Monte Adone and the Gothic Line

Generale Lanfranco Roccetti Ex Comandante Gruppo Speciale AUC

Monte Adone. Six hundred and fifty-five metres high and rock towers shaped by nature and history. A mythological name for a natural fortress which is visited today by numerous tourists and represents one of the last defensive lines of the Gothic Line. It is also the mountainous massif, the highest of the Contrafforte Pliocenica, a protected area covering a nature reserve of around 800 hectares around Bologna, which is in fact its protective bastion. A little ride through Val di Zena, going towards the villages of Monzuno, Pianoro and Sasso Marconi, to enjoy a striking view featured by rocky outcrops of sandstone. Places filled with beauty to such an extent that the ancient Roman road crossing them, connecting Bologna to Florence, is called the Way of Gods (Via degli Dei). The trenches dug by the German army in the Second World War are still visible along this road. In fact, Monte Adone is located right on the Way of Gods and along the Gothic Line, the defensive system designed by Germans, after the landing of the Allies in Sicily, to maintain control of the Po Valley. From Massa Carrara to Pesaro, they built a bulwark of posts to defend this strategic area close to the Brenner pass, from where the US military could have accessed Central Europe. From Bologna, there are only a few kilometres to the town of Brento, located at the foot of Monte Adone, travelling along via Toscana to Rastignano, continuing along the valley floor and climbing towards a curvy road. Once parked in Brento, it is easy to walk a few hundred meters to reach Monte Adone. Its spectacular walls bear the marks of the passage of Germans, and of Americans who conquered the summit on April 18, 1945. 


Monte Adone summit - Bologna, picture by Giampaolo Zaniboni

Free climbing enthusiasts, in all seasons, climb on the rocky walls, which have become the favourite place for the amateurs of this sport. The highest summit in the area of Sasso Marconi, the bastion of Monte Adone consists of rock towers made of sandstone, cut by caves and canyons. Its thousand-year-old ravines, in addition to preserving the legend of enchanted places such as the Cave of the Fairies, it was there that, at the end of the Second World War, German troops were attacked by the Americans. In October 1944 the Allied Forces' advance, led by General Clark, came to these territories. At dawn on October 18, 1944, despite the numerous losses suffered by the German counterattack, the Allies conquered the village of Zena and the Cima di Monte della Vigna. The German defence, positioned on Monte Adone, resisted to the point of exhaustion, making the area the scene of heinous battles where, unfortunately, many American soldiers found death. On April 18, 1945, the 91st Division of the American army conquered the outpost of Monte Adone, opening the way into Bologna. On its summit, the flag with stars and stripes waved and, today, the church rebuilt in the nearby town of Badolo still has some of its original walls in the lower part of its facade which, at the time, underwent numerous bombings. The indelible scars of these places remind us of a terrible past which should be to man a reminder to prevent the recurrence of cruelty, horrors and wars.


Previous | Next


Beyond celebrations

Current Events