Explore the places of interest

Castles and Historic Sites

A journey to discover peacefulness

23 Fortified castles and sites.

During the Middle Ages, our mountains gradually began to populate, first came the Benedictine abbeys of San Michele Arcangelo in Badia Tedalda and Sant’Arduino in Cicognaia (which were united in 1238 by Abbot Don Guido del Presale in the Monastery of S. Angelo Michele dei Tedaldi), and then the numerous castles and fortified areas. During its maximum expansion period, the Badia Tedalda Abbey was compiled of 23 consolidated, organised and interconnected villages, these represented the origins of the area as we know it today.

Currently, very few but significant remains of the ancient fortifications are left (Abbey Church and Castrum Abbatie, Cicognaia and Montevecchio castles, some ruins of the other fortifications) and, starting from the last century, sadly the population of these villages has decreased significantly, as well as local artisan businesses including shops, restaurants, and small hotels.

Today visiting Badia Tedalda and its small hamlets means embarking on a journey of discovering the real natural environment with its tranquility and simplicity , immerse yourself in the beauty and silence of unspoiled nature, and learn to appreciate the authenticity of our lands.

Visit the Hamlets of Badia Tedalda

A journey to rediscover peacefulness

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Pratieghi

Pratieghi, located at mt. 871 s.l.m., immersed in the greenery of the Apennines and bordering the nearby Romagna and its Monte Fumaiolo, has been part of the municipality of Badia Tedalda since 1774.
Lying at the foot of Monte ZuccaPratieghi is the first village bathed by the waters of the Marecchia River, the source of which originates on the summit of nearby Monte Zucca, standing at an altitude of 930 meters above sea level. Along the path to its source, you’ll come across the Fonte di Dante, a small spring where it is said that the Supreme Poet Dante stopped to quench his thirst while traveling towards Romagna, hosted by Uguccione della Faggiola.
Pratieghi is also part of the Natural Protected Area of Local Interest (ANPIL) called Nuclei di Taxus Baccata.

Within the village of Pratieghi, you can find the Parish Church of Santa Maria, dating back to the year 1499, and some sacred shrines; the most important of which is located near the ancient Hospice of the Franciscan Friars of La Verna, which is now a private building.

 

Eating and sleeping at Pratieghi
  • Bar and Grocery Store: Alimentari Bardeschi
  • Restaurant and Hotel: Bardeschi di Monti Alessandro

A journey to rediscover peacefulness

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Pratieghi

Pratieghi, located at mt. 871 s.l.m., immersed in the greenery of the Apennines and bordering the nearby Romagna and its Monte Fumaiolo, has been part of the municipality of Badia Tedalda since 1774.
Lying at the foot of Monte ZuccaPratieghi is the first village bathed by the waters of the Marecchia River, the source of which originates on the summit of nearby Monte Zucca, standing at an altitude of 930 meters above sea level. Along the path to its source, you’ll come across the Fonte di Dante, a small spring where it is said that the Supreme Poet Dante stopped to quench his thirst while traveling towards Romagna, hosted by Uguccione della Faggiola.
Pratieghi is also part of the Natural Protected Area of Local Interest (ANPIL) called Nuclei di Taxus Baccata.

Within the village of Pratieghi, you can find the Parish Church of Santa Maria, dating back to the year 1499, and some sacred shrines; the most important of which is located near the ancient Hospice of the Franciscan Friars of La Verna, which is now a private building.

 

Eating and sleeping at Pratieghi
  • Bar and Grocery Store: Alimentari Bardeschi
  • Restaurant and Hotel: Bardeschi di Monti Alessandro
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Caprile

The town of Caprile is located at mt. 809 above sea level near the left bank of the Marecchia river. It has been part of the municipality of Badia Tedalda since 1294. The village of Caprile was historically the site of a hospice that provided shelter for the needy, pilgrims, and travellers seeking refuge or accommodation while crossing the Apennines.

Slightly separated from the rest of the village, you can find the Church of San Bartolomeo Apostolo, overlooking the Marecchia River. The Church houses various valuable fixtures and decorations. Every December 13th, a solemn Mass dedicated to Santa Lucia is celebrated here and one of the church's three altars is dedicated to her; Saint Lucia is traditionally known as the Patron Saint of eyesight. There are also interesting paintings on canvas from the 17th and 16th centuries, as well as some sacred furnishings from nearby Terensauro, while a 17th century bronze bell dedicated to the Patron Saint rings on the bell tower.

Next to the church, you’ll find the Monument to the Fallen, a commemorative plaque for the residents of Caprile who lost their lives fighting during World War I.
Caprile consists of other various hamlets, including Arsicci, Il Poggio, La Marecchia, and Terensauro, small clusters of stone houses gathered around the main settlement. All these villages are worth exploring on foot, they all hold traditional Italian country architecture.

Eating and sleeping at Caprile
  • Restaurant Ricordati di me
    (by reservation only)
  • Guest House di Ricci Luigi
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Arsicci

The small locality of Arsicci rises as a rural settlement along the ancient route that once used to connect Pieve Santo Stefano and the Tiber Valley with the Marecchia Valley, through the Frassineto Pass. It has been strictly linked to the Badia territory since 1330, when we find it mentioned among the castles of the Badia Abbey.
It seems that in the hills above Arsicci once stood the Church of San Biagio (now disappeared) as well as a place called Tower, a sign of the presence of an ancient defensive structure.

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Fresciano

Fresciano, located at 798 meters above sea level, has been an important place of passage since ancient times, as evidenced by the remains of an ancient bridge of Romanesque origin that once connected this location with Badia Tedalda. Witness of how much the locality was a place of passage, there was an ancient bridge of Romanesque origin that connected this locality with Badia Tedalda. On the 5th of August 2023, the construction of the Tibetan Bridge on the Ways of Francis in Tuscany was inaugurated right where the Romanesque bridge once stood, allowing the reconnection of both banks of the Marecchia River.

On the facade of the parish church dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul and built by the Maioli family, once the master family of Fresciano, there is a plaque dated 1603. Inside the Parish Church, which is dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul, there is also an important historical item: the Robbiana terracotta depicts an image of Christ delivering the keys to St. Peter, a work by Santi Buglioni, student of Della Robbia. along with some sacred fixtures

About 1 km away from the main inhabited area, you will find Fresciano di Sotto with its Sanctuary of the Madonna delle Grazie, known to have existed since the 1300s. The church has always received special veneration from the local population, who celebrate the Feast of the Madonna Madonna delle Grazie on August 5th each year.

FRESCIANO DI SOTTO

The legend of the Mula Inginocchiata (kneeled mule) and the Madonna della Neve (Madonna of the Snow)

The origins of the Church of the Madonna delle Grazie date back to around 1300, but it was in 1530 that it gained more notoriety within the faithful. In that year Cardinal Bevilacqua was passing from Fresciano riding his mule. When he arrived in front of the remains of the chapel of Our Lady of Grace, the animal stopped and knelt in front of a fresco of the Virgin Mary. The cardinal, impressed by this divine sign, ordered the restoration of the chapel.
Thanks to the miracle of the mule, the small Sanctuary immediately became a major destination of great devotion for the faithful. The fame of this sacred place is also due to another miracle that took place here. In fact, legend has it that one morning on August 5th local people noticed there was snow around the small chapel. The event was so incredible that locals decided to expand the building following the perimeter indicated by the white blanket and from that moment on, the sanctuary is also known as Madonna della Neve.

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Montebotolino

Montebotolino, at 889 meters above sea level, is a small ancient village of which some houses, a small bell tower, the church and three wash houses remain. Montebotolino, known as the village on paradise, is situated on the side of Mount Botolino, from which it takes its name, and overlooks a cliff that offers a splendid view of the surrounding Marecchia Valley.
Considered a place of enchantment and silence, Montebotolino has become a ghost town over the years: abandoned during the winter months, it is inhabited only during the summer and the weekends.

In the Church of San Tommaso Apostolo, there is a wonderful polychrome glazed terracotta attributed to the school of Robbia and dating back to around 1500.

It is in the village of Montebotolino that a quaint and unique oral tradition of Canonical Tales originated and is passed down from generation to generation to the present day. The peculiarity about these fables is the way the inhabitants good-naturedly and playfully poke fun at each other.

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Rofelle

The town of Rofelle is located at 690 meters above sea level. and it seems to be witness to a very ancient past: here there was an important medieval castle, which was destroyed twice by the abbots of Badia Tedalda.

In the church dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta, you can admire valuable works including a wall baptistery, with angels, in sandstone dating back to 1574. The locality of Rofelle seems to have played a significant role in the region’s early history, as evidenced by two Ancient Roman Stonesone of which with inscriptions and dedication “a Giulia Igea, moglie benemerente” (and which is currently located in the former elementary school building). This, along with another recently discovered stone marker and traces of Roman pavement found along the road from Ranco to Rofelle, suggests that the ancientAriminensis Way, which used to connect Rimini to Arezzo, may have passed through here.

In addition to being the subject of various historical discoveries, the Church which is dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta also houses several valuable and interesting artworks.
The hamlet of Rofelle consists of other numerous hamlets, including Mulino Barucco, Giuncheto, Villa, Campo del Fiore, Poggio, Campo di Biagino, Pozzo, La Chiesa, Casina, Castello, Cà di Borra, Cà Lupardo, Cà dei Betti, Casa Nova, Vellata, Cà dei Butteri, Cà Giovannicola, Lipalba, and Torriolo.

Eating and sleeping at Rofelle
  • Restaurant L’ErbHosteria
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San Patrignano

San Patrignano, or San Paterniano, is a small hamlet that stands on the right bank of the Marecchia river, at 590 meters above sea level. Its history appears closely linked to that of Badia Tedalda: it is in fact one of the first castles subject to the Abbey, to which, starting from 1294, it will always remain faithful.

To date, no trace of the ancient castle remains in the characteristic hamlet and only a few ruins, located on the top of Poggio del Castellaccio, recall a church once built there. Until the 1960s, it was possible to find a fresco there depicting a Crucifix with San Patrignano kneeling.

Inside the town there are still two common ovens for bread-making, two common fountains, three threshing yards, and some buildings with the typical Marseille stone slab roofs. Thanks to the Agriturismo il Casalone, careful and considerate restoration of the ancient Castrum Sancti Paterniani has been preserved ensuring that the locality of San Patrignano is still a popular tourist destination.

Eating and sleeping at San Patrignano
  • Agriturismo Il Casalone di Maria Teresa Tocci
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Ranco

The locality of Ranco has for centuries been an important crossroads of waters and history: it was the stopping point of the "salt route" and "fishmongers" towards the abbeys of Camaldoli and Montecoronaro, becoming the seat of customs, as denoted by the presence of an ashlar stone arch, but also of fairs and markets. This was in fact a meeting point for the inhabitants of the surrounding valleys of Romagna, Marche and Tuscany, and represented the most important ford that allowed transit between the valleys on both sides of the Apennines.

Here, where the Presale River meets the Marecchia River, an ancient and renowned livestock fair was held annually until the 1970s. The fair was held on the Saint Michael the Archangel celebration day, on the 29th of September. The earliest recorded mention of the Ranco fair dates all the way back to 1593.

In 1989, Tonino Guerra dedicated a beautiful poem titled L’orto di Eliseo (The Garden of Elisha) to Ranco, a testament to his deep love for the place. From the words of Tonino Guerra, a plaque was created and installed in the small church dedicated to Sant'Angelo Michele, protector of transhumant animals, which unfortunately was stolen.

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Madonna del Presale

The Madonna del Presale Shrine was already documented in the twelfth century as part of an older castle that was later destroyed. Only a church remains of this structure today, while on the left side of the building still lay some remnants of the ancient hermitage, once used to host pilgrims and travelers.

The Church of the Madonna del Presale rises on the top of a hill, at the confluence of the Presale and Presalino streams, and it is easily reachable through a path starting nearby the Presalino Waterfalls.

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Santa Sofia

Santa Sofia di Marecchia is part of the Tuscan Enclave within the Emilia-Romagna region, along with other hamlets like Ca’ Raffaello, Cicognaia, Montevecchio, and Monterotondo. This “island” of Badia Tedalda in Romagna dates back to 1607 and represents the largest enclave of Italy, covering an area of 15 square kilometers.

Santa Sofia, located on the left bank of the Marecchia River, was once an ancient sovereign state between the County of Monterotondo, the State of Urbino, the Carpegna di Bascio, and the Florentine State, which controlled the fortress of Cicognaia. In 1794, it was annexed to Badia Tedalda and lost all its privileges.
Inside the village there was a castle with a cylindrical tower, of which only the ruins remain today. In Santa Sofia is possible to admire the Parish Church dedicated to Santa Sofia, in Byzantine style. Next to the church you can find a monument to the fallen of World War II and a dilapidated cemetery, which is no longer visitable.

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Ca’ Raffaello

The area of Ca’ Raffaello gets its name from its founder, Raffaello Cesarini, who decided to move from Santa Sofia to the opposite bank of the Marecchia in the early 1900s, building there his residence along with a “Sali e Tabacchi” (a shop for salt and tobacco). In the following years, more houses were built around Cesarini’s residence, and that’s how the village of Ca’ Raffaello came into existence.

There were once three mills in the town for grinding wheat, gunpowder and for the exploitation of water, although today only one of these remains, no longer in use since 1980, but inhabited and still in excellent conditions.

The church of Ca' Raffaello has been recently restored and inside it presents valuable frescoes and altarpieces from the church of Cicognaia, such as the canvas of S. Arduino dating back to 1663, the canvas of S. Valentino from 1637 and an antependium from 1721.

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Cicognaia

Originally called Cicognaja, it is an ancient fortified village whose roots are believed to date back to before the year 1000, and which was definitively aggregated to Badia Tedalda in 1799.
Around the 1200s, the current castle was built, with visible elements from the 1400s featuring the Florentine lily. At the top of the tower, which has been destroyed and rebuilt several times, there is an artistic iron cross.

The Church of Sant’Arduino in Cicognaia is one of the oldest in the municipality of Badia Tedalda: built since the 7th century on the remains of a pagan building, it was part of a castle built around the 13th century. Renovated in the 16th century, the church today has a well-preserved apse with pre-Romanesque lines. The interior has a single nave, with a raised presbytery (below, a crypt supported by columns influenced by Ravenna). It preserves fragments of Romanesque flooring from the original structure, frescoes from the 14th century by the Rimini school, and a medieval tabernacle in sandstone (several altar frontals were transferred to the Church of Cà Raffaello).

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Montevecchio

Montevecchio is an ancient fortress located near the confluence of the Senatello River with the Marecchia River.
Having belonged to the Ravenna church, then passed into the possession of the Malatesta family of Pennabilli, it also became part of Tuscany starting from 1736. During World War II, in 1944, the Germans occupied the castle due to its strategic location.
At the foot of Montevecchio, you can find a bridge, “Ponte 8 Martiri,” named in memory of the massacre carried out by the Nazis, where eight young Italian men lost their lives.

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Monterotondo

The town of Monterotondo is located on the left bank of the Senatello, originally owned by the Church and then by the Gonzaga and Barbolani families of Montauto, starting from 1774 it was purchased by the Grand Duke of Tuscany.

The small village of Monterotondo is reported to have had a glorious history, but today only ruins of walls and fortifications, a large manor building in a state of decline, a few structures, and a small chapel (also in a state of disrepair) remain of the inhabited center.

Monterotondo is remembered as the birthplace of one of the most mysterious and respected figures in the whole Badia Tedalda and Montefeltro area, named Nicola Gambetti. Living between the 19th and 20th centuries, he embodied the qualities of healer, physician, magician and alchemist. He was well-known in these valleys because he provided miraculous herbal treatments to everyone. His most famous achievement was when he was called upon by King Vittorio Emanuele III and successfully assisted Queen Elena of Savoy in childbirth when even the best doctors in Rome had failed.
Monterotondo also hosted Saint Francis during his journey to reach San Leo, where Count Orlando gave him the gift of La Verna.

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Monteviale

The castle with tower that was located in this location was for a very long time the connecting bridge between Badia Tedalda and the Auro Valley.

To date, the small community of Monteviale, located at 805 m, is home to a renowned Arabian horse farm.

Not far from the village, you can access the trail leading to Monte dei Frati and Ripa della Luna, one of the most spectacular places in the Nature Reserve. From Monteviale you can also access some incredible ‘top of the world’ hiking. Marvel in the sights of Eagles soaring above your head. Hike to the ‘Specchio della Luna’ translates to The Mirror of the Moon: a magical, tranquil, azure pool in the forest.

MONTEVIALE

The Hermitage of Barucola

Located in the village of Barucola (reachable from Val di Brucia) the small hermitage was first documented from the first decades of 1200 as a flourishing hermit community, with Augustinian rule. Thanks to the commitment of Blessed Andrea Dotti, the hermits of Barucola joined the convent of the Servants of Mary of Sansepolcro in 1295. Andrea Dotti, also known as Andrea da Sansepolcro, lived for a long time in this town, and died there on the 31th of August 1315. During the 14th century the community dissolved and the building became a centre for agricultural activity. Currently the buildings - a rural house and a small chapel - are in a state of abandon.

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Pianello

Pianello is a small village that overlooks the Presale River. Although its location seems picturesque and favorable, in the past, this locality was almost isolated from everything else and could only be reached by traversing a winding mule track.

Thanks to the presence of a camping area, during the summer, Pianello comes to life with many people who want to spend their vacation surrounded by nature.

Eating and sleeping at Pianello
  • Camping Pianello
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Stiavola

Stiavola is a small village nestled amongst the greenery, once part of the Diocese of Sestino and later of the Monte Fortino community. It was incorporated into the municipality of Badia Tedalda in 1775.

It is home to the Church of San Cristofano and the tower of the ancient and vanished castle, which is now used as a residence. From Stiavola, you can reach the characteristic Sasso Aguzzo, which offers magnificent views of the surrounding valley. In addition to being a splendid panoramic point, Sasso Aguzzo represented an important natural reference for pilgrims traveling along the Via Romea from Ravenna to Rome.

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Montefortino and Sant'Andrea

Montefortino was once part of the territory of the parish church of Sestino, and its Church of Sant’Andrea, with adjoining farmhouse, overlooked both the Marecchia and Foglia Valleys.
The Castle of Montefortino was one of the fiefs of the Counts of Montedoglio, but was contested by the abbots of Badia Tedalda who claimed its possession during the thirteenth century; once back in the hands of the Montedoglio was finally abandoned in the sixteenth century. Today only a few ruins remain of the ancient fortification on the top of a hill that separates the Marecchia and Presale valley from the area of San Donato and Sestino, while the small town of Sant’Andrea is still inhabited.

You can reach Montefortino on foot, through a path starting from the Montelabreve pass and continuing towards Stiavola; this route will allow you to stop and admire the breathtaking landscape at the Sasso Aguzzo viewpoint.

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Montelabreve

Montelabreve is a hamlet of Badia Tedalda, located in the green heart of Alpe della Luna. It serves as a watershed between the Marecchia and Metauro Valleys and overlooks the Strada della Luna. Today, the village is semi-deserted due to depopulation, but it still houses the remains of the Montelabreve Fortress and the Church of San Martino. Although the structures are now ruins, the historical nature of the surroundings make this a place well worth a visit.

Inside the church, a prestigious painting depicting the Madonna of Comfort (1819) was found, restored, and displayed in the Chapel of San Fiorenzo (at the residence for elderly in Badia Tedalda). In fact, it seems that Montelabreve is the only hamlet in the municipality to have “adopted” the cult of the Madonna of Comfort from the city of Arezzo, where its origins lie.

Montelabreve is also known for being the birthplace, in 1886, of an illustrious figure, Monsignor Ermenegildo Ricci, a Bishop Missionary and martyr in China. He embarked on pilgrimages to the most remote and challenging places to bring the Gospel, establishing orphanages, assistance centers for the poor, clinics, hospitals, schools, and churches. Simultaneously, he taught in the indigenous seminary.

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Gorgoscura

This small cluster of houses is located at the bottom of the Gorgoscura valley, from which it takes its name, while it overlooks the main course of the Auro stream. From 1393, Gorgoscura became the main center of the homonymous County under the possession of the Montedoglio family, and was then annexed to Badia Tedalda in 1798.

The ruins of a turriform building testify to the presence of a castle that once stood in a strategic position, serving as a link between the main abbeys and the upper valleys of Marecchia and Metauro. Speaking about recent history, from the beginning of World War II, one of the main Smuggles Ways passed right by Gorgoscura.
Here in the dense and luxuriant vegetation, we suggest you to go and discover the natural beauty of the Gorgascura County Waterfalls.

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Castellacciola

The very name of this small hamlet reminds us of a defensive structure which seemed to characterized this location in the past; unfortunately, today no ruins have left, except those of some rustic buildings.

Until the last century here you could find a school and the Church dedicated to San Lorenzo, currently in a state of complete neglect, but which continues to be a fascinating place of faith and history, located in the unspoilt and wild scenery of the Moon Road.

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Viamaggio

Viamaggio is a small locality situated along the Marecchiese road near the Viamaggio Pass.

A trail that departs from the Church of Viamaggio, dedicated to S. Emidio, reaches the Monks Palace, a site of great allure, although it is now reduced to ruins. Originally, it is believed to have accommodated monks from all over Europe who worked here as scribes and also served as a hospice, due to its location. Abandoned by the monks in the 15th century, it became a refuge for smugglers during the 19th century.

From Viamaggio, the road known as the Biozzi Route starts, a route that descends from the Tuscan-Romagnolo Apennines to the Maremma, retracing the ancient transhumance route.

VIAMAGGIO

The mystery of the Monks Palace

It is said that the Monks Palace (Palazzo dei Monaci) used to be a ‘punitive place’ for monks who would break the vow of chastity, as witnessed by ancient rumours and also by the discovery of a hole filled with many human bones in a chapel. Isolated in the mountains and surrounded by woods, this place has a special atmosphere that has always encouraged the birth of legends and mysteries.
The main one is based on a real circumstance: in one of the rooms there is the entrance to a basement where signs of indecipherable writing were found on a beam. The legend has it that in the basement itself there would be a trap door with a trap, and at its bottom there were affiliated knives: those who were addressed to that door, went on a journey without return. From these mysterious deaths which occurred inside the monastery, the legend was extended to the souls of killed people, who would return to Monks Palace to ‘scream out’ all the evil they suffered. The farmers who inhabited the palace for centuries after the Monks, found many remains of human bones and started telling stories about the mysteries of the Monks Palace.

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Cocchiola

The small hamlet of Cocchiola rises on a vast plateau surrounded by extensive prairies. Here you can still find a beautiful farmhouse of sixteenth-century origin, today used as a tourist accommodation, next to a restaurant, an outdoor pool and a large camping area.

Only a few traces remain of the ancient Castle which was probably located in control of the important road between the Val Tiberina and Val Marecchia and stood on the rocky mass known as The Cocchiola Stone (Sasso della Cocchiola). Beside being a captivating viewpoint, this location represents an important landmark for the Historical Park of the Gothic Line where you can still visit historic remains of a nucleus of German fortifications built during World War II, still accessible to visitors thanks to the Gothic Line itineraries.

Eating and sleeping at Cocchiola
  • Oasi di Cocchiola
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Itineraries for the hamlets of Badia Tedalda in 1 day

Walking, biking or driving

A journey to discover the tranquility and simplicity of village life, to immerse ourselves in the beauty and silence of unspoiled nature and learn to admire the authenticity of our territories.