Walk in Bologna to get the real vibe of the city

Best walks in Bologna

The first suggestion I'd give you if you ask me what to visit in Bologna is to walk.

Bologna is small enough to be covered in a few hours and walking around is the best way to discover its hidden secrets.

Gardens, painted porticoes, canals and, most importantly, people are easier to meet if you walk.

Here are 3 of my favourite walks, plus one very special trekking.

1. San Luca

Bologna walking san luca portico

San Luca Basilica means a lot for Bolognese.

It's the first thing you see when you arrive in Bologna and, even for people who don't believe, its Virgin has a mystic value around it.

Walking up there, after the 666 porticoes that connect Porta Saragozza to the Basilica, is a tradition for bolognese.
You can find people jogging, pilgrims praying, or just families with children.

Walking to San Luca it's one of the must-do activities for locals on a Sunday in Bologna.

​​I usually walk up there with my camera, especially during sunset or at night, to admire the beautiful lights and relax in the quiet of the hill.

There's also a train that will bring you directly to San Luca, but I do agree with Eliot that says: 'the journey, not the destination matters'.

Where to start: Porta Saragozza
How long does it take: 55 minutes
My tip: go up there at night, even if the Basilica is closed the porticoes and its silence are invaluable.

2. Villa Ghigi

Bologna walking villa ghigi

Villa Ghigi's park dominates Bologna from a hill near Porta San Mamolo. From there you get a beautiful view of Bologna's skyline and when the sky is clear you can also see Alps mountains.

​This park is my favorite location for a Sunday picnic, a lot more chilled than Giardini Margherita. So grab some bread, mortadella and a bottle of Pignoletto and relax between the rows of vines.

Where to start: Porta San Mamolo
How long does it take: 45 minutes
My tip: visit Villa Ghigi in autumn, when the grape is ripe and the colors are beautiful


3. Parco della Chiusa (Parco Talon)

Bologna walks Parco Talon

Have you heard about Parco della Chiusa?
It's one of the best parks in Bologna, no doubt.

Start your walk (or ride) at Certosa Cemetery and visit it: it's astonishing. Then skirt one of the canals whose flow rate is controlled by la Chiusa of Casalecchio.

La Chiusa (The Gate) is one of the oldest works of hydraulic in the world and helped the economic growth of Bologna during the Middle Ages by providing energy to its water mills to produce silk.

​La Chiusa is near a huge park that Stendhal, a frequent visitor of these places, compared to Paris' Bois de Boulogne.

Take your time to relax or enjoy trekking to San Luca through 'De Bregoli' road.

Where to start: Certosa Cemetery
How long does it take: 40min
My tip: Get the Bologna bike ride to Parco della Chiusa. Then leave your bike there and start your trekking.


4. Via degli Dei

Bologna walking via degli dei

Ok, I'm lying, if you know me you don't expect me to walk the 130km that links Bologna to Florence through the old Roman road called Flaminia Militare.
But a few athletic friends made it and told me how beautiful this walking is.

Via degli dei (The Way of Gods) is the trekking path created in the late 80s of the '900 by a group of Bolognese hikers, mostly follows these ancient tracks to rediscover some fine pavements of the Roman road.

​Not exactly a walk but still a good way to be in shape after a food tour in Bologna.

Where to start: Piazza Maggiore or San Luca
How long does it take: 4/6 days
My tip: Take in in spring/late summer to avoid the bad or hot weather


[photo credits: Andrea Forni, Andrea Farina, Mar_Kor, Alice Verti]

Related post

  • Bologna parks

    8 Parks and Gardens to Enjoy Your Sunny Days in Bologna

    Bologna doesn't look very green at first sight.But like our best food, parks and gardens are not exhibited. They're hidden behind old gates or they look at Bologna's skyline from the hills outside the city walls.Don't be lazy, wear you jogging shoes and go look for them.

  • Day trips from Bologna

    From Florence to Mantua: my 6 favourite foodie day trips from Bologna

    Bologna is also in a strategic position in Italy. So if you're looking for a day trip by car or train, in less than 1 hour you can be in many amazing cities of Emilia Romagna and not only. These are my 5 favorite places to spend a day outside Bologna between art, culture and great food.

  • Dozza street art Bologna

    Exploring Dozza: Wine, Art and Romantic Corners in Bologna's Hills

    Dozza is a small middle age village near Imola. It's still not known among tourists, even if it's just 35min far from Bologna, and you need a car to go there.Why is Dozza a hidden treasure?​Well, in a few km you have a permanent street art museum to visit day and night, a well-preserved castle that also hosts a winery in its basement.​Not enough? Ok, food is great too. Come in to read more.

Home page icons22

Tasty newsletter

Stay in touch with monthly news and get my PDF guide with the best restaurants in Bologna, Modena and Parma