Ranzano Sandstones in the Enza River Valley of Italy

October 11, 2019


Photographer: Pierluigi Giacobazzi
Summary Author: Pierluigi Giacobazzi 

A copious net of historical, natural and religious routes covers the Emilia-Romagna region – northern Italy. The Sentiero dei Ducati (Path through Dukedoms) runs almost parallel to the river Enza. Starting at Quattro Castella, it passes close to renowned sites such as the Canossa Castle and the Church of Pianzo. After passing through Ramiseto territory, the path ends at Lagastrello Pass in Appennino Tosco-Emiliano National Park.

Among the villages of Cereggio and Taviano the trail crosses the Pizzoni, a spectacular rocky outcrop entirely made up of coarse sandstones containing pebbly lenses of various sizes. These dark gray turbidite sedimentary rocks belong to the Ranzano formation of the lower Oligocene - upper Eocene epochs, about 30 to 35 million years ago. A peculiarity of these rocks is the presence of roundish weathering forms, known as mammelloni (sand-balls).

The photo above shows part of this geological landscape. It was captured during evening twilight (5:57 p.m. UTC) on September 11, 2019. Note the faint crepuscular rays.

Photo Details: Nikon D750 camera; 8/15mm zoom-fisheye lens used at 15mm; f/5,6; HDR sequence (9 exposures: from 1/60 sec to 4 sec); 100 ISO.