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A Roadtrip through the Hills of Bologna

The city of Bologna is surrounded by vast and beautiful hills. Along with offering some of the city’s most spectacular views, scattered among these hills are hidden treasures to be discovered. Here are some must-see sights you should visit in the Bologna hills.

The Casalecchio di Reno Lock

Measuring 160 meters long and 35 meters wide, this river lock of medieval origin in Casalecchio di Reno is the oldest work of hydraulic engineering in Europe and its still in use today. Over the centuries this lock on the river Reno has provided the city of Bologna and the surrounding territories with water and energy. Now, the area surrounding the lock is a beautiful nature park used by local people as a place to relax, fish and enjoy a summer swim!

Kainua – The Ancient Etruscan City

Marzabotto, or Kainua, is the Etruscan name of the city that was founded in the early 5th century B.C. in the valley of the Reno river, 27 kilometers southwest of Bologna. Destroyed in the 4th century BC, Kainua was rediscovered in the 19th century when the ruins of the town’s layout, with remains of the acropolis and necropolis and several artifacts were found. Within the archaeological site visitors will find the National Etruscan Museum “Pompeo Aria”, where many of the artifacts found are on display.

Church of Santa Maria Assunta

The Church of Santa Maria Assunta in Ponte di Grizzana Morandi is the only Italian project conceived by the well-known Finnish architect and academic Alvar Aalto. Designed in 1966 and completed in 1994 with the construction of the bell tower, this structure fits perfectly into the environmental landscape of the Bologna hillside. The Church is known for its architectural elements, especially with how it filters light through its windows, magically illuminated the entire interior.

Rocchetta Mattei

Located in Riola, the Rocchetta Mattei is a testament to Bologna’s local history as well as being one of Italy’s most architecturally interesting castles. Constructed on the remains of the medieval castle of Savignano Longareno, the Rocchetta Mattei was built by the eccentric Count Cesare Mattei (1809-1896), a bourgeois who became noble, and a well-known nineteenth-century healer used by many celebrities of the time including Ludwig II of Bavaria and the Princess Sissi. La Rocchetta Mattei is an enchanted and unique place, inside the Rocchetta there are many works of art mixed with different artistic and architectural styles all crowned by towers with golden domes.