Surrounded by woodland, it stretches up from the Scoltenna and Torto rivers to the top of Mount Cimone, the mountain whose old names of “Alpe Lunata” or “Alpe de Lona” probably lie at the origins of the name Riolunato.
Until the mid-sixteenth century, the history of this town was embroiled with that of Pelosi Castle, now a village in the Riolunato municipality, where the Montegarullo family castle used to stand. It then became the property of the Este family, the castle lost its importance and Riolunato managed to establish its own supremacy
At the end of the eighteenth century, a landslide totally changed the layout of the town.
Why it's worth a visit
An ideal choice for those who love mountains and sport, Riolunato is all about nature and outdoor activities that include canoeing and skiing, and its medieval villages and ancient castles will take you back in history.
The old town centre
The town centre still has many medieval characteristics. Worth of note are the old homes of prominent families with their aristocratic coats of arms, Piazza del Trebbo with Casa Ferrari and Casa Vellani and old Palazzo Comunale, its façade decorated with a fresco from 1462 that depicts the Madonna with Child and Saints Michael and James.
In the top part of the town stands the Parish Church of San Giacomo, the patron saint of pilgrims, with its nineteenth-century façade and wonderful coffered wooden ceiling from the seventeenth century, together with its decorative wooden altarpieces. There is also a Madonna with Child in the left-hand transept and a Madonna with Child and Saints on the same side in the third chapel.
A typical product in this mountain area is artisan almond brittle from Frignano, still made today following an old recipe, handed down by the skilled local confectioners. It was even served in the dining halls of the Governor of the ancient Province of Frignano! A typical fruit here is the Modena Apennine bilberry, used to make delicious jams, syrups, juices and liqueurs.
The Maggio delle Ragazze (Girls’ Maytime) is an event held every three years on the night of 30 April, one of the oldest and most traditional popular customs that celebrates the return of spring and ensures an abundant harvest.
This village still has the structure and appearance of the old fort with its tower, today a bell tower. Near the centre, the little oratory of the Madonna del Caio with its gable roof houses one of the most important cycles of frescoes from the Apennine Renaissance, dating back to 1516.
Monte 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.
Near Riolunato, the Polle ski station has state-of-the-art ski lifts and slopes of varying difficulty. Keen skiers here have access to a circuit that follows the route of the old ducal Vandelli road, near Cento Croci. If you are interested in skiing, see also:
Consorzio Stazione Invernale del Cimone
Skiinging on Mount Cimone
When to come
Riolunato is one of those places that is perfect any time of year, as it has something different to offer in every season. In winter there is skiing, spring and summer bring lots of different activities such as fishing, excursions, hiking, archery and even canoeing down the River Scotenna