In this promenade, we will be accompanied by… Monica Fiumi, tourist guide at the Mirarte cooperative, lifelong lover of the Bolognese traditions and culture.
We’ve just arrived. Where should we start from?
Bologna is amazing from every perspective, from the grounds upwards and vice versa. For a fully immersive experience, start your tour from Bologna’s heart by taking advantage of the recent opening of the Clock Tower in Piazza Maggiore. Enjoy the breath-taking view from the top of the tower’s terrace and visit the old Apartments of the Cardinal Legate which now host the Municipal Art Collections, one of the city’s most important museums.
Bologna’s skyline would boast more than a hundred towers in ancient times, reason why it was called “the Towered”, although today there are less than thirty surviving structures to behold, yet with their unchanged charm.
Enjoy the 360° tour of the Clock Terrace
The oldtown conceals some very nice roof terraces with amazing views of the city. Get new and unique glimpses of Bologna from above, starting with the terrace of San Petronio, located outside on the apse, and the square in front of San Michele in Bosco, easily reachable from the oldtown by a pleasant walk along the homonymous gardens. The surprises are however far from over: inside the former convent, now converted into the Rizzoli hospital, a particular corridor with a mind-blowing optical effect offers unimaginable views of the Asinelli Tower.
Which other scenic locations would you suggest?Of course the Meloncello Arch, reachable on foot after travelling along Via Saragozza. This extraordinary structure overlooking the street offers an unmissable view of the roofed arcades leading to the top of the hill, where the several Stations of the Cross provide rest and meditation to the pilgrims. The end of the colonnade is marked by the artistically rich basilica of San Luca, notably linked to the devotion to the icon of the Madonna di san Luca. Consider climbing the church’s dome for even better views.
And what about the outskirts?The hills and the countryside of Bologna teem with perfectly preserved ancient villas, such as Villa Guastavillani in via degli Scalini 20 with its beautiful garden, easily reachable by bus. This building undoubtedly ranks among the city’s gems, erected according to an extraordinary sixteenth-century project and well preserved thanks to some restoration works undertaken by the University of Bologna.
In the middle of the ancient dominions of Matilda of Tuscany, a few kilometres from Bologna, lies the old town of Monteveglio. Perched on a natural hill and dominating the surrounding countryside, this hamlet offers true medieval atmospheres to be rediscovered inside the suggestive abbey.
At short distance from Bologna lies the little fortified town of Castel Guelfo, built at the beginning of the 14th century to protect the Bolognese countryside from the threatening expansionism of the nearby lords of Imola. The town centre, still preserving the medieval wall and towers, is well worth a visit.
On the course of the river Reno, other prestigious locations await, starting from the Historic Park of Monte Sole, perpetuating the memory of the Marzabotto massacre, and Riola di Vergato, with the modernist parish church of Santa Maria Assunta designed by the great Alvar Aalto, and the Rocchetta Mattei.