Montecreto

Montecreto

About 64 kilometres from Modena, Montecreto stands on a hill overlooking the valley of the River Scoltenna. It stretches out along the right hand side of this valley up to the Rondinara, Cavrile, and Cervarola mountains.

The earliest mentions of this place date back to 1205, when it passed from domination by the Gualandelli to that of the Modena Community.

Halfway through the fourteenth century however the Montegarullo family arrived, and in 1406, after a battle that destroyed the fortification, it was settled by the Este family. Towards the end of the sixteenth century, Montecreto already looked very similar to how we see it today. It was annexed to Sestola until 1796, when it became an autonomous municipality with the Unification of Italy.

Why it’s worth a visit

A green paradise at the foot of Mount Cavrile, Montecreto is a pleasant tourist destination in both summer and winter, especially if you love outdoor pursuits. It should be considered for some serious chilling, but also for some equally serious sports such as tennis, horse-riding, skating, mountain biking, hiking, trial and skiing.

Sites you won't want to miss

The old town centre

There are various interesting sights we recommend you see in the old town centre. The first is Via Castello, a characteristic fortified street dating back to medieval times, paved with stone slabs and decorated with ornate coats of arms and sculptures. It goes up the slope to the hill where the castle once stood, enjoying beautiful views out over the surrounding valleys. On your way up, you will pass the Dominican convent, a walled religious building with an oratory. In the church dedicated to San Domenico there are two paintings that depict the Virgin Mary: the Madonna of the Rosary by Ascanio and the Madonna of Soriano by Pellegrino Pellegrini, a pupil of Guido Reni. Last but not least, there is a Medieval Tower still standing right at the top, the fort’s ancient keep that was turned into a bell tower in the eighteenth century, while the separate parish church of San Giovanni Battista stands majestically, boasting two Romanesque column-bearing stone lions, a fine wooden crucifix and a Madonna of the Mysteries of the Rosary from 1599, by Ascanio Magnanini di Fanano.

The oratory of the Madonna delle Grazie del Trogolino

Erected in 1628 and rebuilt in 1758, the oratory of the Madonna delle Grazie del Trogolino has a rectangular hall decorated with stucco work and colonnades in the presbytery and it is home to a venerated image of the Virgin Mary painted on copper.

Good things to eat

A typical sweet treat in these mountains is an artisan almond brittle from Frignano still made today by skilled local confectioners following an old recipe. It was even served in the dining halls of the Governor of the ancient Province of Frignano! And a typical fruit is the Modena Apennine bilberry used to make delicious jams, syrups, juices and liqueurs.

Nearby

Magrignana

The medieval village of Magrignana still today boasts remarkable examples of rural architecture, such as portals and coats of arms. It also has a tiny seventeenth-century church dedicated to San Geminiano, which was renovated in the nineteenth century.

The old Duca di Strettara Bridge

For almost 3 centuries this bridge was part of the obligatory routes through the Apennines. After closure in 1988, when it was replaced by the new Strettara bridge, the old Ponte del Duca or Duke’s Bridge was completely renovated and turned into a crossing for walkers and cyclists.

Acquaria is a tiny village in Montecreto that owes its name to its many water courses and is well-known for its good traditional food. Very picturesque, it is set in chestnut groves and still has its original medieval structure.

Mount Cimone and the ski resort

Mount Cimone is the highest mountain in the northern Apennines. It is home to an important weather observatory belonging to the Italian Air Force and a National Research Council (CNR) centre. It also has a beautiful lake at 1,500 metres a.s.l., called Lake Ninfa and its 50 km of ski slopes make Cimone the largest ski resort in this area. In winter, the Stellaro chairlift at the ski station near the centre of Montecreto ferries skiers up the mountain to where one chairlift and two skilifts then take them to the slopes of Montecreto and to the Cimone ski resort.

When to come

Summer or winter. Both seasons are perfect for fully enjoying all that Montecreto has to offer.

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