This was the very first park to be founded in the Emilia-Romagna region, in 1982. The protected area, which aims to safeguard a rare example of foothill woods, encompasses the fluvial terraces between the Taro and Baganza rivers, a few kilometres away from Parma, and features woods alternating with hedges, permanent meadows, arable land, and artificial lakes. Moreover, the park is home to historical villas and monumental gardens.
The Regional Park of the Gessi Bolognesi and Calanchi dell'Abbadessa
The Regional Park of the Gessi Bolognesi and Calanchi dell'Abbadessa was founded in 1988 and is located between San Lazzaro di Savena, Ozzano Emilia, Pianoro, and Bologna. The park covers a protected area of 4,844 hectares and counts over 200 caves forming one of the largest, most spectacular gypsum cave systems in Europe. The badlands are the typical mineral manifestations of these outcrops. This area is not only the most important and most studied karst system in Europe, but it is also a place of outstanding beauty, rich in stunning erosive features, as well as caves where plant and animal species of remarkable scientific interest have found shelter.
The Stirone and Piacenziano Regional Park
Salsomaggiore Terme (PR) Località Scipione Ponte, 1
The park, particularly rich in fossil outcrops, stretches out over the hills in the provinces of Parma and Piacenza. It includes the Stirone river basin area for about 15 km from Fidenza, as well as nine important paleontological sites located among Castell’Arquato, Lugagnano Val d’Arda, Vernasca, Gropparello, and Carpaneto Piacentino.
The Po Delta Regional Park is the largest park in the Emilia-Romagna region, covering an area of 54,000 hectares. It is divided into six sectors, including the southern sector of the wide Po River Delta, which is home to a great variety of animal species, birds in particular, and represents one of the most interesting cultural sites of Emilia-Romagna. In particular, Pomposa, Comacchio, and Sant’Apollinare in Classe have great historical-artistic significance. As for the Delta system debouching into the Adriatic Sea, only its southern sector, with the Po mouths of Goro and Volano, is under the protection of the Emilia-Romagna region. To the south of Goro are a few Apennine river mouths, such as those of the Reno, Senio, Lamone, Ronco and Montone (the United Rivers), Bevano, and Savio rivers. The park also features vast brackish and wetlands, as well as other relevant habitats such as Bosco della Mesola, the pinewoods in Ravenna and Cervia, the salt pan in Cervia, the Punte Alberete oasis, the Comacchio valleys, and the wetlands and/or forests in Campotto.
The Interregional Park is mostly located in the Marche region; however, one third of it lies in the municipality of Pennabilli, in the Marecchia valley, which left Marche to join the Emilia-Romagna region, alongside other six municipalities, in 2009.
This protected area was established in 1994 and covers an area of approximately 12,000 hectares, 5,063 of which are in Emilia-Romagna. It stretches from the heart of Montefeltro to include the municipalities of Carpegna, Frontino, Montecopiolo, Pian di Meleto, Pennabilli, and Pietrarubbia. The sharp contrast between the limestone outcrops forming the main peaks and the argillaceous outcrops of the gentle hills is its most distinctive topographical feature.
While walking in the park, you will notice a great variety of plants. Moreover, the protected area also has a rich historical heritage, including the city-fortress of Sasso, which was built starting from 1560 under the patronage of Cosimo I de’ Medici. This hilly and mountainous landscape features the Mounts Sasso Simone and Simoncello, Mount Canale, and Mount Palazzolo, with an altitude ranging from 670 m to 1,415 m above sea level, which is the height of Mount Carpegna. Not only is Carpegna the highest mountain in the park, but it also acts as a watershed between the Foglia valley and the Marecchia valley.
The park was founded in 2001 and covers an area of 26,000 hectares on the Tuscan Apennine ridge across the provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Massa Carrara, and Lucca. This vast area includes some of the highest peaks of the Northern Apennines, i.e. Mount Cusna, Mount Prado and Alpe di Succiso, where rare plant and animal species typical of high elevations can be found. The National Park of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines bears the signs of natural and historical events that have occurred in its mountains and valleys. Moreover, it features a wide variety of habitats that are extremely important from a naturalistic point of view.
The Foreste Casentinesi, Mount Falterona, and Campigna National Park
The park lies on the Tuscan-Emilian Apennine ridge and covers an area of 36,426 hectares, 18,696 of which are located in Romagna. It is home to one of the vastest, best-preserved forests in Italy. The large protected area between the provinces of Forlì-Cesena, Arezzo, and Florence also includes the Montone and Rabbi valleys, as well as the Valley of the Bidente river along with the side-streams of Corniolo, Ridracoli and Pietrapazza, which join together north of Santa Sofia.
The park was founded in 1995 and covers an area of about 900 hectares on the hills behind the modern, residential area of Monteveglio, on the left side of the Samoggia and Ghiaia di Serravalle streams, in the heart of the Samoggia valley.
The High Apennines of Modena Park, also known as the Frignano Park, was established in 1988 and covers an area of 15,000 hectares across the towns of Fanano, Sestola, Montecreto, Riolunato, Pievepelago, Fiumalbo, and Frassinoro, in the province of Modena. This area includes the highest point of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines and Mount Cimone (2,165 m), the highest mountain in the Northern Apennines. Furthermore, the park borders the Corno alle Scale Regional Park to the East and the National Park of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines to the West.
The Regional Park of the Cedra and Parma valleys, also known as the Cento Laghi Park, covers a part of the Eastern Apennines near Parma, on the border of the provinces of Reggio-Emilia and Massa-Carrara. Altitudes ranging from 400 to 1,650 m above sea level create a great variety of habitats and a high level of biodiversity.
The Regional Park of the Suviana and Brasimone Lakes
The Regional Park of the Suviana and Brasimone Lakes (also known as the Park of the Lakes) covers an area of 3,833 hectares in the municipalities of Camugnano, Castel di Casio, and Castiglione dei Pepoli, in the province of Bologna. It is located in the central section of the Bologna Apennines, with altitudes ranging from 468 m to 1,283 m above sea level.
The park covers an area of 2,300 hectares in the municipalities of Guiglia, Marano sul Panaro, and Zocca. It is the perfect example of a typical Apennine landscape, which is characterised by hills and mountains with an altitude ranging from that of the Panaro valley floor (174 m above sea level) to that of Mount Riva (808 m above sea level). Its most distinctive features are the sandstone pinnacles of Sassi of Roccamalatina and St. Andrea. Moreover, the protected area is all the more valuable for its vast array of habitats, ranging from the chestnut groves covering its mountains to the fallow argillaceous fields at the foot of its hills, from the riparian forests situated along gravel riverbeds to the karst phenomena in its caves and ponors, from the cultivated lands on its hills to its small medieval hamlets.
The park is an hour away from Bologna and Florence respectively. Here you can get in touch with nature and its elements in any season, and you will have an unforgettable experience full of relaxing and fun moments with a taste of local folklore.
The Mount Sole Historical Regional Park covers an area of about 6,300 hectares across the municipalities of Marzabotto, Monzuno, and Grizzana Morandi. The mountain and its park are located on a small ridge between the Reno river and the Setta stream, in the province of Bologna, and reach an altitude of 826 m above sea level.
The park boasts the largest gypsum outcrop in Italy. From the Sillaro valley to Brisighella, in the Lamone valley, the hills of Romagna are crossed by a spectacular silvery-grey ridge, easily recognisable at first glance, which abruptly interrupts the rolling hills creating a unique landscape. The outcrop is 25 km long and has an average width of 1.5 km.