sul Senio has the
good luck to be right in the heart of uppermost Mugello, the perfect
location to control the passage of pilgrims and traders across the Apennines,
which was its historic role. Its alleys were crossed by foreigners of all
kinds: mule drivers, coal merchants, brokers, rich landowners and smugglers populated
these mountains. The connecting road between the two sides of the mountain
passed through the town from Piazza del Crocifisso and the present-day Macchi
Garden, until it emerged into the current square. All this coming-and-going
generated a business. In fact, the management of the toll on this road that led
to Romagna was entrusted to the Jewish community, as this kind of activity is
forbidden to Christians. In Palazzuolo, Jews lived in the ghetto, which
had been built around the end of 1300 and was active until the 1500-1600. The ghetto's
fortune ended with a change in the regulations of the trade of customs officer,
which took away the monopoly of the Jews from this flourishing activity.
However, Palazzuolo remained a land of passage and exchange, even in later times. Piazza Garibaldi still reveals its historic function as "Mercatale" through its many beautiful colonnades. Among the illustrious "transits" we cannot fail to mention Giuseppe Garibaldi, who stayed in the building overlooking the square that bears his name during the escape from the Austrians in 1849, after the fall of the Roman Republic. Anita died in Comacchio and from there on the general continued the clandestine journey with Giovanni Battista Culiolo, known as "Capitan Leggero." During their journey through the Apennines, they were guided by the priest Don Giovanni Verità, from Modigliana. During the escape, many closed the door on Garibaldi, others helped him out of a spirit of rebellion. In Palazzuolo he found hospitality.
Today, Palazzuolo is above all a place used by hikers: from here over 116 kilometres of trails start. But the most loved destination by the somewhat romantic hikers is the Cascata dell’Abbraccio (Embrace Waterfall). It is located on a charming path that runs along fresh waterways and at some point passes right inside the amphitheater of a waterfall. Those who venture up here can’t help but admire the waterfall cascade in front of them.
It is a breath-taking spectacle, especially in winter, when
the water ceases to flow due to cold temperatures and freezes in marvellous
pinnacles of ice. In the summertime, you need to have a bit of luck given the
dry periods. Needless to say, the waterfall is a destination for lovers: many
couples come here to exchange a promise of love. The trail then continues up to
the Diacci shelter, which can also
be reached from the Passo della Sambuca,
where you can attend talks on the behaviour of wolves in their habitat and take
part in night walks under a starry sky.