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Emilia Romagna

Emilia Romagna Welcomes a New Slow Travel Pilgrimage Path

In addition to the Sentiero dei Ducati, the 20th path to pass through the region, Dante’s Way can now be discovered by vintage train.

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Emilia Romagna is one of the most beautiful regions of Italy. From the Adriatic coast to the Apennine Mountains, the small villages to the big cities of art, it is a region perhaps best discovered at a slow pace.

At the end of 2021, Emilia Romagna added a new Pilgrim’s Path to its network of ancient pilgrimage routes, part of the region’s Slow Travel offering. Sentiero dei Ducati (the Duchies Trail), which can be done either by foot or bicycle, is designed to retrace the ancient routes bordering of the historic Italian regions once ruled by a Duke or Duchess from the 16th to the 19th centuries: the Estensi’s duchies of Modena and Reggio, the duchy of Parma and Piacenza and the duchies of Tuscany. With the new addition, Emilia Romagna now boasts 20 trails for visitors looking for a “slow tourism” experience.

il sentiero dei ducati

Sentiero dei Ducati offers two different trail routes: one for hikers (160km) and another for mountain bikers (90km). Both start in the picturesque village of Quattro Castella (Emilia Romagna) and end in the ancient Roman port of Luni (Tuscany). The new path covers the most spectacular corners of the northern Apennines, crossing vineyards, castles, ancient churches, stone villages, fresh streams and beech forests that will delight bikers and cyclists alike.

The hiking trail can be done in 11 stages, with the trail rising over 7,000m and descending 7,300m; while the cycling trail offers an extraordinary ride in six stages, from the plains to the sea.

With the addition of Sentiero dei Ducati, there are now 20 ancient pilgrimage routes that cross through Emilia Romagna. These paths, characterized by strong spiritual, historic and natural value, can be experienced on marked pedestrian and bike paths that are emblematic of Emilia Romagna’s place as a religious and cultural tourism destination. One of these paths, Roads of Dante (“Vie di Dante”), was recognized as a ‘sustainability winner’ and 'slow travel delight’ in Lonely Planet’s annual Best in Travel guide 

slow travel pilgrimage path

The 20 pilgrimage routes that cross through Emilia Romagna are:

  1. Abbot’s Way
  2. Francigena Way
  3. Linari Way
  4. Matilde’s Way of the Holy Face
  5. Romea Germanica Imperiale Way
  6. Romea Nonantolana Way
  7. Romea Strata Longobarda Nonantolana Way
  8. Piccola Cassia Way
  9. Wool and Silk Road
  10. Way of the Gods
  11. Mater Dei
  12. St. Anthony’s Way
  13. Romea Germanica Way
  14. Dante’s Way
  15. Assisi Way
  16. St. Vicinius’ Way
  17. St. Francis Way from Rimini to La Verna
  18. Viae Misericordiae
  19. Alta Via Trail of the Parks
  20. Sentiero dei Ducati
slow travel

Travelers who are interested in exploring one of these Slow Travel trails but are unable to hike due to mobility issues or are traveling with young children now have a new option. The Dante’s Way path can also be discovered by vintage train, one of only a few left in all of Italy, traveling between Florence and Ravenna. Launched last year to coincide with the 700th anniversary of Dante’s death in Ravenna, the train will run every Saturday and Sunday from June 4 through November 1, 2022. Guests will be treated to narration (in Italian and English) and can purchase tickets to experiences at the stops along the way.

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