On the heights of the Reno Valley we find the town of Gaggio Montano, unmistakable in the landscape thanks to its characteristic lighthouse. Built on the cliffs of Sasso di Rocca as a monument dedicated to the fallen soldiers of the two world wars, the mountain lighthouse is the only example in Italy.
An inhabited place known since ancient times because of its strategic military position and the scene of major historical events related to the feudal lords of the Reno valley, Gaggio Montano is a small gem in the Apennine landscape.
Gaggio Montano lies at the foot of Mount Belvedere and Mount Castello, crossing points of the Gothic Line, a footpath that retraces the eponymous World War II war front in which partisans, Americans and soldiers of the Forca Expedicionaria Brasileira fought Nazifascism in these mountains.
Not far from here you can visit the Ronchidoso Sanctuary, nestled in the beautiful fir forest.
Rocca Pitigliana is worth more than a visit: the medieval village is located on the cliff in the Marano valley and has been recorded since 969 A.D., and several historians have mentioned the existence of a now-destroyed castle, which most likely stood on the site of the present church dedicated to St. Michael the Archangel.
Not far away is the recently restored 13th-century Montefrasco Tower.
In Pietracolora, on the other hand, you can visit the Pietracolora Tower, built in the early 1880s, or walk up the Vedetta mountain, which offers a wide view of the surrounding valleys. Nearby are the Sassane, where we find the shrine dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene. The distinctive rock formations are now a destination for many avid climbers.
Affrico is located on the ridge not far from Pietracolora and is among the oldest hamlets of Gaggio Montano, home to the important Pieve di Affrico from 969. It is a classic example of Comacine architecture that preserves 15th-century buildings. In Affrico we can visit the church dedicated to St. John the Baptist and the little-known hamlet of Volpara.
At the hamlet known as Castellaccio, on the other hand, we find a building reminiscent of an ancient fortification, testifying to the crucial importance of these territories for the domination of the valleys.
In Gaggio Montano one can enjoy all the main dishes of the Apennine cuisine, from tigelle or crescentine, to zampanelle, along with the dishes of the Emilian cuisine of the province of Bologna such as tagliatelle and lasagna with meat sauce or wild boar sauce, or seasoned with the local products of the mountain forests such as mushrooms or the most prized truffle.