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Strolling along the Bolognese hills

Updated on 12 May 2021 From Bologna Welcome

In this Promenade, we will be accompanied by… 

Mino Petazzini, director of Fondazione Villa Ghigi. 

We’ve just arrived. Where should we start from?

As Dino Campana wrote, Bologna is really blessed with “colline fuori della porta” (hills outside its door), and what better place to start this peculiar journey, than the panoramic viewpoint of San Michele in Bosco, the church overlooking the whole city centre. 

After descending along the homonymous park across via Codivilla and via San Mamolo, you can start your climb along via dell’Osservanza, the city’s most stunning hilly route, paved in the mid-17th-century as leading path to the Sanctuary of Madonna del Monte, now Villa Aldini, and to the Convento dell’Osservanza. Church of San Michele in Bosco's terrace

Right next to the convent, along the CAI trail 904, you can easily reach the high parking lot of  Villa Ghigi, thus avoiding via di Gaibola that provides no pavement. I obviously have a home court advantage inside Villa Ghigi, but, at the expense of being biased, I cannot but mentioning that it is believed to be the city’s most appreciated park, located halfway between the city centre and the hills. A place linked on one side to the famous naturalist Alessandro Ghigi, and on the other to the first steps of the Centro Villa Ghigi in the early 80’s, one of the first centres for environmental education at national level. Park of Villa Ghigi view After this little encomium, which I hope will be forgiven, it goes without saying that one might want to get away from the city. From the Park of Villa Ghigi, you can walk along the already mentioned CAI trail 904 all the way up to the Eremo di Ronzano and the little church of San Michele di Gaibola, at short distance from an interesting chalky outcrop.Eremo di Ronzano

Do you have any suggestions for nature explorers? 

The most important thing, both inside the Park of Villa Ghigi and within the other green areas, trails and streets of the city, is that you behave prudently and respectfully towards your neighbour and the nature. The strange period we’re going through has enhanced the attractiveness of green areas exponentially, which has also entailed an increase in misbehaviours and unfair practices. 

Such recommendations are likewise to be heeded in all Regional Parks and Natural Reserves of Emilia Romagna; Bologna offers plenty of choice, and my suggestion is to explore the whole range. I shall confine myself to mentioning only two of them, the closest, starting from the Parco Regionale Gessi Bolognesi e Calanchi dell’Abbadessa, whose extension reaches the eastern outskirts of the city. You should definitely not miss a walk along the great Spipola sinkhole and the chalky tablelands of Miserazzano to conclude your experience on a high note. Spipola sinkhole 

And then?

Last but not least, a dozen kilometres from Bologna, I must mention the Contrafforte Pliocenico Natural Reserve, with the public park Prati di Mugnano, the tall sandstone walls, the peregrine falcons, the many peaks (Monte Mario, Rocca di Badolo, Mount Adone, Monte Rosso) and the cave dwellings of Livergnano. I personally like walking along the CAI trail 110 after parking my car at the little church of Badolo (Sasso Marconi), and then climbing on the ridge of Monte del Frate or reaching the top of  Mount Adone from the little town of Brento.

Adone Mountain

Follow the path

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