Chapter #1

Land of passage of mule drivers and coal merchants

Palazzuolo 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.

Chapter #2

Garibaldi found refuge here while on the run

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.

Chapter #3

The trek to the 'Embrace' waterfall for lovers

Cascata dell'abbraccioPhoto by: Francesco Lanini
Cascata dell'AbbraccioPhoto by: Francesco Lanini

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.

Photo by: ildirettore