Bologna, March 27, 2006
Up early and up the narrow, winding A1 between Florence and Bologna. Julia did not enjoy the journey: the enormous juggernauts seem horrible close and swerve all over the place, while macho Italian drivers sit two inches from your rear bumper. Spectacular scenery, though, and I felt quite excited glimpsing Castiglione dei Pepoli from the motorway and then a few miles north, Monte Sole. Once again I was reminded what a crazy country Italy is to fight a war. Mountains, mountains, mountains.
Got off the motorway at Sasso Marconi and then headed the short distance south to Marzabotto. It seems like an age since I was last here with Roddy. We met up with Anna Salerno, who was just as I remembered, and took us to her new office where the archives are stored. We had a good day, and found some interesting examples of Lupo’s anti-political stance. German forces always termed Partisans as â€˜bandits’ or â€˜communists’ but despite being called the Stella Rossa, (Red Star), Lupo insisted the brigade should ally itself to any political party. I am sensing that the degree to which individual bands were overtly political may have been overcooked.
When we finished in Marzabotto, we drove up to Monte Sole. I was keen to see Ca’dotto, where Lupo had been killed and many of the Stella Rossa had made their last stand. Anna had got permission from the owner for us to do so, but it involved a longish walk down the side of a mountain and when we got there, the track was too wet and muddy and neither of us really the right kind of footwear.
Headed up to Bologna, but it took us ages to find a hotel. Everywhere seemed to be booked. We eventually found somewhere close to where we have to be tomorrow morning, so in the end it worked out fine. I later found out that the reason Bologna is so full is because of the International Book Fair. Of course!