Pietra di Bismantova is just phenomenal! It has its unrepeatable beauty… and she’s a woman. She’s been amazing and inspiring for centuries. Not even thinking back very far in the past, let’s have a look at world’s pop culture icon and the symbol of New York’s night life. A model of greatest designers, a singer, an actress and a muse of Andy Warhol. What you think, who did the famous Grace Jones patterned her style on?
You notice that, right?
And it’s not just a one-off coincidence. There are countless stylists, designers (even in video games world), actors, soldiers or sculptors.
You don’t believe?
Kurt Russell – a quite well-known actor, Paul Phoenix from a popular video game Tekken or the Moai colossus from Easter Island built over 1000 years ago by some unknown sculptors.
As always, the question comes up – who’s the creator of style? Here in particular, the style called a ‘flat top haircut’ today. But, all in all, it doesn’t really matter how we call it now. So, who has the right to call himself a creator or a designer, but who’s just copied and took an example? In this exact case it’s like settling a dispute over the name of ‘the pyramid father’ among Cheops’ and Louvre’s pyramids architects. So, who? The one who was first. And first was Pietra! Therefore, as in other countless cases, the creator and architect is: Mrs. Nature.
Of all what’s above, one thing you must remember.
You are a guest of the illustrous Bismantova. You’re hiking her head, neck and shoulders. Behave like a guest in Appennino Tosco-Emiliano National Park. Admire, enjoy and respect.
Oh, what an unpredictable woman Pietra is… and so the weather here! One time there’s a schorcher and your blood tries to boil, next year she freezes you and sprinkles the snow on you. However, no matter how harsh was she during the day, outstanding sunsets will be your solace. (If only she’s in the mood!)
Thus, in May 2017, with the key contribution of Pietra, Bismantova Highline Meeting was born.
Form of the festival: Official
Place: Pietra di Bismantova 42035 Castelnuovo Ne’ Monti, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
Length of lines: 18 – 165 m
Height range: 25 – 120 m
Distance to spots: 20 minutes, but there’s a bar – your way may get looong…
Availability of spot: flip-flops on sunny days, hiking boots on rainy ones
Safety: anchors checked daily, one member of riggers team per spot, buddy check
Additionally: the weather in May can be extremely changeable here.
I’ll guide you to arrive from the North, Bologna airport. Low cost airlines are landing here and its relatively close to the festival’s location (4-5 hr.).
From the airport you take a bus to Bologna Centrale (25 min.). Here you get into the train to Reggio Emilia (45 min.). From the train station it’s a stone’s throw (5 min.) to the CIM 30 bus station. You get a ride to Castelnovo Monti (1 hr. 20 min.) – for the last few years it was a bus nr 3B44. From here, you try to hitchhike to Il Rifugio Della Pietra. And if you’re not so lucky, a 45 minute uphill hike is ahead! Anyway, in the end you reach the spot. Content?
Remember, the public transport rides in Italy may take some extra time, so be prepared. It’s the country of siesta and it surely does not run like a Swiss watch! What’s also worth giving some attention, you cannot pay by your credit card in the last bus (3B44) and the maximum bank note you can pay with is 10 EUR. Don’t forget to check its last departure – in 2019 it was 18:30.
In the place where you’ve arrived, the road ends. More specifically, it makes a U-turn, being finished with a roundabout.
On the right side of the road you’ll find a field and a forest. You’re allowed to camp here. The restrooms and shower facilities are up on the field. If you got your tent, you’ll find flat cozy places between the trees. If you’re a hammock lover, then… walk into the forest too!
On the left side of the road, by the roundabout, there’s a parking for your car or a campervan.
Alternatively, you may consider booking a room in Castelnovo ne’ Monti.
Time to register. You hike up the road or choose the stairs. Passing the viewpoint, continue your walk up the hill to find the final end of any asphalt surfaces. There, among the last few buildings, you’re able to find an info point, standing near the bar (Bar & Ristorante Rifugio della Pietra).
You can do your grocery shopping in the town. If needed, you’ll be able to find a bank and a cash machine there too. Got your camping stove? If not, just stay in Rifugio and thank me later! Get yourself a pizza, pannino or a focaccia (relatively cheap options). And you must try the local delicacy: Il gnocco fritto! This local cake cracks with enjoyable sounds and should please even the most discriminating palates! If you’re really hungry, go get something from the main menu. The dishes are more expensive, but so big and so tasty. Rifugio serves a broad range of meals and has a variety of vegan options. The presence of well-equipped bar with drinks and the friendly staff of this mountain inn can make your way to the highlines quite a bit longer than you have planned.
That’s indeed a very well organized festival. In the info point you’ll be given all the essential instructions and get a brochure with map and schedule, the insurance (correct me if I’m wrong) and a T-shirt with Federico’s art design. All this included in the price of the ticket, which is not among the most expensive ones.
Just look! How many workshops can you take?! I still don’t know, will this photo be on the right or on the left on your laptop screen or should you scroll your phone up or down. But the photo is somewhere here. Look at the second pic. How many spots! How many lines! This festival doesn’t stop growing and each year there’s something fresh and new coming up.
Come on, I’ll walk you a bit through the festival. Just please, don’t get lost here in the beginning, there’s no time to be wasted!
You leave the bar, turn right. The terrace is over, now you’re on the path. Yes, I know, there’s two of them. The steeper one is climbers’ path – you need to know, the climbing here is top notch as well! You’ve chosen the climbers’ way? Turn left just before the rock, the paths will connect. So now you follow this way some 10 or several more minutes and reach the stone stairs with some handrail ropes. What you think? Yes, you’re right – up! You’re almost there, almost on the top. As you probably have noticed on the pic already, Pietra’s top is flat like a tabletop. Now, no matter what direction you take, you’ll find a highline spot! Generally, most activities happen in Anfiteatro area.
While on your way, you’ll pass the aerial silk spot. And just next to it, there’s a nice longline village. It’s also the highest place in festival’s area – you’re now at 120 meters high.
If you’re in luck, the living stones will unfold for you the right way to Anfiteatro. Are they sleeping now? Don’t wake them up.
Let’s talk about workshops. As Pietra’s in good mood and heats you up with sun rays, most of the activities happen right here on top of her head. And when she’s vexed and angry – you probably won’t die – but all the cool stuff moves to the bar, or a hall next to it, more specifically.
Something not given in the brochure, but you can expect it to happen as well: probably a trick-highline, a speedline contest and some great rest area in the hammocks up in the air.
By the evening there’s music. I might have told you already, describing Sicily Slackline Meeting… but knowing myself pretty well, I might have been only thinking about it. Still, I‘m not fond of reading my own texts when they get published, so forgive me folks, I won’t check! On the other hand, the festival in Sardinia is next in line. We’ll dive more into the Italian musicality in the upcoming post.
Meanwhile, back to the topic. Once again I have an impression that the Italian people and the music – it’s kinda inseparable integrity. They are just weaned on music. Sometimes it seems to me as if everyone, completely everyone can sing and play an instrument or two. And they’re damn excellent! A propos… Beatrice? Tell me you haven’t quit singing! That would make an unforgettable loss. There’s a link down below – an InstaStory report and a short video of her very first public performance together with a DJ. It was quite something!
I will envy them a little while longer and you will have fun!
You will treat your ears with drums, sax, violin, didgeridoo, DJ’s or vocals and your legs with a constant dance. Obviously, not all those who make the music are Italians – take the French saxophone genius Aurélien (on the photo) – but no matter what, everyone is gathered in Bismantova at the time.
May. Remember, it’s May. Apart from the weather that’s truly a magical time in this place.
Here you’ve got some festival’s ATMOSPHERE, but please be forgiving, don’t be harsh. This is my first review ever and some effectively mismatched panoramic photo tendency.
To find out more, go to the Internet and type in: Bismantova Highline Meeting
Few words from organizers:
“The biggest italian festival with 24 highlines in four sectors around the Pietra di Bismantova. Many different workshops everyday like yoga, acroyoga, aerial silks, juggling, handstand, kendama, and lots of possibilities for climbing, bouldering and ferratas.“
Slackline Bologna ASD
Check out the video:
Bismantova Highline Meeting 2019