by Maria E. Bellini
You may well wonder what trail running has in common with the luxury world of the legendary, blazing Ferrari super cars and that of bubbly Italian Lambrusco red wine?
One word: Location!
The city of Modena, its surrounding countryside along with nearby hills and mountains is home not only to the iconic Ferrara, but also to the cheery Lambrusco wine and… a host of well kept trails.
Located in Emilia-Romagna one of Italy’s 20 regions. The district of Modena has a lively trail running scene with some exceptionally well organised trail races, together with a trail running race circuit that takes in some of the most scenic routes in the region’s Parks; the Circuito dei Parchi.
We bring you 4 top trail running events in Modena’s Apennines together with plenty of great activities to enjoy in the area.
April – Trail della Riva
Where: Roccamalatina, Modena, Emilia-Romagna
Be prepared to be enchanted! The Trail della Riva offers a race route that takes runners through an area famed for its fascinating ghoulish rock formations large troll like pinnacles of sandstone that are dotted throughout thick forests.
34km 2000m D+ and 20km 1000m D+
May – Marcia dei Tori
Where: Fanano, Modena – Emilia-Romagna, Italy
A short, dramatic course, the Marcia dei Tori translates literally to “the march of the bulls”, a name which originated when one of the RDs whilst scouting the race route, announced that ‘only a bull’ could possibly ‘run’ up and along the highest part of the race route: Mount Spigolino!
21km 1100m D+ and 13km 700m D+
July – Cima Tauffi Trail
Where: Fanano, Modena, Emilia-Romagna
The Cima Tauffi Trail takes place in the Parco del Frignano, in Modena’s high Apennine mountains, dominated by Monte Cimone. With some incredible views to be enjoyed reaching all the way towards both the Adriatic sea to the east and towards Tuscany and the Mediterranean towards the west.
60km 4000m max altitude 2165m and 35km 2000m D+ and 12km 450m D+
October – Lago Santo Modenese
Where: Pievepelago, Modena, Emilia-Romagna Italy
Warm rich autumn colours set the backdrop for the visual delight that is the Lago Santo Trail. It takes place high up in the Modena Apennines, bordering with Tuscany.
22km 1500m D+ and 8,5km 400m D+
So what else can you do in Modena and its surrounding area? Plenty!
These are our top 7 must-sees!
#1 Experiment with Balsamic Vinegar
This world famous yummy vinegar has its roots firmly set in Modena’s Spilamberto area.
Going well beyond ‘salad’ the distinctive tasting vinegar is drizzled on all sorts of food from Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, to strawberries and even ice cream – and more! Visit the Balsamic Vinegar Museum dedicated to this delicious delight in Spilamberto.
#2 Feel the Fire of Flaming Ferraris
Who hasn’t dreamed of revving up the engine of a shiny Testa Rossa Ferrari! At Maranello’s Ferrari Experience Museums you can dive into the heady world of the F1 supercar that has fascinated generations both on and off the race tracks from all corners of the globe.
#3 Fizz-up with some Lambrusco wine
Made from the Lambrusco grape, this sparkling red wine comes in three major varieties, ranging in depth of colour and taste with graded levels of sweetness to tart. Enjoy a bottle of Lambrusco in one of the area’s many trattoria, perhaps with a dish of Tigelle, rounds of dough cooked in a unique griddle, or deep fried dough rectangles, Gnocco fritto, both served with tasty cured hams and cheeses.
#4 Take sides in the Tortellini War!
Do Tortellini come from Modena, Bologna, or Castelfranco Emilia? All these towns passionately contend to be the best tortellini makers and also claim to have produced the recipes origins. Try them in all towns and decide which ones you like best!
#5 Tune in to Luciano Pavarotti
The voice that moved a million opera lovers… Luciano Pavarotti was from Modena. Visit the Casa Luciano Pavarotti Museum, to discover more about the life of one of Italy’s greatest operatic tenors.
#6 Rock on with Vasco Rossi
Vasco Rossi is one of Italy’s best loved rock stars. Born in the small mountain village of Zocca in Modena’s Apennines, Vasco or “Il Blasco” as he’s often known, went on to record over 30 albums, and staged a concert, in home town Modena in 2017 to a massive 220,000 spectators…
#7 Ghirlandina Tower
The Unesco Ghirlandina Belltower in Modena’s historic city centre is considered to by one of the cultural and architectural symbols of Modena, alongside the Romanesque Cathedral and Piazza Grande, Modena’s main square.
Maria Elisabetta Bellini is Italyontrail.com’s founder, born in the U.K, she came to running whilst living in Italy, where she still lives and trains. Never ceasing to marvel at what’s at the summit of a hill, or around the bend along the trail, she loves using trail running as a means to explore nature, contemplation and Italy.