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Mater Dei

The “Via Mater Dei” is a hike of about 135 km divided into 6 legs going from Bologna to the peaks of the Apennines dedicated to Marian Sanctuaries. The trail crosses seven municipalities situated along the Bolognese Apennines: Pianoro, Loiano, Monghidoro, San Benedetto Val di Sambro, Castiglione dei Pepoli, Camugnano, Grizzana Morandi and Firenzuola in Tuscany.

The Sancturaries involved are:

- Santa Maria della Vita (Bologna)
- Santuario della Beata Vergine di San Luca (Bologna)
- S. Maria di Zena/Santuario del Monte delle Formiche (Pianoro)
- Santuario della Madonna di Lourdes/Campeggio (Monghidoro)
- Santuario della Madonna dei Boschi (Monghidoro)
- Santuario della Madonna di Pompei/Piamaggio (Monghidoro)
- Santuario della Madonna della Neve/Madonna dei Fornelli (San Benedetto Val di Sambro)
- Santuario della Beata Vergine delle Grazie/Boccadirio (Castiglione dei Pepoli)
- Santuario della Beata Vergine della Consolazione/Montovolo (Grizzana Morandi)
- Santuario della Serra di Ripoli (San Benedetto Val di Sambro

The legs:

1st leg: Bologna - Rastignano (Pianoro)
2nd leg: Rastignano - Barbarolo (Loiano)
3rd leg: Barbarolo - Madonna dei Fornelli (San Benedetto Val di Sambro)
4th leg: Madonna dei Fornelli - Boccadirio (Castiglione dei Pepoli)
5th leg: Boccadirio - Montovolo (Grizzana Morandi)
6th leg: Montovolo - Ripoli (San Benedetto Val di Sambro)

The trail starts from the church of Santa Maria della Vita (Bologna) and continues to the Sanctuary of San Luca. From there the path crosses the Savena valley, passing through Rastignano-Pianoro, then reaching Santa Maria di Zena, the sanctuary of Monte delle Formiche. From Monte delle Formiche, crossing the Zena Valley, the trail reaches Barbarolo and its ancient parish church, followed by the Sanctuaries of Campeggio, Madonna dei Boschi and Piamaggio, all three in the municipality of Monghidoro. From Monghidoro the path drops down towards the Savena Valley, running along the Lake of Castel dell'Alpi and on to the Sanctuary of Madonna della Neve in the town of Madonna dei Fornelli. From Madonna dei Fornelli hikers can continue to the Boccadirio Sanctuary passing over the stone slabs of the Ancient Flaminia Military Roman Road (187 BC), in Tuscany. From the sanctuary located in the municipality of Castiglione dei Pepoli, the trail crosses the Setta Valley to reach the Sanctuary of Montovolo and then returns to the town of San Benedetto for the last leg, the Sanctuary of Ripoli with the railway station of San Benedetto Val di Sambro on the Bologna-Florence direct line, which is a strategic point for travelling back to the two cities.

This is a project supported by the Tourist Destination and the Metropolitan City of Bologna, the Curia of Bologna, the Union of Municipalities of the Bolognese Apennines, the Savena Idice Union and managed by Foiatonda Cooperative Community. 

 

Chiesa di Santa Maria della Vita

Chiesa di Santa Maria della Vita

The monumental site of Santa Maria della Vita is the most important example of Baroque architecture in Bologna. It includes the Sanctuary, which houses the famous terracotta sculptures "Compianto sul Cristo Morto" by Niccolò dell’Arca, the Oratorio dei Battuti, and the Museum of Health. Santa Maria della Vita is part of  Genus Bononiae. Musei nella Città.

Santuario di San Luca

Santuario di San Luca

One of the symbols of Bologna: it’s a traditional place of worship because of the Virgin of St. Luke painting behind the altar;  it is also the reassuring visual landmark for Bolognesi returning home.

Monte delle Formiche

Monte delle Formiche

Monte delle Formiche is about 30 km south of Bologna and is the highest peak within the Pianoro municipal territory. Its name derives from a particular phenomenon: every year, swarms of male winged ants migrate to this summit to complete their nuptial flight.

Flaminia Militare

Flaminia Militare

A beatiful hike in an uncontaminated environment rife with historical importance: the road, indeed, was constructed more than 2,000 years ago