Earth and water in Bassa Romagna

A landscape suspended between the earth and the sky

Logo CC

In Bassa Romagna, the landscape, suspended between the earth and the sky, is perfect to be discovered by bike. You can slowly cycle along the river banks, perfect for discovering the historical landmarks that rise over a horizon characterized by numerous waterways. The landscape is characterized by parish churches, oratories, manor houses, farm houses, fortresses and noble palaces. 

Earth and Water is an itinerary that tells the story of a landscape that has changed over the centuries together and in tune with the changing relationship between these two elements.

To see the itinerary on Google maps, click here 

  • Length
    48 hours
  • Interests
    Art & Culture
  • Target
  • First stop - Lugo - Massa Lombarda (10 km) Lugo

    The territory of the so-called Bassa Romagna historically corresponds with Estense Romagna, which in the 15th and 16th century belonged to the Duchy of Ferrara, with Lugo as its capital city.

    We start from the north-western part of the fertile plain between the Santerno and Senio rivers, from the city where the Hero of national aviation Francesco Baracca was born. Then we will cross that network of natural and artificial canals and roads, where the signs of the Roman centuriation are still visible in the land. 

    Riding from Parco del Loto towards Massa Lombarda, we go past Villa San Martino and cross the Santerno river through the narrow cycle/pedestrian bridge “Pungèla”, built in the beginning of the 1950s after the German soldiers had bombed the old Pungèla, which dated back to the end of the 19th century. 

    Along the Santerno river is Sant’Agata sul Santerno, closely linked to its river, an important communication route between Spina and Etruria since pre-Roman times.

  • Second stop - Massa Lombarda – Conselice (15 km) Massa Lombarda

    The reclamation of the swampy areas in the 19th and 20th centuries, was fundamental for the agricultural development of Massa Lombarda, which mainly focused on orchards and the construction of fruit and vegetable warehouses. In fact it is known as the “village of fruits” and in 1927 it hosted the 2nd National Expo of Fruit farming. 

    Along via Imola it is possible to admire the fascinating old wash house (today it stages theatre performances, story telling, music and dance), fed by the water of Canale dei molini di Imola e Massa. The Canal, stretching for around 40 km, starts from the Santerno river and, after going around Imola, it touches upon Bubano, San Patrizio, Conselice, Lavezzola, it runs along via Selice, until it flows into the Reno river near the so-called “della Bastia” bridge

    We leave Massa Lombarda cycling past the Santuario della Consolazione and the interesting monumental cemetery. We drink a sip of water near Pieve di Santa Maria in Centumlicinio or Fabriago with its extremely ancient cylindrical church tower.

    Before arriving in Conselice we cross San Patrizio: the hamlet was set up around the parish church and, until the mid 13th century, due to its favourable position between the forest and the lowlands, it often caused fights between Conselice and Massa Lombarda. 

    The hamlet boasts the presence of a mill, built towards the end of the 15th century, above Canale dei Molini di Imola e Massa Lombarda.

  • Third stop - Conselice – Ca’ Massari (3 km) Conselice

    The territory of Conselice, located at the centre of a thick hydrographic network between the Sillaro river in the west, the Reno in the north and the Santerno in the East, is crossed by Canale Zaniolo. Thanks to  the already-mentioned Canale dei Molini, in the ancient times Conselice acted as the port of Imola; this is thought to be the origin of the name Conselice Portum Capitis Silicis.

    In the 2nd century B.C., at the time of the Republic of Rome, the territory was subjected to reclamation work and water regulation through the centuriation system, the subdivision of the land into regular squares to be allocated to the settlers, which is still visible today.

    Right in the rice field water the breeding of frogs become popular. This granted the village the name “the land of frogs”; the monument to the frog located at the centre of the village entrance roundabout speaks to this history.

    In the public park, there is a sculpture dedicated to rice field workers and “scariolanti”, a tribute to the women rice workers' protest, which ended up in a terrible massacre. You can see more of that past thanks to the piazzetta Guareschi murals: artworks inspired by the “small world” of Guareschi and the floodplain landscape. 

    In Piazza della Libertà di Stampa an old pedal-typing machine is displayed as a Monument to Underground Press and Press Freedom.

    A few km from the centre, towards the border with Ferrara, we arrive at Cà Massari, strategically positioned as a comfortable refreshment point and accommodation.

  • Fourth stop - Ca’ Massari –Lavezzola (9 km) Lavezzola

    On the second day, we continue along Canale Zaniolo towards the centre of Lavezzola. Along the way we see Vallesanta and the protected oasis of Campotto behind the watercourse. 

    In the heart of the inhabited centre of Lavezzola it is worth having a look at Villa Verlicchi.

  • Fifth stop - Lavezzola – Santa Maria in Fabriago (around 12 km) Santa Maria in Fabriago

    From Lavezzola, we walk past the Oratory of Passogatto (18th century). 

    Along the river bends you will find a little road called “carrara della fortuna” (road of fortune), where at the end of the 19th century a hot-air balloon flying from Bologna “deflated”, but the passenger landed safe and sound. A memorial stone is still positioned where the balloon touched the ground. At the exit of the village you can admire Villa Tamba (17th century, located in Bellaria).

    We arrive in Santa Maria in Fabriago, on the left-hand side of the Santerno river. Like the nearby village of Campanile, it was part of the parish Church of Santa Maria in Centumlicinia, that only in 1091 took the name Santa Maria in Fabriago. 

    The proximity of the small floodplain harbour of Petrodolo, which connected the territory with the Primaro river, was a vital trade centre and is still recalled by via Predola, which runs across the Fabriago countryside.

    In the 17th century the first core of the Castle of Fabriago was built, later subjected to many changes and renovations.

  • Sixth stop - Santa Maria in Fabriago – Lugo (around 11 km) Lugo

    We arrive in San Lorenzo, located along the Santerno river banks, which dates back to the 15th century. At that time, with the new river route and the parallel road running towards Ferrara, new settlements were built. Among them was the village and parish of San Lorenzo in Selva.

    Through the countryside, first towards Bizzuno then via Canale Sinistra Inferiore, we return to Lugo.

Last update 19/03/2024

Information offices

Ufficio Informazioni Lugo
Largo Relencini, 1 - Lugo (RA)
+ 39 0545 299441
Ufficio Informazioni Massa Lombarda
Via Aurelio Saffi, 2 - Massa Lombarda (RA)
+ 39 0545 985890
Ufficio Informazioni Conselice
Via G. Garibaldi, 14 - Conselice (RA)
+ 39 0545 986910

You may also like...

OFFICIAL TOURIST INFORMATION SITE © 2024 Emilia-Romagna Region Tourism and Commerce Department