The ‘Via della Lana e della Seta‘, or Wool and Silk Road, is a hiking trail that connects Bologna, in Emilia Romagna, and Prato, in Tuscany, two cities bonded by their productive history. Bologna is the city of the Lock and canals as well as centuries’ old silk capital, Prato is the capital of wool and of the textile district.

The 130 km itinerary, that can be covered on foot in 6 or more days, leads to the discovery of the two towns in connects and of the enchanting Apennines territory and its wealth of traditions, cultural heritage, art, and memories of the ancient manufacturing activity.

Dedicated to walkers, even amateur ones and families, looking for itineraries that can be traveled in all seasons, the Wool and Silk Road has recently been reopened along paths signaled by Club Alpino Italiano that touch the mountain peaks without ever exceeding 1,000 meters in height. It can be traveled from the Chiusa di Casalecchio di Reno – built between the 10th and 11th century almost halfway along the Reno River and renovated in the mid-14th century and declared by UNESCO a “Heritage to Promote a Culture of Peace for the Young Generations” – to Cavalciotto – beautiful example of industrial archaeology complex dating back to the 11th century, it is a fundamental component of the Prato water system: 53 km of millstreams that cross the entire territory and flow into the Ombrone river.

About 20 km from the beginning of the trail, in Sasso Marconi, there is the imposing 16th-century Palazzo De ‘Rossi complex and the Ponte di Vizzano, a suspended bridge rebuilt in 1949 and connecting the two banks of the Reno river. The next stage leads to Grizzana Morandi, where there is the Giorgio Morandi house-museum, to continue to Castiglione dei Pepoli, with its recently restored historic center and the nearby Santuario di Bocca di Rio. Subsequently, the Road enters Tuscany and reaches the suggestive village of Vernio, with the Memorial Park of the Gothic Line, and then continue towards Vaiano and the splendid Badia di San Salvatore, founded in 1073 by Cluniac Benedictine monks. After crossing the Calvana limestone massif, with its many caves, sinkholes, and springs, the path arrives in Prato and in particular in Cavalciotto.

Ilona Catani Scarlett

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