The Gothic Line

From Montefiorino to Belvedere

The Project

The aim of the project is to highlight the history of the partisans led by Armando after the fall of the Montefiorino Liberated Zone; eventually, in autumn 1944, they transferred to the Reno Valley, where they created the Belvedere Liberated Zone and fought alongside the Allies as co-belligerents until the end of the War.

The project involves ten municipalities and their respective museums - Fanano (Modena), Frassinoro (Modena), Lizzano in Belvedere (Bologna), Montecreto (Modena), Montese (Modena), Montefiorino (Modena), Palagano (Modena), Pievepelago (Modena), Sestola (Modena), and Villa Minozzo (Reggio Emilia) - and has been realised in partnership with the Istituto per la storia della Resistenza e della società contemporanea, Modena and the Associazione Linea Gotica - Officina della Memoria, with assistance from the Amici del Museo di Montefiorino, Gruppo culturale Il Trebbo (Montese) and Anpi Alta Valle del Reno associations, and the Museo di Montefiorino, Museo della Comunità di Montecreto, Museo dei Monti della Riva, Museo di Montese and Sistema museale di Iola di Montese museums.
The project has received funding from the Emilia-Romagna Region (Regional Law no. 3 of March 2016: Memoria del Novecento. Promozione e sostegno alle attività di valorizzazione della storia del Novecento in Emilia-Romagna).

See places:

1. Search for a place on the map
2. Click on the Point of Interest
3. Open the place card
4. Select and discover more places

Sassoguidano

After the August battle, Armando regrouped his forces and decided to take on the Germans on the ground he knew best: Sassoguidano, near Pavullo nel Frignano. He positioned his men across the terrain and waited for the German troops to arrive. On the morning of 21 September 1944, the bell of the little church at Sassoguidano rang out to announce the start of the battle. The fighting was fierce, and...

Commemorative column

In March 1944 a formation was in operation in the Apennines above Reggio Emilia including Modena fighters from the Barbolini detachment, lead by Giuseppe, and the Reggio partisans under Riccardo Cocconi "Miro". The first combat with German and Fascist forces took place on 15 March at Cerrè Sologno. The partisans won the day but lost some men; Giuseppe Barbolini, seriously wounded in one arm, temp...

Priest’s house of Father Domenico Orlandini

Father Domenico Orlandini became parish priest at Poiano, his native village, in 1941. After the 8 September Armistice, his home became a point of reference for escaped Allied prisoners, Italian deserters and partisans. His closest associate was Father Pasquino Borghi, and after the latter's arrest, Father Domenico actively enrolled in the resistance, assuming the battle name “Carlo” (a decisi...

Centro culturale “Arrigo Benedetti”

At the end of May 1944, Villa Minozzo, formerly the site of the National Guard headquarters, was occupied by the partisans. In June the Liberated Zone was declared, and the partisan formations from the Provinces of Reggio Emilia and Modena united under Armando's command. Villa Minozzo was chosen as the headquarters of the Reggio Emilia partisans, led by Riccardo Cocconi, “Miro” (commander) and...

Priest’s house of Father Pasquino Borghi

Father Pasquino Borghi, born in 1903, was parish priest at Coriano-Tapignola from the early Forties. After Italy's Armistice with the Allies and the deposing of Mussolini on 8 September 1943, he joined the partisan movement under the name of “Albertario” and the priest's house at Tapignola became a shelter for Allied prisoners, Italian deserters and partisans, making it a key point of referenc...

Monument to the first airdrop

Lama Golese was the location of the Reggio Emilia mountain partisan training camp, and it was here, on the night of 19 May 1944, that the Allies made the first airdrop. Apart from its strategic value, this event was of great political significance: the airdrop of weapons and logistic and medical equipment constituted full recognition of the partisans' guerrilla operations.
The Airdrop and t...

Memorial stone to the fallen

7 January 1945 saw the start of a German assault on the zone under partisan control, in both the Modena and the Reggio Emilia Apennines. The search and round-up operation lasted four days, with a series of skirmishes and fire-fights, especially in and around Novellano. In spite of their serious losses (twenty dead and about forty wounded), the partisans succeeded in withdrawing in good order, and ...

Commemorative complex

After the battle of Cerrè Sologno, the German authorities decided that more systematic repression was needed. On 20 March 1944, assisted by the National Guard stationed at Reggio Emilia, a unit of the Herman Göring division, which had already committed the massacre at Monchio, carried out a search and round-up operation at the hamlets of Civago and Cervarolo, sacking and torching homes. Four men...

Case Cattalini Monument

An infirmary, directed by Dr Luigi De Toffoli, was established at the hamlet of Case Cattalini, north of Civago, in summer 1944. Some of the partisans evacuated from the hospital at Fontanaluccia were transferred there at the end of July, and in mid August it provided shelter and medical care to those wounded in the fighting at Passo delle Forbici on 2 August, when the Germans encountered fierce r...

Primary school at Case Cerbiani

The first partisan hospital in the Liberated Zone was established at Fontanaluccia. A first infirmary was created in the school at Case Cerbiani. It was directed by Dr Gerolamo Andreaoli, an anti-Fascist evacuated to Fontanaluccia. He was aided by Dr Luigi De Toffoli, who was taken prisoner by Armando's partisans and then decided to join the resistance cause. When the August 1944 search and round-...

Liberation Monument

The Germans of the Herman Göring division camped here after the Monchio massacre before moving on to Gazzano and Cervarolo. During the period of the Liberated Zone, the cavalry of the II Division were stationed at Madonna di Pietravolta, under the command of "Il Maresciallo".
Pietravolta is mentioned by Davide in a letter to the Emilia Romagna Command of the Resistance as one of the corner...

II Partisan Division Headquarters

During the time of the summer 1944 Liberated Zone, Piandelagotti was the headquarters of the II Division of the Central Emilian Armed Forces, comprising 800-900 men and commanded by Iris Malagoli, “Mario di Modena”. The Division consisted of partisans who had been with Armando in the Panaro valley and men from the plain. A partisan first aid post was created at Piandelagotti. The town was atta...

Plaque commemorating Giovanni Rossi

In January 1944 Alberto Fini, a common criminal admitted to his band as a guide by Giovanni Rossi, killed a civilian associate of the partisans. A former soldier from Salerno, Ugo Stanzione, received permission to eliminate Fini but was killed by the latter in the attempt; the other partisans reacted by killing Fini. The Modena Communist Federation attempted to remove Rossi from the command of the...

Landing field

During the period of the Liberated Zone in summer 1944, the partisans built a landing field for reconnaissance aircraft at Frassinoro. A parachute battalion of the CIL (Italian Liberation Corps), belonging to the 185th Nembo Regiment, an officer from which had already been parachuted into the area on 26 July, was also supposed to land there on the night of 2 August. However, the start of the Germa...

Monument to the Republic of Montefiorino

After the events at Gusciola, and the search and round-up operations which followed, the local formation led by Teofilo Fontana and Cesario Palandri, “Balin”, took refuge in the small hamlet of Villanova, above Farneta.
Early in June 1944 the Sassuolo partisans led by Giuseppe Barbolini also used Villanova as their base for a short time. Here they managed to recover an allied airdrop an...

Hydroelectric power station, Farneta

The “Romeo Melli” hydroelectric power station was built by the Moglia and Secchia river authority in four years, from 1924 to 1928, and uses the waters of the Dolo and the Dragone, both tributaries of the Secchia. One of the few episodes of social tension against the Fascist regime in the Modena Apennines occurred during the construction of the power station, in 1925, when five hundred workers...

Castello di Farneta

After the search and round-up in August 1944, after their initial disorganised retreat, the Province of Modena partisans regrouped and retained control of some of the territory originally in the Liberated Zone. It was governed by the Mountain National Liberation Committee (CLN), which held its first session on 4 December 1944; the Committee coordinated and encouraged the action of the municipaliti...

Memorial to Tincani and Martelli

In December 1943, the National Guard stationed at Montefiorino set to work to force young fugitives to report for military service with Mussolini's rump Republic. On 23 December a Carabinieri military policeman was killed in a fire-fight with Teofilo Fontana's partisans. The next day, Fascist units carried out search and round-up operations, arresting a young man called Carlo Tincani, amongst othe...

Castle and Museo della Resistenza

From 18 June 1944 the Castle at Montefiorino, previously the town's Republic Guard station, became the unified Headquarters of the partisans from the provinces of Modena and Reggio Emilia who had taken control of the Liberated Zone. The resistance in this area was led by Armando. He was assisted by Commissar Davide (Osvaldo Poppi). The Division's prisons were also in the Castle. At the end of the ...

Monument to Father Sante Bartolai

Father Sante Bartolai was parish priest of Palagano from 1942, with responsibility for the catholic youth movement in the towns and villages of the right Dragone valley. He actively organised and supported the first local partisan bands. Involved in the skirmishes with the Fascists near Savoniero on 9 March, Father Sante decided to stay and care for the injured. This led to his arrest, and he was ...

Buca, Susano

The Marastoni family lived at La Buca, near the village of Susano (Palagano). During the search and round-up which preceded the massacre on 18 March 1944 their home was torched and six people were murdered: Delia Albicini Marastoni, her two sons aged eight and ten, a three-year-old orphan and an elderly couple.
A commemorative plaque recalls the episode, while the ruins of the house and the...

Monument to the Costrignano Brigade

Costrignano is a village near Palagano. Standing between Susano and Monchio, it was caught up in the massacre (LINK: 7. Monchio: Parco Caduti and the monument to the victims of the massacre). After the search and round-up in summer 1944, it became the base of the brigade the same name, led by Filippo Papa. In mid September this formation was involved in the battle of Palaveggio, where several of i...

Parco dei Caduti

Hard hit by the operations of Rossi's "rebels" (LINK: 6. Monchio: Parco della Resistenza, Monte S. Giulia), the Fascists attempted to respond: during the first few months of 1944 Francesco Bocchi, the Commissar in charge at Montefiorino, requested the dispatch of German troops on several occasions. At dawn on 18 March 1944, units of the Herman Göring division, accompanied by Fascist militias, sea...

Parco della Resistenza, Monte Santa Giulia

In November 1943 one of the first groups of partisans headed for the Apennines and came to Monte Santa Giulia at Monchio, Palagano. They were a group of men from Sassuolo led by Giovanni Rossi (LINK: 14. Frassinoro: Plaque commemorating Giovanni Rossi), a former NCO in the army. The Monte Santa Giulia area was to continue to be strategic throughout the story of the resistance in the Modena area; i...

Armando takes charge of the German prisoners at the Castle

On 21 April 1945 the partisans entered Sestola and reached the Castle, where in the meantime other partisans had taken the last German soldiers prisoner: they were young lads, under the command of an elderly sergeant. After arranging the silencing of an American airforce gun that was continually firing on the partisan advance, Armando prepared to march down to Modena. He entered Pavullo and Serram...

The last Partisan offensive: the Monte Lancio ridge

In the American plans, the final phase of operation “Encore”, called “Jump off” was scheduled for mid April 1945. The plan of operations also involved the use of Armando's partisans, who were to start from the Dardagno Valley and take the Monte Lancio ridge, above Fanano. The operation began on 16 April, in association with the partisans from the Costrigano brigade, who were in the mountai...

Partisans at the conquest of Monte Belvedere

The arrival of the American troops of Task Force 45 marked the start of operations for the partisans, who set to work to show what they could do. They made no fewer than three attacks, in association with the Americans, on the German defences on Monte Belvedere: on 29 October, 24-25 November and 12 December. The commander of the Matteotti brigade, Toni Giuriolo, was killed in the December assault.

Liberation of Lizzano in Belvedere and Belvedere Liberated Zone

On 2 October 1944 Armando's partisans set off from Castelluccio to take Lizzano in Belvedere. The Germans were withdrawing towards Vidiciatico and two skirmishes took place nearby, at Bargi and Villaggio Europa. Armando set up his headquarters in the town. On the next day (3 October), the local National Liberation Committee elected Giorgio Biagi as Mayor. After the initial negotiations with the Am...

Long pause at Ca’ Bonucci before passing the Front

On 22 September, Armando's partisans settled at Ca’ Bonucci, near Serrazzone (Fanano). An American historian describes the move as "another retreat into the inhospitable mountains around Lake Pratignano, where the partisans survived for a week on boiled chestnuts and mule meat and faced the first signs of the onset of winter protected only by their summer clothing and broken shoes." One partisan...

Pause at Montespecchio

After the battle at Sassoguidano (Pavullo) on 21 September 1944, Armando's partisans crossed the river and fought off two attempts by the Germans to cut off their route to Montespecchio, the first in the bed of the River Panaro and the second from Montese. Two partisans died in the fighting at Sassoguidano and the Germans killed no fewer than eight civilians there.

Battle of Rocchetta

On 11 August 1944, the German units, assisted by the National Guard, found out about the partisans' movements, crossed the River Scoltenna and attacked them: this was the start of the "Belvedere" search and round-up operation. During this operation no fewer than 11 partisans were killed, 8 of them in the ambush at the Leo Mill, while they were crossing the river. In addition, 3 partisans, includin...

Rendezvous on Monte Penna

Between 2 and 3 August 1944, after retreating from Montefiorino and crossing the Abetone highway (12), Armando's about 800 partisans met up on Monte Penna to regroup. They stayed there for 3 days, then moved to the Sassoguidano area, below Pavullo. Here they heard that the Germans had learnt their location from spies and were preparing to attack. The partisans had no choice but to move into the zo...

Monteacuto delle Alpi

As part of the search and round-up operations organised by the German troops after General Crisolli was killed in an ambush by the partisans, on 16 September 1944 a vast operation was launched in the area around Orsigna (San Marcello Pistoiese). A column climbed up from Monteacuto delle Alpi and managed to locate four Tuscan partisans. In the fighting which followed, one of them died and two were ...

Pianaccio and the partisans

During their move to the Belvedere area (end of September 1944), Armando's partisans stayed here, to eat and rest before setting off the next day, for Castelluccio di Porretta. Pianaccio is also the birthplace of famous journalist Enzo Biagi, a partisan in the Giustizia e Libertà formation and at that time editor of the "Patriot" newspaper.
In 2011 the Local Authority founded the Centro Do...

Lizzano in Belvedere

On 26 June 1944 the local partisans captured a leading member of the local Fascist party and the next day they carried out a sabotage raid close to the town. During the search and round-up operation which the Germans organised on 27 June, they were engaged in a skirmish with the partisans. Most of the formation managed to withdraw, while two partisans stayed in position to cover their comrades' re...

Villa Faccetta Nera

It was in this house that Armando established his Command Post in autumn 1944, after the local partisans had occupied the town on 2 October 1944. The first town council was established in the nearby Town Hall, and the former sanatorium became the partisan hospital, treating all those wounded in military operations. The Farneti hotel, facing the pinewood by the church, became the base of the Oss (O...

Lizzano in Belvedere

On 12 August 1944, during the "Belvedere" search and round-up operation, two partisans were found and captured by the German soldiers on the bed of the River Silla (they were exhausted after their long marches through the mountains). After interrogating them and condemning them to death, the Germans paraded them through the town to the pinewood below the church. After making them dig their own gra...

Vidiciatico

After occupying Lizzano in Belvedere and establishing the Belvedere Liberated Area, on 16 October 1944 Armando's partisans decided to liberate Vidiciatico as well. In the short fight to take the town, a civilian was killed. The Germans attempted to retake the town several times (for the last time on 28 October), but to no avail. The town was also the starting point for the various attempts to take...

Ca’ Berna

On 27 September 1944, when a German unit descending from the ridge at Lake Scaffaiolo reached Ca’ Berna a volley of 12 shots were fired at it by three partisans, although none of the troops was wounded. Even though his unit suffered no losses, the commandant ordered a reprisal in which 29 people were killed. In the evening, the unit reached Vidiciatico, where it rounded up a large number of host...

Poggiolforato in the Dardagna Valley

The "Bozzi" partisan formation, of men from the Pistoia area, was founded at Poggiolforato in autumn 1943. The valley of the River Dardagna also saw the formation of the groups, called “Pisacane”, “Ca’ Berna” (later the 63rd “Bolero”), “Slit”, “Toti” and others.
This area was also involved in the Ca' Berna massacre. When the Germans came into the village, they rounded ...

Ca’ di Julio

Just before the attack on the Monti della Riva, or Riva Ridge, the American mountain troops of B Company, belonging to the first battalion of the 86th regiment of the 10th Mountain Division, sheltered in the homes of the families of this hamlet, and at Pianacci. On the night of 18 February 1945, the soldiers began the long climb up the steep path to Monte Cappel Buso, guided by local people, some ...

Querciola and the Gothic Line

Querciola was on the part of the Gothic Line running from Riva Ridge to Monte Belvedere. All the attacks launched on the summit of Belvedere by Armando's partisans and the American mountain troops passed through here. On 28 September 1944 the German column responsible for the Ca' Berna massacre also passed through Querciola on its way to Ronchidoso, and a young man was surprised and killed.
...

Monte Belvedere

Monte Belvedere was the main stronghold on the second line of defences within the Gothic Line which, in the Apennine area on the border between the provinces of Modena and Bologna, extended along the ridges to Vergato, dominating the Reno Valley and above all highway 64. It was here that, after establishing the Liberated Zone and the Modena Armando Division, Armando's partisans provided the Allies...

Castelluccio di Moscheda

During spring 1944 the woodlands around the village of Castelluccio initially offered refuge to young men fleeing conscription, after which, in the summer, the Germans arrived and began to build the first secondary defences in the area of the Gothic Line. Between 30 September and 1 October 1944 Castelluccio was also caught up in the Ronchidoso massacre, when three young men, one of them a partisan...

Ronchidoso

The local Giustizia e Libertà partisan brigade was founded in the buildings adjoining the chapel (dedicated to emigrants from the area) in June 1944. In autumn 1944, when the German unit which had massacred civilians at Ca' Berna reached the area (28 September), some shots were fired at the troops by a partisan and one soldier was injured. Between 28 and 30 September that same unit, probably assi...

Monte della Torraccia

In the first phase of Operation Encore, after bloody combat the Americans of the 10th Mountain Division, with air and artillery support, took the summit of Monte della Torraccia in the afternoon of 24 February 1945. Some remains of the fortifications of the second line of the German Gothic Line defensive system, of which Monte della Torraccia was one of the strategic heights, are still visible tod...

Iola di Montese and the Museo di Iola Memorie d’Italia

Subdivided into sixteen rooms on different themes, arranged on three floors with a total area of about 600 m2, the History Museum at Iola, near Montese, offers an intriguing insight into the daily lives of both civilians (collection of items from the local area) and soldiers during the War years. The “Memorie d’Italia” houses an impressive display of equipment, including photographs and vari...

Lastra Bianca and Montello

This area was an important German defensive position on the north-western slopes of the Apennines, within the third line of the Gothic Line system. Monte Buffone and the surrounding heights were also part of this stronghold.
The main fortifications, which have been cleared and are accessible to visitors, are next to the rocky cliffs of Lastra Bianca, on the northern slopes of Monte Montello...

Montese and its Museo storico

The town's medieval castle houses the History Museum of Montese, dedicated to historic settlements in the area and the local culture. The largest section covers the 2nd World War and the fighting on the Gothic Line nearby. The main room, in particular, houses showcases and display cases containing objects and clothing issued to the soldiers, as well as finds from the area. A special area is dedica...

Trignano

On 24 September 1944 the Germans captured seven men near Pistoia, forced them to carry munitions to Montese and then released them. The seven men, relieved to have got away, stayed together and headed towards Trignano, intending to cross the watershed ridge by way of the valley of Ospitale, which was considered safer. However, when they reached the outskirts of Trignano they came across a group of...

Pizzo di Campiano

During the night between 18 and 19 February 1945, in accordance with the plan for Operation Encore the American troops of A Company of the 86th Regiment of the 10th Mountain Division attacked this German stronghold, but encountered much stronger resistance than they had been led to expect. Therefore, on the evening of 19 February B company, which had occupied Monte Cappel Buso, had to move to Pizz...

Monte Serrasiccia

In his memoires, Brazilian General João Batista Mascarenhas de Moraes, Commander in Chief of the FEB (Força Expedicionária Brasileira), states that Monte Serrassiccia was the highest point defended by the Brazilian troops. Early in March 1945, the Brazilian forces relieved the American mountain troops and took over the defence of this position together with Armando's partisans. The Germans atta...

Capanna Tassoni

On 16 May 1944 Armando's partisans occupied Fanano, set fire to the Fascist headquarters, destroyed the conscription lists at the town registry office, and took wheat and cheese from the official stores and distributed some of it to the townspeople. They also emptied the coffers of the bank and the post office before taking eight hostages, including a woman and the town's Fascist ruling council, i...

Monument at Villaggio Artigiano

On 25 August 1944, twenty-three men were taken prisoner in a search and round-up operation at Monzone (Pavullo nel Frignano) and, after being paraded through the streets of Pavullo, were transferred to Fanano. On 30 August, five partisans from Pavullo were taken to what is now the Fanano industrial estate and lined up on the edge of the escarpment, then shot. One managed to escape by throwing hims...

Monument at Carbonile

During the fighting at Rocchetta-Trentino on 11-12 August 1944 arising from the "Belvedere" search and round-up operation, four partisans were captured and taken to Fanano for interrogation. They were hanged at Carbonile and their bodies left exposed as a warning. It is believed that these partisans were using false names, and all attempts to trace their families have been in vain. On 12 August se...

Parco Resistenza

On 20 April 1945, the Folloni Brigade of the Modena Armando Division entered the town unopposed. The Germans had withdrawn, blowing up the cliff above the main road to block the road to vehicles. A few days after the partisans, the African-American infantry of the 92nd American "Buffalo" division passed through the town heading for Sestola and Pavullo. The people of Fanano were amazed to see that ...

Fanano

On 10 April 1944, Easter Monday, Armando's partisans occupied Fanano and attacked the Carabinieri barracks, where there were also eight members of Mussolini's National Guard. After a fight lasting about twenty minutes, the partisans broke into the barracks, immobilised the Carabinieri and guardsmen and took away clothing, documents, weapons and ammunition. The National Guardsmen were stripped to t...

Serretta di Canevare

On 9 October 1944, Fernando Turchi (“Bocca”), deputy commander of the Fanano formation, decided to attempt to reach Armando, thinking that he was still in the Pratignano area. He joined some friends in Fanano and set out, but they were stopped and arrested just below the town. Taken before the German command, they were interrogated and shortly afterwards the others were released, but Turchi wa...

Sestola

The Castle at Sestola houses two museums. The first, in what was once the Palazzo del Governo, or Governor's Quarters, dedicated to Mechanical musical instruments, contains 120 mechanical musical instruments built from the early 17C to the present day. Many of the instruments on show are in working order and can be heard during guided visits. The second museum, of Mountain Life, is in the top part...

Corso Libertà

During the first phase of Operation Encore, while the American mountain troops were mounting their attack on Riva Ridge, allied aircraft bombed Fanano, Sestola and Pavullo. On 20 February 1945, at around eight o'clock in the morning, two bombs dropped by the fighter-bombers killed three women and a man, and the next day another woman, an evacuee from Prato, was killed.

Sestola

On 17 June 1944 the partisans of the local formation known as “Tommasino's" unit occupied the town of Sestola and disarmed the National Guard station in the Castle; they then destroyed the Fascist headquarters and appointed a young lad as Mayor instead of the old Fascist "Podestà" During the second ten days of June the partisans asked the soldiers they had captured to desert and join their rank...

Roncoscaglia

The hostages captured in Sestola on the morning of 4 July 1944 reached the bridge known as “del Prete” (the Priest's bridge), which the partisans had blown up on 20 June. The Germans made the hostages get off the truck and repair the bridge. Amongst them was Father Crovetti, who had managed to escape the search in Sestola but who had given himself up when the word reached him that if he did no...

Monte Penna at Acquaria

After attacking the airport at Pavullo and carrying off machine guns from the planes in the hangar, Armando's partisan formation retreated to Monte Penna at Acquaria; the group also included the partisans from the "Bozzi" formation, from Pistoia. Armando chose Monte Penna because from the summit there is a good view of all its slopes and surroundings. On the morning of 28 April, a German column le...

The Lastranera copper mines

The native copper mines near Ca’ Marsilio and Ca’ Gabriele were worked mainly during the Second World War. In 1939, 22 men were employed there, mining about 500 tons of material. A year later, the mines were taken over by a new company, which sunk new shafts and extended the tunnels, increasing output. In 1942 the business was sold to Fiat. During the War years, the zone became the operations ...

Strettara hydroelectric power station

Built between 1917 and 1920 near the historic Strettara bridge, it houses two 6,000 HP turbines generating a total power of 6 MW. It is supplied by the Riolunato reservoir. A witness recalls that early in April 1945, German soldiers called at the nearby homes and warned the residents to open their windows because there was going to be a "big boom”; shortly afterwards, an explosion demolished the...

San Domenico Monastery

The parish priest of Montecreto, Father Ercole Bertolani, is remembered for his efforts to protect his parishioners from the effects for the war and for saving several Jews. In spring 1944 he concealed Jewish refugees from Sestola in the monastery, and lodged four more, natives of the former Yugoslavia, with the family which lived at Ca’ Borra. Father Bertolani not only provided the refugees wit...

Museo della Comunità “La Casa dei Leoni di Pietra”

The Montecreto Community Museum, opened in 2012 but officially inaugurated in 2014, houses the “Frignano in guerra 1943-45” exhibition, a large, fascinating collection of items relating to the Second World War donated by local people. The Museum also contains the originals of the two lions on the Strettara bridge, as well as two permanent exhibitions: “Le pietre iscritte di Rovinamala” on ...

Marina di Magrignana

This small hamlet at the foot of Monte Cimone was constantly a key location, both for the partisans and for the retreating Germans. Armando's partisans passed through here at the end of May 1944 after the battle at Capanna Tassoni. More partisans came this way after the retreat from Montefiorino (August 1944); after crossing the main Via Giardini at Groppo (Riolunato), they continued to the town o...

The Cerreta monument

In the two attacks on two German vehicles at Cerreta, on the via Giardini (25 and 26 June 1944), the partisans killed one soldier and injured another. On the afternoon of 26 June, the Felgendarmerie organised a round-up operation to take hostages to carry their weapons and ammunition in preparation for the attack they were planning against Piandelagotti, occupied by the partisans. The German colum...

Sant’Andrea Pelago

Father Antonio Galli's diary entry for 28 July 1944 reads: “Two of the four anti-aircraft batteries to be positioned up here have arrived: one has been installed at Lazze, above Modino […] and the other at Pianagrande, above Sant’Andrea Pelago. Each battery consists of four 88 millimetre guns and four twenty millimetre machine guns." On 27 October one of the two Sant’Andrea Pelago anti-air...

Pievepelago

In mid June 1944, a unit of the Feldgendarmerie (2./Einsatz-Kommando Oberführer SS Bürger) took over the town's former Carabinieri station, while eight soldiers were posted to Sant’Andrea Pelago, taking turns to guard the Tavernaro Bridge (on the main via Giardini road). The bridge had been blown up by partisans and patched up a few days earlier. The unit took part in all the search and round-...

Ponte Modino

In April 1945, preparing to withdraw, the Germans set charges on all the bridges, and on 20 April they blew up the hydroelectric power station at Sagradino (San Michele). The bridges were saved by Mons. Luigi Bernardi, who managed to persuade the German soldier assigned to blow them up to set off a heap of bullets instead of the charges of dynamite. A few days later the same soldier deserted and j...

Museo delle mummie

The Museum, housed in the Castle, contains about four hundred mummified bodies found in the crypt of the Church of San Paolo in 2011. It also includes the exhibition “Sulle orme di Obizzo da Montegarullo. Assalti ai castelli del Frignano nella cronica di Giovanni Sercambi (1392 - 1396)”, with an account of warfare in the local area in the late 14C.

Sant’Annapelago

On 30 July 1944 the Germans began preparations for their attack on the Montefiorino Liberated Zone, approaching it from two directions, from Sassuolo, and also from Pievepelago, where the aim was to occupy Sant’Annapelago and proceed towards Piandelagotti to take out the partisan defences just above Cadagnolo and Ca’ Marmocchio, and also at Medolo di Roccapelago. The Germans positioned artille...

The memorial of Faggiaccia

On 11 November 1944, at La Faggiaccia on the way to the Saltello Pass, three German other ranks surprised five women on their way back from Tuscany, and after a short exchange of words they killed them in cold blood. The women's bodies, hurriedly buried, were exhumed in July 1946. In the exhumation report, the Carabinieri police record that the women had gone to Tuscany either to visit their husba...

Montefiorino Castle

On 18 June 1944, the partisans led by Armando (Mario Ricci) occupied the Castle and created the Montefiorino Liberated Zone, one of the most important episodes of this kind during the Italian partisan struggle. For the first time after a twenty-year dictatorship, the people of the seven municipalities (Frassinoro, Montefiorino, Palagano, Polinago and Prignano in the province of Modena and Ligonchi...

EXPLORE TOURS

EXPLORE THE THEMED TOURS OF THE POINTS OF INTEREST

Armando’s Tour

See more

The Gothic Line

See more

Montefiorino Free Zone

See more

01/10

Battle of Rocchetta

On 11 August 1944, the German units, assisted by the National Guard, found out about the partisans' movements, crossed the River Scoltenna and attacked them: this was the start of the "Belvedere" search and round-up operation. During this operation no fewer than 11 partisans were killed, 8 of them in the ambush at the Leo Mill, while they were crossing the river. In addition, 3 partisans, includin...

See more

Armando takes charge of the German prisoners at the Castle

On 21 April 1945 the partisans entered Sestola and reached the Castle, where in the meantime other partisans had taken the last German soldiers prisoner: they were young lads, under the command of an elderly sergeant. After arranging the silencing of an American airforce gun that was continually firing on the partisan advance, Armando prepared to march down to Modena. He entered Pavullo and Serram...

See more

Case Cattalini Monument

An infirmary, directed by Dr Luigi De Toffoli, was established at the hamlet of Case Cattalini, north of Civago, in summer 1944. Some of the partisans evacuated from the hospital at Fontanaluccia were transferred there at the end of July, and in mid August it provided shelter and medical care to those wounded in the fighting at Passo delle Forbici on 2 August, when the Germans encountered fierce r...

See more

THE TECHNOLOGICAL PROJECT

The technological project, undertaken in association with SmartFactory, involved the creation of an app for free download from App Stores in both iOS and Android versions, using the innovative iBeacon technology which transforms users' devices into multimedia audio guides. 10 beacons, tiny low-cost, low-energy Bluetooth transmitters, have been installed along the section of the Gothic Line covered, to provide a smart, interactive visitor experience.

Project's Partners

Regione Emilia-Romagna

enERgie diffuse

Comune di Fanano

Comune di Frassinoro

Comune di Lizzano in Belvedere

Comune di Montecreto

Comune di Montefiorino

Comune di Montese

Comune di Palagano

Comune di Pievepelago

Comune di Sestola

Comune di Villa Minozzo

Download the App