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Saturday December 20, 2014 













Bologna
Off the beaten path
Santuario della Madonna di San Luca - Bologna
On the edges of the city we find many marvellous things: breathtaking vistas from the hills surrounding the city, suggestive atmospheres from the Sanctuary of San Luca, ancient villas surrounded by magnificent gardens, with interesting museums. And let's not forget the small medieval hamlets, castles and thermal areas, in the beautiful country of Emilia Romagna.

First Day
An interesting excursion through the hills surrounding Bologna, amid wide parks and ancient villas
 
Wide green areas and Italian gardens surround historical villas, today seats of museums
 
The best food and wine tradition for great meals and drinks
Second Day
   
A suggestive promenade under the Porch of San Luca to reach the Sanctuary and enjoy a gorgeous vista
 
Outside Bologna, in the south-western part, for a visit to strongholds, abbeys and castles of the Alto Reno
 
From the tasty cuisine with delicious specialities and excellent wine to the high-quality entertainment of the Link
Third Day
   
Along via Emilia for a visit to old castles and ancient thermal centres surrounded by the Emilian countryside
 
Let's visit Imola, a city full of history and art and not only interesting because of its car races
 
Aperitivo in the centre chatting and relaxing, then let's have dinner at the historical Osteria de' Poeti

 NEIGHBORHOODS
 


 
 Bologna

Towers of Bologna - Bologna

Villa Chigi, garden - Bologna

Paderno Park - Bologna

 
 
 
Off the beaten path
First Day

Morning
Take an unusual look at Bologna, visiting the hills surrounding it in the southern part. It is an area full of parks and villas in the green, beautiful in spring or autumn, when nature colours them with a thousand different nuances. At the end of Via D'Azeglio there is Porta San Mamolo, and from here we can reach the hills by car. The first destination is the Church of San Paolo In Monte; from the top of the hill, you will enjoy a spectacular vista on Bologna.
Then, we take via San Mamolo and we reach piazzale Baccelli, where we leave the car and walk along the San Benedetto slope to reach the church of San Michele in Bosco ; the hill, dominated by the majestic monastery, overlooks the whole city. Let's visit the church, full of paintings and its octagonal cloister, the so-called "Carracci" cloister, as Ludovico Carracci frescoed it. The next destination is the big park of Villa Ghigi,
one of the greenest areas in Bologna, the ideal place for an excursion outside the city, where you can relax or do some sport. Let's continue our itinerary towards the Monte Paterno Park we can reach by car along via San Mamolo and then Via dei Colli; the entrance is after the intersection with via Golfreda, or, if we come from via Murri, we can reach via delle Lastre, where the other entrance is. Visitors can reach the park also by bus.
 NEIGHBORHOODS
   
   
 

Modern Art Gallery - Bologna

Montagnola Park - Bologna

Margherita Garden - Bologna

 
 
First Day
Bologna: Off the beaten path

Afternoon
Our visit to gardens and parks outside of Bologna continues southwestwards. From via Saragozza we reach the Villa Spada park, summer residence of the Spada aristocratic family, where Ugo Bassi was sentenced to death by the Austrians. Inside there is the Upholstery Museum where we can admire ancient brocades, precious fabrics, costumes and canonicals. At the end of the visit, we suggest you to have a walk in the nice Italian garden surrounding the beautiful villa. Not far from here there is another interesting building, Villa delle Rose, with the Modern Art Gallery. Visiting its elegant garden could be the chance to see one of the many contemporary art exhibitions held there. Along via de Coubertin, next to the dall'Ara city Stadium, we reach via della Certosa. While going back to the city, we have to visit two other gardens: the Montagnola Park, the most ancient public garden in Bologna; in the small square in front f it, every Friday and Saturday a local market is held.
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Buca di San Petronio - Bologna

 
 
First Day
Bologna: Off the beaten path

Evening
Gastronomy of Bologna is extremely popular, especially thanks to the first courses and desserts; let's enjoy them for dinner in one of the most renowned inns in the city, the Buca di San Petronio, next to the church with the same name. After dinner, let's have a walk in the centre between Piazza Maggiore and the Towers
surrounded by a lively atmosphere. We can also visit a wine shop, the <
A href="javascript:apriScheda('2156','en','popup')">Godot Wine Bar, to taste some excellent Colli Bolognesi wines.
 NEIGHBORHOODS
   


 
 Bologna

Porch of San Luca -Bologna

Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca - Bologna

Basilica of San Petronio - Bologna

 
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Off the beaten path
Second Day

Morning
Let's reach Porta Saragozza, one of the ancient entrances to the city, to walk towards one of the most suggestive places in Bologna; the Guardia Hill. In front of us there is the entrance of San Luca's Porch, a 4-km covered road, where we walk to reach the top of the hill, as it is traditionally done in Bologna. The promenade becomes more and more interesting when we start to go uphill, as we enjoy a splendid vista on the city. On top, we can see the beautiful Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca, which seems to be the guardian of the city, with its towers overlooking the red roofs and the huge Basilica of San Petronio. Let's visit the sanctuary, whose construction was completed in 1775, to admire the harmonious and solemn interiors, containing some important paintings made by Guercino and Donati Creti, and the popular image of the Virgin Mary. It is a Byzantine painting that, according to the legend, was made by Luke the evangelist. The story goes that a Greek hermit brought it here; he took it from the church of Santa Sofia, in Constantinople.
After the visit, let's stop in the clearing in front of the church and enjoy the magnificent landscape.
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Monteveglio Abbey - Bologna

Serravalle Castle - Bologna

Porretta Thermal Springs - Bologna

 
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Second Day
Bologna: Off the beaten path

Afternoon

Some kilometres west of Bologna there is the hamlet of Bazzano, where we stop to visit the stronghold of Bazzano, overlooking the medieval town. The stronghold is also called Matildea, since Matilde di Canossa lived there in the 11th century. Poet Ugo Foscolo was imprisoned in the tower of the building, which, nowadays, is the seat of the Crespellani Civic Museum. Proceeding south westward, we follow Matilde di Canossa, to Monteveglio popular because the aristocratic woman reigned there. In the town we can visit the Castle and the Abbey dating back to the 12th century, inside which there are the beautiful apse and the crypt, dating back to a period before the year 1000 and, outside, the two cloisters, one of the 15th century, the other older. The castle dates back to the year 1000 as well, but only the entrance and the tower are original. Let's continue our tour outside Bologna and visit the Serravalle Castle, a medieval hamlet protected by a huge fortification, still visible today, with a beautiful 16th-century tower. According to the legend, the stronghold is haunted by the souls of Boccadiferro's victims, cruel chatelain who married many women and killed them all. Let's leave the medieval allure and we can relax at the Porretta Thermal Centre, very ancient; Lorenzo the Magnificent used to go there.
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Cantina Bentivoglio - Bologna

 
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Second Day
Bologna: Off the beaten path

Evening
Let's go back to the city for a dinner with traditional specialities like salami, "crostoni", tasty first courses with meat sauce and delicious second courses, at the Cantina Bentivoglio, wine shop and restaurant combining the excellent cuisine with the best wines of the region. The night can go on in one of the most interesting places in Bologna, the Link, a multi-purpose centre where theatre plays, exhibits and concerts are held.
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 Bologna

Castel San Pietro Terme - Bologna

Castelguelfo - Bologna

Tortellini - Tourist Office,  Bologna

 
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Off the beaten path
Third Day

Morning
We exit Bologna from Porta Maggiore proceeding along Via Emilia, leading us to some interesting places around the "Erudite" city. The first town on our way is Ozzano, situated where once an ancient roman city, Claterna, was, where a bloody battle between Barbarossa's army and the troops of Bologna was held. Let's proceed on the ancient consular road to reach the San Pietro Terme Castle, thermal centre with a beautiful old city. Let's visit it and then relax at the thermal centre, one of the most important in the region. The healing water flowing out of the Fegatella spring was already popular in the 14th century for their therapeutic effects. Afterwards, we should also visit the centre of Dozza, a fortified hamlet protected by the Sforzesca stronghold, attracting many visitors thanks to its painted walls; if you walk in the alleys of the centre, it looks like you are inside an art gallery, and the Regional Wine Shop, founded a decade ago to preserve and promote local wines, from Lambrusco to Trebbiano, from Albana to Sangiovese. Inside, visitors can taste the products and visit the places where the ancient winemaking tools are kept. The next destination is Castelguelfo an ancient hamlet in the middle of the Emilian country, once owned by the Papal State, with a majestic stronghold whose doors were closed every night until the 18th century. Before proceeding to our next stop, we can visit the several inns outside town to taste some typical specialities from Emilia Romagna, like tortellini, prepared according to the traditional recipe.
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Imola Castle - Bologna

Mordano, the Towers - Bologna

Imola Picture Gallery, painting - Tourist office, Bologna

 
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Third Day
Bologna: Off the beaten path

Afternoon
Let's continue our visit to Imola, a beautiful city worth visiting, apart from the Dino Ferrari motor-racing track and the car races thanks to which the city is so popular. Imola, indeed, is an artistic city in a green area; let's climb up the surrounding hills to enjoy the beautiful landscape on the red roofs. Then, we go to the old city to admire the beautiful Piazzetta dell'Orolgio, the main meeting point of the city, where we can enjoy the relaxing atmosphere that surrounds the place, sitting in one of the several bars in the square.
Let's visit the church and the convent of San Domenico dating back to the 13th century where there is the Picture Gallery containing paintings by Carracci, Guido Reni, Casorati and Guttuso; amongst the most important works of art there is the Madonna with Child sitting on the throne by Innocenzo da Imola. Let's then reach the Church of San Francesco, now the town theatre, then Piazza del Duomo with the Cathedral dedicated to the patron saint, Saint Cassiano. The Imola stronghold is also beautiful; erected by Giangaleazzo Sforza in the 14th century, it is a military fortress where now weapon and chinaware collections are kept. Amongst the most beautiful buildings of the city, there is also Palazzo Tozzoni, a late-baroque building with the elegant Empire Room, the flight of steps decorated with statues and the rococo bedroom. Before going back to Bologna, we can have stop for a quick visit in Mordano, to see its beautiful twin Towers at the entrance of the city walls, similar to the Arsenale in Venice.
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Rosa Rose - Bologna

 
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Third Day
Bologna: Off the beaten path

Evening
Before dinner, people in Bologna have an habit; drink an aperitivo with friends, having a chat and relaxing, if possible in the open, in one of the beautiful squares; at that time, one of the places not to be missed is the Rosa Rose, one of the places frequented by the middle class in Bologna, but also popular among the tourists. For dinner, you can choose one of the most traditional restaurants in the city, like the Osteria de' Poeti to try some typical specialities in a familiar, cosy atmosphere.
 NEIGHBORHOODS