Things to see & do when you are here
The Bismantova Rock
This is a spectacular limestone rock which rises about 1,000m above sea level and dominates the landscape. It is spectacularly beautiful and you can climb to the top in 20 minutes. The top is flat, about 1 km square with 360' views of the surrounding landscape . Mentioned by Dante and with an ancient little church built into the rock it is a 'must see' when you are here.
The little ski resort of Febbio is 20 minutes away, and from there you can take the chair lift up to Monte Cusna . At 2121m you are main on the ridge of the Appennino with stunning views over Tuscany in one direction and Emilia Romagna in the other. The chair lifts are open in the summer also in the evening to see the stars from this wonderful location.
In the Winter it is open for all sorts of snow sports or just to enjoy the experience of the stunning views.
Rock pools and waterfall
Not far from the house there are a series of rock pools and the 15 m "Cascada di Golfarone" waterfall.
This is an idyllic location to sketch have a cool dip in a summers' day.
Villa Minozzo is a market town is only 15 minutes walk from Casa Appennino. The amenities are first class and it has everything you could want from an Italian town, especially on market day which is Thursday. There are bars and supermarkets, restaurants, and a beautiful open air swimming pool, and a sports centre. There are many festa's here, all summer long, from choirs to impromptu singing evenings, food festivals, dancing, and so on. There is always something you can join in with the local Italians.
Villa Minozzo also has many murals throughout the town which makes it very 'arty'.
Villa Minozzo is famous for having kept alive the tradition of 'Maggio' a particular form of dramatic folk art spoken and sung in a local dialect (July and August).
We can organise walks as part of your holiday. There are many beautiful walks from the house, and there are many other way-marked routes to explore. Some offer dramatic mountain views and others follow routes of geological interest, botanical interest or even to places of historical interest. We can go as a little group or else we can give you maps and guidebooks if you prefer to explore on your own.
If you are learning the Italian language there are plenty of opportunities for you to practice. Talking to the neighbours, visiting the shops and market, going to the gelateria or bars.... everyone is very friendly.
A local family run restaurant which is famous in the area for it's traditional recipes now offers cookery lessons for our guests. This is a great opportunity to learn Italian dishes from this particular area. This is a unique Italian culinary cultural experience. Due Pini Ristorante
National Park of the Giant
This national Park is one of the greatest successes in Italy, having protected the environment so that there is an abundance of natural flora and fauna. Man and nature live in sympathy with each other. The orchards, vegetable gardens, fields and vineyards are carefully husbanded. Woods are coppiced and there are many wild animals and birds to be seen. Deer, wild boar, wolves, roe, butterflies, dragonflies, fireflies in June, and many types of birds. There is also an abundance of wild flowers virtually all year round. It is a nature lover's paradise!
There are many way marked paths for you to explore, including from the house.
We can thoroughly recommend going horse trekking with a local stables.
They will take you around the glorious countryside on their beautiful horses.
CLIMBING AND VIA FERRATA
For the more adventurous perhaps.....The Bismantova mountain has a dramatic south facing rock face
with over 200 bolted routes which offers climbers an amazing 'playground' with wonderful views.
There are also a few 'Via Ferrata' nearby and we have equipment if you wish to try these.
There is a local company with English speaking guides which can take you to try climbing, the Via Ferrata or gorge walking.
City Day Trips
It is sometimes possible to organise day trips to Florence, Pisa, Parma, Bologna, Modena, Mantova or other famous Italian cities. It does depend on a driver being available and would involve a whole day away.
World War 2
During the war this area was particularly strong with the Partisan resistance to the Nazi's - and the locals still tell tales of those times. There is a museum in Villa Minozzo which chronicles the events of WW2 and there are many monuments to the bravery of the partisans and the locals who were killed in reprisals.
There are festa's every weekend from Spring through to Autumn, and then regularly through the Winter too. Music, Dancing, the Fiat 500 rally, and always, always, food and wines!
You might be interested in exploring some of the many castles of Matilda Di Canossa. Her story is fascinating in that she was a famous female ruler of vast lands in the 16th century (check). She fought with her armies on behalf of the then Pope Gregory. She and Pope Gregory VII instigated great changes for the Catholic and church, and she is remembered with a large sculpture in St Peters in The Vatican.
'Settimana Bianca' (Snow Week) is the name of the traditional Italian winter holiday. We have often gone on a 'ski holiday' in which not everyone skis, so we really like the idea of 'snow week'. You can ski, snow-board, cross-country ski, sledge, build snow-men, go on snow shoes, walk, take beautiful photos, or just chill out in front of the wood burning stove with a good book and a glass of wine.
In August the clear nights and unpolluted skies make it easy to see the shooting stars of the Perseid at night. They are called the 'Tears of Saint Lawrence' here in Italy, and the frequency of sightings increases until the 10 -12th August when you can see (on average) one per minute .