Every itinerary is a gift, whether following in the footsteps of the pioneering saints or Dante, walking warms the soul and fills the lungs. Romagna is nature; parks and woods, natural areas and pine forests near the sea, colours and diverse landscapes.
The National Park of the Casentine Forests, Mount Falterona and Campigna and Sasso Simone and Simoncello Inter-Regional Park, Vena del Gesso Romagnola Natural Park are areas where nature welcomes visitors with a warm embrace and makes them feel good. Covering 54,000 hectares, the protected area of the Po Delta Regional Park is an environment with unique biodiversity - indeed, it has been made a UNESCO reserve.
Walking surrounded by nature soothes the body and revitalizes the mind. Taking time to slow down, breathe and enjoy moments of well-being on these walks around Emilia Romagna is a great cure-all.
St. Francis’ Way connects Rimini to La Verna, passing through places in the Marecchia Valley where St Francis of Assisi was said to have performed miracles and founded monasteries. Discover the saint’s mystical side and enjoy the splendid landscapes, initially hilly and then more mountainous, mediaeval hilltop villages and sites steeped in spirituality. The Franciscan monastery in Villa Verucchio still has the ancient cypress tree planted by the saint.
To enter the world of wayfarers and pilgrims and spend days surrounded by nature follow St Vinicius’ Way. The walk follows ancient mule tracks and paths where the only sound is birdsong and leaves rustling in the wind, for days spent surrounded by nature. Dedicated to St. Vicinius, the first bishop of Sarsina between the 4th and 5th centuries, it winds through the places that typify the life of the saint, basically following the Savio Valley between Monte Fumaiolo and the Adriatic Sea. Today the trail not only passes through important natural environments which are unique and picturesque with their flora and fauna, such as the Casentinesi Forests National Park Monte Falterona and Campigna. At the Basilica of St Vicinius in Sarsina it is still possible to see the rite of the Saint’s Collar.
When it reaches Emilia Romagna, the Romea Germanica Way takes in the delightful city of Ferrara. Crossing the Comacchio Valleys, it continues as far as the Adriatic Sea. After the Byzantine wonders of Ravenna, the way, which appears in MIBACT’S Atlas of Paths through Italy, heads to the Apennines and Santa Sofia and Bagno di Romagna. St Anthony’s Way is another great spiritual experience; crossing gentle Apennine ridges and taking in ancient parish churches, sanctuaries and hamlets, it leads to the impressive National Park of the Casentine Forests, a UNESCO MAB nature reserve.
The Viae Misericodiae begins at Pomposa Abbey and leads to the Hermitage of Gamogna in the upper Apennines on the Tuscany-Romagna border. It is a circular route that passes through the art cities of Comacchio, Faenza and Bagnacavallo, crossing areas boasting monuments and artefacts linked to faith, art and culture and rich in nature and river parks. It is an itinerary you will never forget.
The supreme poet also has an itinerary; Dante’s Way, which is also in Mic’s Atlas of Paths through Italy, is not for only ideal for trekkers, it is also a cultural, artistic, philosophical and spiritual itinerary between the cities of Ravenna and Florence. These are the mediaeval paths and roads in Romagna and Tuscany that Dante travelled at the time of his exile, when he wrote parts of the Divine Comedy.
As well as all these paths, the pine forests near the sea also offer plenty of opportunity to spend time surrounded by nature. Those near the beaches of Ravenna are ideal for joggers and the Cervia Salt Pans Park help visitors discover the ancient salt mines that still produce Cervia’s “sweet” salt.
Walking is not only a great choice for sports lovers or trekking enthusiasts, it is also a way to enjoy the areas visited in a more authentic manner - an opportunity to become a real traveller rather than a simple tourist.
Spirituality, food and wine and tales of the past: thrills and emotions that will guarantee you say, “it was worth it”!
Tie up your walking boots... are you ready?
Info - regional tourist site on the Paths and Pilgrimage Routes