUNT ADONE

Located in the Bologna Apennines, in the extreme southeastern part of the municipality of Sasso Marconi, the mountain rises to 654 meters in a panoramic an extraordinary setting. Its summit, reachable from Brento, presents some significant natural attractions, such as the Caves of the Fairies, Grotticella and Cunicolo Pozzo. The mountain is cut by a long train tunnel - actually called Mount Adone Gallery - about 7 km long, which joins the Savena valley and the Setta valley.

MOUNT VENERE
MOUNT VENERE

The small massif of Mount Venere (Venus) is located in the middle-high Bologna’s Apennine, on the watershed of the Savena and Sambro streams valley. Fully included in the municipality of Monzuno, a village built on its slopes, the mountain has two summits: Mount Venere (965 m) and Poggio Mount Venere (822 m), a little more northward.

MILITARY FLAMINIA ROAD
MILITARY FLAMINIA ROAD

In these lands wound the ancient road network known as Military Flaminia, the Roman road built by the consul Caio Flaminio in 187 BC. This important road allowed to connect Bologna with the city of Arezzo, climbing up to Monzuno and reaching the towns of Monte Venus, Cedrecchia, Madonna dei Fornelli and, crossing the Monte Bastione, going into Tuscany. Between Futa mountain Pass and the village of Madonna dei Fornelli, the ancient road is also known as Roman Futa road or Beachwood street.

FUTA MOUNTAIN PASS
FUTA MOUNTAIN PASS

Important Tuscan-Emilian Apennines mountain pass, located at an altitude of 903 meters, in the municipality of Firenzuola. The Pass separates the Mugello valley from the valley of the Santerno river, and from 1759, when it was finished the Futa road (Florence-Bologna), it has become one of the most popular mountain pass crossing the Apennines. The pass has also an important historical value: during the Second World War, in fact, it was defended by some of the main Gothic Line fortifications, the German defense system. These stations were abandoned after the Allied breakout occurred on the adjacent pass of the Giogo di Scarperia, in September 1944.

GERMAN MILITARY CEMETERY
GERMAN MILITARY CEMETERY

The German military cemetery is located in the municipality of Firenzuola (halfway between Florence and Bologna) on the Tuscan-Romagna Apennines, important way of communication and theater of fierce clashes during the Second World War. The cemetery is located at an altitude of 950 meters on top of a mountain relief, in the immediate vicinity of the Futa Pass and it was officially inaugurated on June 28th 1969. It occupies an area of about 12 hectares growing along the slopes of the mountain, accommodating more than 30,500 corpses of German soldiers. The cemetery entrance is topped by a majestic triangular gray stone wall, placed at the top of the hill, which rises above the graves‘ terraces , surrounded by vegetation and the nearby woods.

MADONNA DEI FORNELLI’ SANCTUARY
MADONNA DEI FORNELLI’ SANCTUARY

There are reports of the Sanctuary, also known as Our Lady of the Snows, as early as the late sixteenth century. The areas around the Apennine town, in fact, suffered in 1630 a terrible epidemic plague and the population expanded a small Marian chapel to thank the Blessed Virgin for the narrow escape. So it was erected the Sanctuary, which in fact recounts the historical events of Madonna dei Fornelli. In 1908 the apse was completely redone and in 1985 the bell tower was built, 33 meters high, realized by the engineer Rodolfo Bettazzi.

THE MUGELLO HILLS
THE MUGELLO HILLS

Mugello is a historical region in Tuscany situated in the north-east of Florence. Its territory is characterized by a wide mountains and hills’ range that slope up to the level adjacent to the river Sieve. The territory is rich in smaller towns, scattered farmsteads, where you can find traces of an important history. Then again Medici villas, small churches and unique paths for bike enthusiasts.

SANCTUARY OF MOUNT SENARIO
SANCTUARY OF MOUNT SENARIO

It’s one of the most important Tuscan sanctuaries and is located on the homonymous hill north of Florence, in the municipality of Vaglia. The convent was built in 1234 by seven Florentine noblemen, founders of the Servants of Mary order - so called the Seven Holy Founders - and then it was extended and modified several times over the centuries. The current complex consists of several buildings: the Church of St. Mary, restored to its eighteenth-century splendor, the Chapel of the Most Holy, the Chapel of the Seven Saints (which houses the remains of the Seven Founding Fathers), the Choir, with stalls made in eighteenth century carved walnut wood, and the Convent, with the fifteenth-century cloister and the Medicean cistern, surmounted by a large panoramic terrace. The main buildings are flanked by the caves and the cells once inhabited by the Servants of Mary, and by the 'Ice', nineteenth-century building of singular architecture, considered the largest of its kind in Italy.

FIESOLE
FIESOLE

Located just 6 km from Florence, Fiesole overlooks the hills in a splendid panoramic position on the Arno and the Mugnone rivers’ valley. Its nature and its landscapes make it a tourist “outside the town” destination. Unlike the Tuscan capital, Fiesole has Etruscan foundation (it was one of the most important cities in the Apennine in that period) and preserves important evidence of its past in a vast Archaeological Area. Of great historical value is also the Romanesque Cathedral of San Romolo, with the characteristic bell-shaped tower, the Bishop's Palace (XI century) and the ancient Church of St. Mary Primerana, built on Etruscan structures. Do not miss the Roman Theatre, perfectly preserved.

ABBEY OF BUONSOLLAZZO
ABBEY OF BUONSOLLAZZO

Also known as Monastery of San Bartolomeo, it is a religious complex (now closed) situated on the northern side of Mount Senario, in the municipality of Borgo San Lorenzo. The Abbey "de Bono-Solatio" - that means "very sunny" - is cited for the first time in some documents in 1084, but according to tradition it was built before 1000 A.C. by the Marquis Ugo di Toscana in favor of the Benedictines, in the place where he had a miraculous vision which converted him. The present building is different and much wider than the original. Of the primitive Benedictine cloister remain only capitals and pillars on the walls, while the Abbey today is the result of renovations carried out in the early eighteenth century.

TREBBIO CASTLE
TREBBIO CASTLE

Its core was built by the noble family of bankers de 'Pazzi in 1184, and expanded in subsequent centuries. The plant of the fortress is rectangular, articulated around the courtyard which is accessible only by a door, protected by a tower at the center of the walls facing the valley, at whose ends there are two square towers. All around the gentle slopes covered with vineyards and olive groves, in a classically Tuscan landscape. The castle is historically famous because here, in 1478, was apparently plot the conspiracy against the Medici, which led to the killing of Giuliano, brother of Lorenzo. "The de’ Pazzi Conspiracy" failed, but still today in the castle’ core you can admire the beautiful Hall of the Conspiracy, in homage to the historical episode.

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Technical data

City of departure: Bologna

Departure: Bologna

City of arrival: Firenze

Arrival: Firenze

Length (Km): 126

Discipline: MTB

Type of Itinerary: Great routes

Recommended Period: