Total distance: 75km. Elevation: 3206 m.

Here is a name that makes you dream! The Path of the Gods is a route that connects Bologna to Florence crossing the entire chain of the Apennines. The gods are the (small) peaks that we cross on the way: Monte Adone (Adonis), Monzuno (Mount Juno or Mount of Jupiter), Monte Venere (Venus)… An easy path but endowed with a great variety of landscapes and monuments! The most interesting is undoubtedly the Flaminia Military, Roman road built thanks to the consul Caio Flaminio in 187 BC, whose current route of the path of the gods more or less follows the route. This route was completely abandoned and then rediscovered in the 1970s by two enthusiasts. We can now see beautiful portions preserved intact under the humus over the years!

The canonical direction of the path of the gods is from Bologna to Florence. That said, the first stages of Bologna seem quite boring on the map (a day's walk not far from the highway…). So we chose to start from Florence and walk for only three days.

Path of the Gods, day 1: Fiesole, Vetta le Croci, Monte Senario

  + 1000m / – 900m       24km

View of Florence from Fiesole

So here we are, three of us, from Fiesole on this beautiful spring morning. This village is easily reached from downtown Florence by bus 7. Moreover, the view of the city at the Dome is overwhelming from the streets of the village.

The Tuscan countryside towards Vetta Le Croci

A few short kilometers later, we reach the hill of Poggio Pratone with a nice view of the surrounding Tuscan countryside. The path then becomes prettier and passes through small leafy woods. A little further, someone has installed a chime in the branches of a tree. The wind sounds a little relaxing music... This gives a very special atmosphere to the place!

The Tuscan countryside towards Florence, on the path of the gods
Flowery fields in Poggio Capanne

We then cross very green, gentle hills. The yellow buttercups and the white flowers of the prunus complete the whole thing with a decidedly spring air!

Buonsollazzo Monastery

We stop at the church of Monte Senario to refill with water. Then it's a bit long in the beeches before rejoining more sympathetic landscapes in the Tuscan style. In the distance stands the barrier of the Apennines that we will cross the next day. In the meantime, the sun starting to decline, we pitch the tent shortly after the village of Tagliaferro in a meadow a little outside the road. There is an excellent view of the castle of Trebbio which will be our first stop the next day…

Day 2: San Piero a Sieve, Schifanoia, Passo dell'Osteria Bruciata

  + 1100m / – 400m       23km

View from the castle of Trebbio

After a hearty breakfast consisting of the eternal hiking oatmeal, we break camp and move on to the castle of Trebbio. It is located on a small hill from where the view of the surrounding countryside is simply majestic!

Tuscan countryside 2, on the path of the gods

We then move on to the small village of San Piero a Sieve. It's an opportunity to treat yourself to a big cornetto to get our morning dose of sugar. The next part follows a (small) flat road for almost 5km. In other words, it's a bit boring… Moreover, the Italian name of the neighboring town is… Schifanoia (schifo = ugly, noia = boring)! But the last part has a fantastic view of the Tuscan countryside, with the soft green fields of spring which are a pleasure to see (in the photos the green looks artificial… it is not!).

Tuscan countryside towards Gabbiano
Climbing in the Apennines

We then begin the part that takes us into the Apennines proper. The path slowly climbs its 1000m drop in a forest composed first of pines then hardwoods and finally beeches. We arrive at the Passo dell'Osteria Bruciata after some panoramic views on the route taken. The place seems suitable for bivouac but it is too early and we have no water, so we continue to the nearest source. After recharging, we push to Mount Gazzaro, one of the highest points of the route (1125m, it's not madness either eh).

Bivouac at the viewpoint

We find an ideal bivouac spot just before the summit, at the panoramic viewpoint. What's incredible is that the wind blows to dehorn the oxen at the top, but that we are miraculously protected! I'm afraid the wind will change during the night, but that won't be the case. We spend a very beautiful evening watching the flamboyant sunset over the entire chain of the Apennines.

Day 3: Passo della Futa, Via Flaminia Militare, Madonna dei Fornelli

  + 850m / – 1600m       28km

Via Flaminia Militare

Early in the morning, we cross the ridge that leads us to the passo della Futa. There is still a tenacious and icy wind that swirls all the leaves around us, it's nice but it makes a great contrast with the heat of the last few days! After the pass, we continue the course on a ridge in the middle of the beeches. You can see in places the Via Flaminia Militare, this Roman road I mentioned in the introduction. It's rather impressive to see such a monument in the middle of nowhere!

The Apennines of Emilia-Romagna on the path of the gods

After the top of the Banditacce, the path becomes more rural. We pass close to a few farms where the pigs that make the famous Mortadella of Emilia-Romagna are raised. Few breaks on the way because the cold wind is still present! We eventually arrive at Madonna dei Fornelli, where we can take the first real windless break in the sun of the day.

House towards San Benedetto station

The Via Degli Dei officially continues towards the village of Monzuno, but we don't have time to reach it in three days. So we decide to go down to San Benedetto Sambro station. We follow a very beautiful path along a torrent which, surprisingly, is not indicated on the OpenStreetMaps map. In fact, it is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful stages of this course! The final part of the descent towards the station at sunset is superb, all in large grassy meadows on the mountainside. For a bit it feels like Austria!

The tiny station only reveals itself at the last moment. It's already the end of the hike… What I remember is that in three days of walking we are dealing with a great diversity of landscapes. I must say that I had not expected too much!


I started photography in 2015 during a trip to Hawaii. Since then, I have devoted myself to landscape photography during my many mountain treks.


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