Last year I walked around 700 km along the Via Francigena from Piacenza to Rome. When I got back to our Italian base in Bologna, I heard about the Via Degli Dei or the Way of the Gods. This is a trail of around 120km that connects Bologna with Florence, across the Appenine mountains. This is a very ancient route dating back at least to the Etruscans and probably earlier. The name is perhaps related to the fact that various mountains along the route are named after Roman gods. For example there is a Monte Venere ( Mountain of Venus) and a Monte Luario referring to the Roman Goddess Lua.

I was keen to do the walk in 2015, but I just didn’t have time and had to content myself with short walks in the hills behind Bologna, catching tantalising glimpses of the mountains to the south.

I’m planning to do this walk over 5 days towards the end of March 2016 when we return to Italy and I’ll post details and photos here along the way.

The end points of the route were both Etruscan settlements. In the 7th century BC Bologna was inhabited by Etruscans and was known as Felsina. Fiesole, on the outskirts of modern Florence, was also an Etruscan town and was called Viesul or Vipsul.
Not far off the route, and just 27 km from Bologna, are the ruins of the Etruscan town of Marzarbotto, which dates back to the 6th century BC. A visit to the small museum and the ruins of the city are well worth a side trip. As well as the layout of the town proper, the Necropolis and Acropolis areas can be visited.

Here are a few photos from the museum.

The town was laid out in a grid pattern with the main streets 15 metres wide with smaller streets 5 metres wide. It had an excellent drainage system.

Below the town is the remains of the necropolis or cemetery .

Above the town is the Acropolis with ruins of various temples . 

Paul's Walk