5 trips outside of Bologna not to be missed while on Erasmus
The stars are not only in the sky: the Masone Labyrinth
The first out-of-town trip near Bologna is in the province of Parma, in Fontanellato. There is an extraordinary cultural park with the largest bamboo labyrinth in the world: the Masone Labyrinth. Made in 2015 within the circuit of the Castles of the Duchy of Parma, Piacenza and Pontremoli. It is a star shaped plot of 7 hectares of land, made up entirely of different species of bamboo plants. In the central square of 2 thousand square meters, surrounded by large halls and arcades, you can attend concerts, exhibitions and cultural events, as well as see the pyramidal chapel.
Out and about? Just set foot in one of the restaurants around there to eat the best “torta fritta” fried stuffed bread with salami of your life. Tasting is believing.
The monumental cemetery of San Cataldo
Another original trip out of town in Emilia Romagna is to the cemetery of San Cataldo, in Modena. Designed by Aldo Rossi, this surreal space has a sort of passage portal as its entrance, which seems to have been cut into the surrounding wall.
The complex is surrounded by lush greenery that leads into the countryside. You will find the large ossuary cube quite impressive. Containing the shrine of those fallen in world wars, it is a tall elevation brick-coloured building, which has the cone shaped mass grave as a visual counterpart full of symmetrical square holes. These are openings in the walls without windows, because the houses of the deceased, in architecture, are unfinished and abandoned.
Once in Modena, you must at least pass by Osteria Francescana, the Oracle of Delphi of Italian starred cuisine.
Immerse yourself in nature in Suviana and Brasimone Lakes Regional Park
A day trip that you absolutely cannot miss is to the Regional Park of Suviana and Brasimone Lakes, a protected area that extends into the heart of the Bolognese mountains.
The pure air of the oak and beech woods is the setting for walks through the vast clearings once left for grazing. You can certainly admire the plants and shrubbery on the cliffs, but it's also worth a visit to the wonderful Woodland museum. Nestled within the thick chestnut groves, it reuses the space of old rural buildings (stable, barn, chestnut drying room) repurposed into a botanical, vegetation and silvicultural area in the main wooded parts of the location.
There are many itineraries that trace along the ridge formed by Mount Calvi and Mount Stagno, which separates the valleys of the Brasimone and Limentra di Treppio streams, it is possible to see deer and wood pigeons.
360-degree immersion in nature: a packed lunch is a must!
There aren’t just eels in the Comacchio Valleys
Also not to be missed are the views of the Comacchio Valleys, between the provinces of Ravenna and Ferrara, south of the Po Delta.
The area, known for its eel fishing and for the presence of numerous salt pans, is ideal for spending a day outside the gates of Bologna. The huts made of straw and marsh reeds, known as fishing huts, will catch your attention, but above all the sight of flamingos will amaze you.
If you decide to visit Comacchio in October, you might come across the Eel Festival and enjoy rich fish dishes in the splendid setting of water and bridges, with various street performances.
Another event worth attending, especially if you are a bird lover, is the International Birdwatching Fair, organized in the Po Delta Park. A unique event, along canals, ponds and wetlands, which will leave a lasting impression.
The open-air "art gallery" of Dozza's murals
The last tantalizing idea for a day trip out in Emilia is to go to Dozza.
In the small village in the province of Bologna, famous above all for its murals, you can stroll through medieval alleys, surrounded by painted houses, in the shadow of the majestic Rocca Sforzesca fortress.
You can opt for the scenic route known as the Artists Walk, which allows you to admire the hilly landscape from above, or take the Wine Trail, which crosses the Dozza countryside through some local wineries. An interesting excursion from a historical, naturalistic and taste point of view.