If you want to understand Italy and its culture, you don’t have to go to Rome or Milan. A journey through the serpentine roads of the northern Apennines is enough to understand where the true heart of Italy beats: right here – in the green forests, the abandoned villages and the rolling hills.
The Apennine mountain range stretches from Liguria across the Italian boot to Calabria at the tip of the boot. Yet the mountain region between the cultural cities of Bologna and Florence is known to only a few.
20-year-old Andrea Barrani dreams of producing his own wine right here – on the steep slopes of the Cinque Terre.
Shepherdess Cinzia Angiolini has also found happiness in the Apennines: she breeds the local Zerasca breed of sheep. Old traditions are preserved in the Apennines because there are people who maintain them – like the bell ringers of Monghidoro.
Young Federico Mezzini still struggles with the 400 kg bells, but he is confident that he will soon be able to play a concert.
Laura Sbaccheri has spent her whole life doing without her dream: She always wanted to ride a motorbike. A stroke of fate prevented her from doing so. Now, in her late 30s, she has finally fulfilled her dream: She rides on the Mugello racetrack at 250km/h and enjoys the thrill.
The journey along the northern Apennines ends in Umbria. Here, geologist Andrea Mazzoli shows on mountain bike tours what spectacular secret lies hidden in the million-year-old rocks.
The Apennines are considered the backbone of Italy – a world of its own with much to discover.