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History

The earliest evidence of stable settlements in the Contrafforte Pliocenico area, dating to the Bronze Age, was found at Mount Adone.

Various archaeological findings from the Villanovan and Etruscan periods also exist. In Roman times, a 20 km-long narrow tunnel was dug for the Augustan aqueduct delivering water to Bologna from the Setta Stream and its path crossed through the nature reserve’s territory.

The aqueduct ceased to function in late antiquity and it was only rediscovered in the late 1800s, thanks to the work of Antonio Zannoni, an engineer for the City of Bologna and an archaeologist, who saw to its restoration and reopening.

The settlement at Brento (Castrum Brintum) dates to Roman times. It was then the site of a Byzantine stronghold.

During the Middle Ages the area was the subject of fighting between the communal city state and the feudal families, particularly the Counts of Panico, who owned the Castle of Battedizzo for a period of time (it was later destroyed by a landslide). There also used to be a fortress at Badolo, belonging to feudal lords and to the Bishop of Bologna as part of the church’s assets. The territory came under communal control definitively in the 1300s and then part of the Papal States in the early 1500s.

The area was significantly impacted during the final stages of World War II, when the Contrafforte’s rocky bastions were used by the Germans as the last line of defense against the Allied advance. The area was the scene of fierce battles involving entire towns, such as Livergnano and Brento, which were razed to the ground by the bombardments.