Leaving the town of Firenzuola, take the provincial road 503 towards Bologna following the Santerno River. After 1.5 kilometres of up and downhills, you'll reach a fork in the road, where a difficult climb begins. The first few climbs provide immediate difficulty, with a gradient of roughly 10%. It is difficult to appreciate the wide road, the pristine tarmac and the splendid view of the Santerno Valley and Apennine peaks partly due to the difficulty of the climb and partly due to the winding roads, defenceless to risks of the sun and high winds. Luckily, the stretch near Collina (kilometre 3.5) starts with 500 metres of gentle downhill, but the climb gradually becomes challenging again: there are parts of this stretch that have a gradient steeper than 10%. In the village of Pagliana (kilometre 5.8) the road continues to climb until it joins, at kilometre 7.1, the junction with the regional road 65.
Turn right here and follow the road for a further 2km uphill until, near a fountain, the road flattens and a series of up and dowhills start that lead to village of La Mazzetta (kilometre 10.4). A real downhill follows on from here to the village of Pietramala (ahead to the right). The last push starts now: 1500 metres of hard uphill (9-10%) that finally lead you to the Raticosa Pass (kilometre 12.9), 968 metres above sea level.