“Liver and onions” sounds strange, but here it is a household name. Not so much because of a supposedly typical local dish, but because in October ’44 Livergnano must have sounded like an all-too-complicated name to the American battalions, who had to resort to assonance fishing here and there from household terms in order to be able to pronounce it almost correctly.
Recommended bike: Gravel, 35mm tires.
Recommended season: from April until October.
It must have seemed really strange to the inhabitants to hear the name mispronounced into Liver Onions, how funny it must at least have been to Americans that a small town in Italy, nestled on a rock face, sounded like a poor dish with a brusque flavor.
Boringly enough, Winter Line is here a 108-kilometer route on the very first Apennines of Bologna, running through some of the places decisive for the end of the Italian Campaign during World War II. You will have a modest elevation gain of 2,000 meters, because certain beauties must be reached, alas, with a bit of effort.
The route includes an asphalt start, interspersed with the gravelly S. Leo municipal road, which will take us straight to Monterenzio. After the short hairpin bends of Via Cereto, we will take the dirt road of Via Monte delle Formiche, where near the Sanctuary every year around September 8 we can witness the last flight of the Myrmica Scabrinodis.
Along the entire Winter Line you will enjoy an unusual panorama, because of the gentle, tenuous ridges with cultivated fields between the Idice Valley and the Zena stream. From here we enjoy the view of the heights of the Pliocene Spur where we will find Livergnano, a small village rebuilt after World War II and reached from via di Bortignano. Right here you can visit by reservation the beautiful museum of the Gothic Line: the Winter Line Museum. If from the outside it looks like a very ordinary garage, the inside is an evocative cave in whose space Umberto Magnani has collected over time a myriad of war material found in these very areas.
The quick descent on the dirt road of Via dei Laghi will last a moment, just enough time to catch our breath before climbing the hairpin bends that will lead between the paths of Monte del Frate. Here we will tackle one of the most famous sections of the Via degli Dei before returning to the valley and asking you for your last effort. We will climb up the steep Via Sant’Antonio, but it will be the last tear to enjoy the fun descent of Via Munarino all dirt road and back to the valley.