The Raticosa Mountain Pass is certainly one of the best and most famous climbs of the Apennines. For more than 300 years, the pass has connected Florence and Bologna, especially until the construction of the Autostrada del Sole highway, the main roadway used today. However today, the Raticosa Pass is commonly used by motorcyclists and cyclists, who tackle it form different directions. One of the most celebrated, and difficult, is mentioned below.
Leaving the town of Firenzuola, take the provincial road 503 in the direction of Bologna. Follow the Santerno River and, after 1.5 kilometres of light up and downhill slopes, you'll reach a fork in the road, where a difficult climb begins. The first trajectories of route are very difficult (at about 10 percent inclination). It is difficult to enjoy the road and its views of the underlying Santerno valley and Apennine peaks because of the difficulty of this section of the route and for possible high winds. You'll reach the town of Collina (at 3.5 kilometres) and this section of road ends with about 500 meters of a downhill slope. After this, the road goes uphill again and you'll find sections of road with an inclination that surpass 10 percent. Reaching the fraction of Pagliana (at 5.8 kilometres; 730 metres above sea level), the road continues to climb the mountainside until reaching, at the 7.1 kilometre mark, the fork for the regional road 65.
Turn right here and follow the road for another 2 kilometres uphill, and until you find a fountain. Here, the road flattens out and a series of up and downhill roads lead to the fraction of La Mazzetta (at the 10.4 kilometre mark). From La Mazzetta, the road descends until reaching the town of Pietramala (a fountain to the right). This is where the very difficult part begins: 1,500 meters of a sharp incline (at 9-10 percent) that leads to the Raticosa Pass (at 12.9 kilometres), located at 968 metres above sea level.
To return to Firenzuola, you can the same route and even reach the Futa Pass, then descending intuit he Santerno da Cornacchiaia Valley (37 kilometres in total). Alternately, you can go toward Piancaldoli and return to Firenzuola, via Caburaccia e Peglio (which is 37 kilometres of a beautiful views), or you can go to Piancaldoli, and from here to Castel del Rio and follow the Santerno River (for about 60 kilometres). Finally, continuing along the Raticosa Pass, toward Bologna, after about 5 kilometres, go toward Piamaggio; from here you'll reach Castel dell’Alpi Lake. Travel along the lakeside, and go uphill again toward Valdirosa and Montefreddi. This is the highest asphalted mountain pass in the Mugello, reaching 1,131 metres above sea level, which leads to the regional road 65, in the locality of La Mazzetta.
Source: Comunità Montana del Mugello