The Jump Off is a 90km route that starts in Bologna and climbs the ridges drawn by three streams: Samoggia, Lavino and the smaller Venola. The Jump Off is primarily about the military operation in this sector of the Gothic Line, which took place on April 14, 1945. The “jump off” invades the entire ridge from the towns of Montese and Vergato, and is just one of several maneuvers of Operation Craftsman. The battle lines changed names as the German front fell back under fire from the 10th Mountain Division.
The Pradole Pass-or the Pradole Cross-is one of the symbolic places of the Emilian resistance. Not only does it mark the border between Monte San Pietro and Valsamoggia, but it introduces us to the mountain province of Modena, made very clear by the great mass of Mount Cimone, which shows all its 2,250 meters of tranquility.
For locals we are in more than familiar territory, where any budding cyclist has tackled his or her first real climbs. Once the stride becomes more confident in Val di Zena, it is Ca’ Bortolani that becomes the gym for the more challenging climbs. Time to catch our breath and we soar through the small valleys that show a landscape into which we do not hesitate to dive.
We follow the entire ridge by threading Via delle Serre, a beautiful road that rides the entire ridge of Monte Mosca between centuries-old chestnut trees and lavender fields. This section of the trail is a real surprise, and it is worth taking a break to admire the wide view of the mountains in front of us; from the Reno valley down to the Setta valley, the panorama is completed with the snow-capped peaks of the highest Emilian mountains rising in the background.
Points of interest
Cross of the Pradole
On the border between the municipalities of Monte San Pietro and Valsamoggia stands a memorial stone in memory of the civilian casualties of Summer 1944 who lost their lives under the bombing or during the roundups in that phase of the war that we know well here under the name Gothic Line. The Lavino stream also originates here and is one of the points touched by the Piccola Cassia, which reaches Pistoia from Bologna.
This is one of the main heights dividing the Lavino territory from the Reno valley. During World War II it was the site of several armed clashes by partisans and Americans on one side and Germans and Republicans on the other. In particular, the partisan group Stella Rossa, well known and feared on the hills of Monte Sole, but equally aggressive on Monte Vignola, operated strongly here.
Via dei Brentatori
Near San Lorenzo in Collina we will cross part of the complete route of the Brentatori; a road system that was used to bring wine from the hills to the city.
Via delle Gardelline
Historic dirt road that from the valley floor reaches Merlano and the ridge of Ca’ Bortolani. The first hairpin bends are steep but wide and rideable, while the last stretch is rather bumpy. It is a well-known climb for local cycling and has hosted some MTB events such as the Savigno Race several times.
From April 14, 1945, the 10th Mountain Division attacked the Germans with Operation “The Jump Off,” which covered a front of as much as 3 kilometers on the Gothic Line. Our route crosses the ridge of Monte Mosca.
The section is almost entirely unpaved, with only a few meters of portage.
38% dirt route. Recommended bike: MTB or Gravel with a minimum of 35mm taxed tires.