Bologna is nestled into the foothills of the Appenines, and so there’s plenty of hiking opportunities in and around the city. Parco Talon – or Parco della Chiusa as it’s officially known – is a huge park, about 15 minutes by car/bus from the Porta Saragozza, that snakes alongside the Reno River.
While Bologna has some parks in the city, notably the Giardini Margherita, most of the people living in the city don’t have gardens, so come the weekend the Parco Talon (as it’s known locally) is extremely popular for walking, running, cycling etc. but because it’s so big and spacious you’d hardly notice.
How to get to the Park
The best plan is to go by car/bus or even bicycle. The #20 bus goes from along via Saragozza. You can take the same route by car. Alternatively there’s a bicycle route, that starts at the end of Via del Pratello.
A bit of the Park’s History
The Parco della Chiusa is known locally as Parco Talon because it was the historic seat of the Sampieri Talon family, one of Bologna’s oldest and richest families. In the 1500s they built the first of two villas in the park, which remains today (known as Villa Talon). In the 1600s a more opulent Villa was built, which in its heyday would host Popes (Julius II), Writers (Stendahl, and Musicians (Donizette and Rossini). By the end of the Second World War this villa, which was comandeered by the Gestapo, had been bombed to ruins (which can still be seen today). In 1975 the Park was given over to the Comune and has remained an important natural resource for the city ever since.
The Sentiero Dei Bregoli
Sentiero in Italian is a path, and the Parco Talon is full of them, of varying degrees of difficulty for walking. One of the more difficult, but most famous of these Sentieri is the Breguàl (in Bolognese dialect) or Bregoli – a path which connects the Church of St Martino in the park, up to the Santuario Della Madonna di San Luca. It’s about 1.7km, but a steep climb. Traditionally on Easter Monday there is the ‘so e zò par i breguàl‘, where people trek up and down the route.