Monte Rocca

Mount ROCCA (889 m) is a mighty natural bastion that dominates the Vergatello valley and suggests the image of a ship's bridge; it has a saddle profile with a central depression in correspondence with a ground fault; the two horns of the saddle consist of two rocky spikes.
The one to the south, which reaches a height of 898m, ends in a sharp peak, while the other, at 868m, has a flattened top: on this plateau, covered by wood, extended a settlement from the AGE of BRONZE datable around 1100-900 BC. Research conducted in 1972 on behalf of the Superintendency of Antiquities of the E.R. and the Institute of Archeology of the University of Bologna have brought to light numerous historical finds and the excavations have highlighted the remains of two structures with poles which formed two partially overlapping huts.
Numerous fragments of various shapes of vases, ceramic plates, a flint arrowhead, a woman's hairpin in bronze thread have been found; out of 120 bones of certain identification, sheep, cattle, pigs, horses and dogs can be distinguished. Unfortunately many finds were destroyed by the trenches built by the German army in the last world war. The rock of Rocca took its name from a stronghold built by the Bolognese on the summit in the year 1243.
It was a military work made up of a small courtyard enclosed by a crenellated walkway and flanked by a high tower on top of which a bell had been hoisted (some perimeter walls are still visible); through a system of luminous signals, the alarm was transmitted to the nearest observation points and from these sent back to the central observatory set up in the city, on the Asinelli tower. During the Second World War, Mount Rocca was part of the last German defense system in Italian territory, known as the Gothic Line, which extended from the Tyrrhenian Sea to the Adriatic Sea. In our territory the invaders managed to stop the Allied advance, in fact the front remained motionless throughout the winter of '44 -'45 with the Germans perched on the heights north of Rocca di Roffeno (Mount Pigna, Mount Pardera, etc.), and the allies deployed on the ridge to the south of the town (monte della Castellana, monte della Spè and others). The German command established itself for many months in the town of Rocca di Roffeno and, due to the continuous Allied bombings in the middle Rhine, the Vergato hospital was also transferred there. On 14 April 1945, General Truscott started the attack final for the breakthrough of the German defenses by pronouncing the words "The show begins" ("The show in on").
At 8.30 precisely, numerous squadrons of Thunderbolt fighter-bombers began to arrive in the Reno Valley which, strafing, dropped explosive, incendiary and napalm bombs; they raged in particular on Monte Rocca and the surrounding hills; at 9.10 a massive bombardment by heavy artillery took over, especially on Monte Rocca with devastating effects. It was one of the largest concentrations of artillery fire during the Italian Campaign. "A tremendous sight", "A terrifying vision", "The ground literally shook" reported the American soldiers who had witnessed the offensive. 10th Mountain Division began to cross the LD (Starting Line), at the same time the bulldozers of the 126th Engineering Brigade advanced under the fire of enemy cannons, widening the old roads and tracing new ones to allow the passage of motorized and armored vehicles (still today there is the so-called "American road" along the eastern slope of Monte della Castellana).
The 86th Regiment left later, at 10.30, than the other two regiments, the 85th and 87th. The 2nd Battalion made a detour to Torre Jussi and attacked at 10.40 with the support of the 605th and 616th Regiments. Artillery the fearsome Monte Rocca; there was a bloody battle and the summit was conquered at 5 pm. "The assault on Mount Rocca was a splendid action", wrote an American historian. The large devotional cross on the summit of the mountain had been torn up by Allied cannon fire. Of the defenders of Mount Rocca, estimated at about 70 men at the beginning of the battle, belonging to the 1st Company / 756th Grenadier Regiment, only the messenger would have survived. From the top of the mountain, on clear days, the gaze can see the Lombard-Venetian pre- Alps to the north and the highest peaks of the Emilian Apennines such as Corno alle Scale (1945 m), Cimone (2165 m) and Cusna (2121 m) towards the south and south/west. On clear nights, thanks to the almost absence of light pollution, you can admire the celestial vault and be seduced by the mythological references of stars, planets and constellations.