8 must see parks in Bologna

Published by: BouncePosted

Most of us consider Bologna a foodie city and with good reason. The Bolognese cuisine is unlike any other, with delicious pasta dishes like tortellini and top-tier restaurants dotted throughout. But this lively capital of the Emilia-Romagna region is not only Italy’s gastronomic city; it also boasts vast expanses of gardens, mountain landscapes, and parks to stay fit and find peace amidst the city crowd.

The parks in Bologna will give you something to look forward to when you leave your home, hotel, or apartment. Some are busier than others, with many visitors who come to relax, play, and engage in physical activities throughout the year. Others are hidden behind old gates, ancient buildings, or beyond the city walls.

Whether you’re a resident looking for a new spot to distress and clear your head or a visitor needing a relaxing break from all sightseeing and tours, this guide is for you. Below are some of the top parks in Bologna you should check out and their facilities. If you have excess baggage that slows you down or limits what you can do, take advantage of our Bologna luggage storage service. Drop off your bags any time and explore the park hands-free.

Parco di Villa Spada

Welcome to over six hectares of parkland which extends into the hills at Villa Spada Park. In the heart of the park is a gorgeous 18th-century villa, Villa Spada, that the Zambeccari family once owned until 1811. The Marchioness of Beaufort then bought the property and married a Romanian prince, Clemente Spada Veralli, hence the villa’s name. Then, it became the primary quarters of the Austrian army during the Austrian occupation due to its isolation and beauty.

The Pisa family purchased the villa around 1920, and it remained in their hands until the sixties, when the city council acquired the property and made it accessible to the public. Today, the villa houses the Historical Didactic Museum of Tapestry and is the park’s focal point. Walking along the classical garden, you’ll immediately notice the statues.

Walk into the park from Via Saragozza until you reach a stairway that will take you to a memorial that commemorates the 128 women partisans who were victims of the battles of World War II. When you reach the park's highest point, you’ll witness breathtaking views of the historical city center San Luca Basilica from its 300 steps, and the surrounding fields and vegetation.

Giardini Margherita

Giardini Margherita is easily one of the best parks in Bologna, with ample green space to rest your mind, play, run, and stroll. It’s the green lung of the city center, perfect for city-dwellers who need some greenery and fresh air in the middle of the buzzing capital.

Covering an area of 26 hectares, Giardini Margherita has plenty of greenery and wide-open spaces for outdoor recreation, entertainment, sports, and relaxation. The children’s play areas are safe and can keep kids entertained for hours, while the picnic spots are suitable for families and couples who want to spend time outdoors and soak in the relaxing atmosphere.

One of the things we love about this park is its cleanliness, which makes it even more welcoming. The management did a fantastic job maintaining the well-manicured lawns and keeping the walking paths spotless. The flowerbeds add life and color to the surroundings with seasonal flowers, while the shaded areas and benches provide lovely spots for resting or reading a book. And don’t worry about staying here after dark because there are always security personnel that will make you feel safe, as well as the well-lit pathways.

And the best part? Giardini Margherita offers free entry and is easily accessible, just under three minutes from the train station.

Parco della Montagnola

Visiting Montagnola Park in Bologna is like stepping into history. Opened in the 17th century, Montagnola Park is the first Bologna park and has been the primary site for performances, sports matches, and games. If only its grounds and trees could speak, they probably have centuries' worth of stories.

Montagnola Park is an enchanting place where you can appreciate a moment of peace and immerse yourself in the city’s history and nature. It’s spacious, clean, and well-maintained, a short distance from the city center and the train station. It’s especially magical in autumn and summer, with bursts of colors from flowers and changing leaves. It combines the garden mountains’ ancient tradition and the romantic landscaping trends of Europe.

The park has two monumental entrances. If you come from the train station, you’ll first encounter the imposing staircase constructed between 1893 and 1896. The Fountain of the Nymph will also catch your attention, which is an important decorative feature of the staircase. The second entry point overlooks Piazza VIII Agosto, a large square of the historical center. Next to the garden entrance is a monument that Pasquale Rizzoli designed in 1904.

This part of the park entrance transforms into a buzzing market on Fridays and Saturdays. It comes alive with vendor stalls and people from all over the province looking through the piles of clothing, footwear, antiques, household items, and second-hand goods to find something to take home. After shopping, store your bags with us near Montagnola Park and begin your adventure through the grassy areas, sculptures, and water elements.

Parco di Villa Ghigi

Located just outside the city center, the Park of Villa Ghigi is another natural sanctuary you can explore when looking for a place to reconnect with nature, away from the stresses of life. It’s a short distance from Porta San Mamolo, set on a hill slope south of the city. It covers an area of twenty-eight hectares and is the perfect example of Emilia Romagna’s typical hilly landscape. As you explore the park, you’ll have an insight into the region’s distinct geography.

The park opened in 1975, and the Fondazione Villa Ghigi has been operating it since 2004. It hosts tours and educational activities for school, exciting trekking, and birdwatching. Villa Ghigi Park in Bologna is, without a doubt, the ideal place for peaceful walks and easy hikes, offering extraordinary views of the city. Due to its proximity to central Bologna, locals and visitors can easily escape to the wild nature without the need to rent a car or drive for a long time.

The park was part of the grounds of a noble residence with a history dating back to the 1600s. It has been a favored spot for enjoyment and leisure among locals for decades, who have come to admire the remarkable views and the verdant trees, including a centuries-old Himalayan cedar, old fruit trees, and downy oaks. In the middle of the park stands a villa, which, unfortunately, has been abandoned and neglected, awaiting restoration. There are also several rest areas around the park for visitors and a large parking area.

The Botanical Garden of the University of Bologna

Founded in 1568, the Botanical Garden of the University of Bologna, or Orto Botanico, is one of Italy’s oldest botanical gardens. It’s been transferred to numerous areas until it found a final home in the University area. It’s made up of two hectares, which reaches the ancient city walls. It displays about 1800 species, many of which are protected or rare, and monumental tree specimens.

The Botanic Garden is free for everyone, while the Herbarium is open for scientific study of the collections. During its history, the garden suffered from a period of neglect and decline. During this phase, the Botanic Garden wasn’t much more than a small, varied collection of local species with some exotic ones. Thick natural vegetation covered part of the area, but thanks to its reorganization, the garden has improved and continues to do so, with the addition of new elements, including greenhouses.

Orto Botanico houses excellent collections, but the most notable ones are the succulent plants. Its succulent plant collection created a few decades ago with the efforts of Professor of Botany Giuseppe Lodi, is one of the largest in the country. It also has two other hothouses featuring tropical plants, which include epiphytic orchids and several exotic carnivorous plants.

Via degli Dei

If you’re serious about hiking and want to see the beautiful Emilia Romagna provinces from a different perspective, why not challenge yourself by conquering Via degli Dei or the Path of the Gods? It’s not necessarily a park, but no one will probably argue that it deserves a spot on this list due to the natural experiences it offers. This ancient hiking path connects Bologna and Florence through the Tusca-Emilian Apennines.

You must be prepared and well-equipped when you plan to tackle this multi-stage itinerary to see some of the glorious areas of the Apennines. But remember to pack light, as you’ll have to walk on ancient Etruscan roads, explore the green woods, and walk through plantations and villages. Only bring your essentials and leave the rest at a storage facility in Bologna. Discover the unmissable places and hidden gems as you reach Florence from Bologna.

Via degli Dei is famous among thrill-seekers, hikers, and outdoor enthusiasts, and you’ll likely meet them along the way. It’s a fantastic way to meet like-minded people, compare your experiences, encourage each other, and exchange travel tips.

Parco della Chiusa

Also known as Talon Park, Parco della Chiusa is a beautiful park in the town of Casalecchio di Reno, just a short drive from Bologna Old Town. It’s situated on the base of the Apennines, about fifteen minutes from Porta Saragozza. Parco Talon is spacious, making it a beloved spot for residents to stroll around, run, jog, or bike.

Parco della Chiusa was once part of the private estate of the Marquis Talon Sampieri, a noble family from Bologna. They purchased the vast terrains covering 110 hectares of land right on the bank of the Rhine River in the 16th century. It had two magnificent villas and became the hub for cultural meetings and social gatherings. The park’s current structure reflects its original design with a large garden around two villas and a small Italian garden. You’ll also find pavilions, statues, a lake, and greenery.

The park is now an invaluable public property where hundreds of locals visit to relax, enjoy nature, and witness the area’s natural and historical value. Due to the river flowing across the park, visitors can also try canoeing or go on boat trips. It’s a vast park, so set aside a few hours of your time to explore and wander.

The Parco Storico di Monte Sole

The Monte Sole Historical Park in Bologna is the only park of its kind in Italy. It’s located in the heart of Bologna Apennines, nestled between the Setta and Reno river valleys, known for its horrific history but a stunning place with spectacular views. It covers an area of 6,300 hectares; much of this territory is where the Nazi soldiers slaughtered hundreds of civilians in the fall of 1944. It’s a protected area featuring natural, artistic, and historical routes that welcome visitors, tourists, and students.

This Historical Park of Monte Sole is a bit of a drive from the major Bologna city attractions, but it’s worth the trip if you want to combine your nature adventure with history. It has illustrative materials, maps, and essential information about its landscape and heritage, so you’ll leave learning something new about the place. Although it attracts many locals and international tourists each year, it is rarely crowded, providing a peaceful and quiet moment of contemplation and meditation for anyone who visits.

Bologna parks for a fun nature trip

Explore the Bolognese hilly landscape and marvel at breathtaking views at the parks in Bologna. Immersing ourselves in nature can go a long way toward experiencing comfort and peace of mind. They provide a welcome respite for weary tourists and locals who need a new environment to refresh their minds, meditate, and take a breather, even just for a few minutes.

Looking for a more challenging outdoor experience? See our guide on the best hikes in Bologna and discover more hills to conquer. Check out our beaches near Bologna guide if you want to bask in the sun.

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