Linked to thousands of different worlds, Bologna embraces and fascinates its visitors. The city and its hills offer endless possibilities for out-of-town trips and outdoor activities, all just a few kilometres from the historic centre.
The famous colonnade of San Luca
We must start by mentioning the Sanctuary of San Luca and its famous colonnade, which with its arches and 3.5 kilometres length is the longest in the World. This unique feature has made it a candidate for UNESCO World Heritage status, award hopefully arriving in 2021.
Popular local legends storytelling that there are 666 arches, representing the body of a snake, defeated at the end of the route by the Sanctuary, a symbol of the struggle between good and evil. The leisurely walk required is immediately rewarded by the priceless view from the Sanctuary, a monument of spirituality.
Let yourself be seduced by places full of art and history
San Michele in Bosco is absolutely the most scenic spot in Bologna and is easily reached on foot from Porta San Mamolo. If you prefer cycling and you would like to move a little further away you can enjoy the relaxation and silence that first the Villa Chigi park and then the Talon Park offer as a reward to those looking for a green area just outside the city.
However, history can also be breathed outside the city-walls. In San Michele it is not unusual to see groups of friends challenging each other to identify all the towers of Bologna. Put your feet firmly on the ground in the historic churchyard and start dreaming looking at the Bologna skyline.
Parco Talon, the historic property of the Sampieri family, takes visitors back to the splendour of the 17th century. Inside the park, it is possible to get lost among the remains of the ancient villa and the noble architectural structures, playing the role of many artists who animated these gardens in past centuries. It was a true cultural meeting place for the most wonderfull minds of that time.
The French writer Stendhal loved the Emilian hills so much that he set one of his most famous novel here: "The Charterhouse of Parma". Villa’s most famous Italian guest was undoubtedly Gioacchino Rossini, who received his cultural education in Bologna. Stendhal himself defined Rossini using an intimate definition: "It is difficult to write the story of a man who is still alive. I envy him more than anyone who has won the first prize in money in nature's lottery.... He has won an eternal name, he will be forever defined as a genius and, above all, he achieved happiness."
Superb personalities who found in the hills of Bologna a place of deep inspiration. Bologna has nothing to envy to the more famous courts of Paris or Florence. The wonderfull Villa Chigi seems so far away from the liveliness of the city and it is totally immersed in greenery. Remember a good book and a comfortable blanket to rest on... The secret glimpse of the city walls after a few hundred metres of walking shows how Bologna can never really be left behind you, but on the contrary continues to guide you throughout your journey.
Let yourself be embraced by this Lady, walk around her curves and be conscious that you will fall in love with her for sure.