Alberto Belli

Alberto Belli

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Paths and Excursions in Bologna: the Sentiero Italia and the Via dei Gessi and the Calanchi on foot

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Do you want to discover the best paths that pass through Bologna? Are you a hiker who would like to organize a trip? Discover with us the Sentiero Italia and the guide “The Via dei Gessi and Calanchi on foot”!

How was the Sentiero Italia born?

The history of the Sentiero Italia is very long. The idea of a route that unifies the whole peninsula for over 7000 kilometers and, initially, also some European paths, dates back to 1981. The creator is Riccardo Carnovalini who, two years later, on the occasion of the presentation of the GEA (Great Apennine Excursion ), presented the proposal to his comrades.

Over time, his group expanded, so much so that the idea of the Sentiero Italia also took on media coverage, with the publication of an article in the newspaper Repubblica.

In 1990, the Sentiero Italia began to take concrete shape thanks to the CAI (Italian Alpine Club), which will reward Riccardo Carnovalini and his wife, Cristina Di Bono, for their commitment to promoting hiking. From Trieste to Calabria, the path winds through the whole country, with the most important stretch on the Aspromonte in Calabria. For the creation of this stretch, various associations have been involved in addition to the CAI, including the cooperative Nuove Frontiere of Reggio Calabria and that of the youth of San Luca d’Aspromonte.

The Sentiero Italia is configured not only as an excursion project, but also includes social, civil and cultural functions.

Inauguration of the path

It will be in 1991 that the Sentiero Italia will be drawn up and presented by the CAI Commission, finding its first concrete form. In the following years the project will begin to be put into motion, with various modifications and improvements to the routes thanks to the volunteers scattered throughout Italy.

Finally, in 1995 the Sentiero Italia was inaugurated with the launch of the “Camminaitalia” event, which will then be repeated in 1999 together with the National Alpine Association (ANA).

If you decide to take this path, or part of it, and you will find yourself in Bologna, here is our list of Five things not to be missed in Bologna and the Five best Osterie and trattorias : Did you know that there is an area called Quadrilatero famous for the shops and taverns typical of the city?

The Sentiero Italia today: the stages

The Sentiero Italia winds for 7200 kilometers, crossing the entire peninsula and including its two largest mountain ranges: the Alps and the Apennines.

The route has 500 stages, which start from Santa Teresa di Gallura, in the province of Sassari in Sardinia, continuing to Sicily, to central Italy (including Bologna), and then to northern Italy, to Trieste.

The Sentiero Italia crosses other pre-existing itineraries, such as the Great Crossing of the Alps, the Alta Via of Monti Liguri and the Great Apennine Excursion.

Its path is not accidental. In fact, it includes 6 natural sites declared UNESCO heritage and 360 Italian municipalities. Therefore, the cultural and economic function of the Sentiero Italia becomes evident. In addition to promoting the practice of hiking, it is committed to enhancing the artistic heritage and natural wonders present throughout Italy.

Recognizing the Sentiero Italia is very simple: just look for the white-red-white trail markers on the paths.

If you are a hiking enthusiast you cannot absolutely miss the Sentiero Italia. One of the longest routes in Europe, the breathtaking view and the beauty of the Italian territory will win you over!

Foto delle tappe del Sentiero italia, tra i sentieri di Bologna
Source: Alpi Doc

The Via dei Gessi and the Calanchi on foot

The two hikers Sara Cavina and Sara Zanni are the authors of a new guide called “The Via dei Gessi and the Calanchi on foot”, which describes the long itinerary that connects the cities of Bologna and Faenza.

Winding for about 100 kilometers, the route crosses the territory of Faenza and is perfect for hiking enthusiasts. The reopening following the lockdown due to the current pandemic situation have, in fact, pushed many people to escape from the city, choosing to spend their holidays in natural places.

The guide of the two authors proposes a magnificent journey in the Emilia-Romagna hills lasting about 7 days, which passes through the Via dei Gessi and the Calanchi, a very important natural site for the Emilia-Romagna region. The route also intersects with other famous trails, such as the Way of Saint Anthony and the Streets of Dante.

In this area of Emilia-Romagna, many important natural areas will also be crossed: this is the case of the Park of the Bolognese Gessi and the Calanchi of the abbess and the regional park of the Vena del Gesso Romagnola.

If you like to be outdoors but can’t go hiking like this, don’t worry! In Bologna, in fact, there are several places worthy of a visit where you can immerse yourself in nature. We recommend a visit to the Botanical Garden of Bologna, did you know that it is among the oldest in the world?

Also for lovers of ancient villas we recommend a tour of the historic villas of the countryside: a perfect mix of nature and history! For those who like to stay inside the city walls, we recommend a tour to discover the Seven Secrets of Bologna; also a tour of the Museums of Bologna, for a journey full of culture and history!

The Project

With the collaboration of the Pro Loco and various bodies of naturalistic sites, the guide is proposed not only as a promotion for hiking, but as a real enhancement of the local area.

Sara Cavina and Sara Zanni have not only committed themselves to drawing up an itinerary that could guide tourists and enthusiasts during their excursions. With their “4 per hour” project, the two guides set themselves the goals of enhancing the territory and promoting tourism.

Read also: Ciclovia del Sole and cycle paths: from the North Cape to Malta passing through Bologna

Foto del parco dei gessi, tra i sentieri di Bologna
Source: WikiCommons

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