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Discovering the nature of the Conca Valley

2 camper van days in the Romagna Apennines

road route
2 days
Best Period
September, October

If you love the freedom that travelling in a camper van surrounded by nature can provide, then the Conca Valley in Emilia Romagna is the place for you. Its rolling hills covered with vineyards, meadows as far as the eye can see and forests lining the peaks provide the backdrop for a journey that will enchant every type of traveller, from the adventure seeker to those who prefer absolute relaxation or a cultural holiday amidst the alleyways of medieval villages.

Enjoy a stroll through the chestnut groves or visit the ancient villages, test yourself off-trail on a mountain bike, or lie down on a meadow with a view of olive groves, wheat fields and, down below, the sea. Through valleys, churches, fortresses and mysterious caves, just choose which wonder to discover. 

Here is a two-day itinerary to discover the beauty of the Conca Valley in the Romagna Apennines, a stone's throw from the Riviera, suitable for everyone, to be travelled in a camper van or by car.
So grab the luggage: off we go!

First stage: Montefiore Conca

The itinerary starts from the fortified village: from Montefiore Conca there are several paths that you can follow on a mountain bike or on foot through the magnificent countryside of the middle Conca Valley, climbing up to the hills and mountains that surround the territory of the Rimini hinterland, from Monte Auro to Monte Maggiore to Monte Faggeto.

You can choose from many available paths maintained by the CAI, such as the one linking Montefiore and Montefaggeto following routes 019, 021 and 043. Start from the car park under the town wall. The route winds for 9 km along country roads and offers views of olive groves and wheat fields from which you can also see the sea.

Here and there, old rural settlements stand out, such as the small houses around the church of San Simeone di Serbadone, where time seems to stand still, proceeding at a different pace than life down in the valley. Continue following the CAI signs to reach San Felice.
From here, unpaved roads connect several cottages and cross grassy expanses to reach Case Fonti.

When the first chestnut trees appear, it means you have arrived in Monte Maggiore. Pass the houses of Serra di Sopra to reach the heart of Monte Faggeto among oaks and elms.
From here you get a double panoramic view: on one side is the Rio Sedano valley, on the other the Ventena valley. Clearly visible, just below you, lies the church of Serbadone. Try to arrive at sunset when the light makes the landscape magical, colouring the Montefiore rock with Monte Auro behind it.

The route continues through the Monte Faggeto chestnut grove to take an unpaved road up the mountainside and finally arrive at the tarmac road that closes the loop trail. 

Complete the tour by visiting the village with the towering Malatesta Fortress, the 14th-century church of San Paolo with a magnificent Gothic portal and the tiny Ospedale church built in 1461. Just outside the village is the Sanctuary of the Madonna di Bonora an important place of worship in the area, full of votive offerings dedicated to a 15th-century icon of the Madonna breastfeeding.

Second stage: Onferno Caves and Gemmano Guided Nature Reserve

Just drive half an hour to reach the Caves of Onferno from the centre of Montefiore.
A karstic cave system, home to the largest colony of bats in the entire region, more than 8,000 divided into seven species.

The caves are located in the municipality of Gemmano and are part of a 274-hectare protected area. The natural beauty of this place, with its lush vegetation and rich wildlife, including some rare species, is preserved along with its geological features such as gullies and chalk outcrops.

The guided tour starts at an altitude of 300 metres and plunges into the forest along a path that reaches an altitude of 196 metres, from where you enter the underground canyon to admire spectacular and unique environments: sparkling chalk crystals, walls shaped by the flow of water, limestone formations and ceilings that look like lace. The Quarina Hall, or Sala dei Mammelloni, is the most astonishing because of the large plaster protuberances protruding from above, considered to be among the largest in Europe.

At the end of the tour, the Botanical Garden and the Nature Museum are worth a visit. Admission is free.

Extra stages: three paths to extend the journey

Would you like to extend your trip with a few more days to dedicate to excursions in the surrounding area?

Don't miss trail 019 from Lake Faetano to Montefiore Conca, trail 037 from the mouth of the Conca stream to Molino del Cerro and trail 019/09 from Mondaino to Cerreto Castle.