The Gaibola Gypsum Cycle Route

A unique route within the Parco dei Gessi and Calanchi dell'Abbadessa

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The Gaibola Gypsum Cycle Route is a unique route that takes visitors through the recently designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, Parco dei Gessi e dei Calanchi dell'Abbadessa.   

It is a ring-route that can be taken arbitrarily from the train stations in San Lazzaro di Savena or Ozzano dell'Emilia. 

The route is quite short - roughly 21 km long including the detours to the WWF river oasis of Molino Grande - but it does include some significant climbs that should not be taken lightly. Mountain bikes are therefore recommended. 

  • Length
    24 hours
  • Interests
    Nature & Outdoor
  • Target
  • First stop - Buca di Gaibola (Gaibola Hole) San Lazzaro di Savena

    After leaving the San Lazzaro urban area, we arrive at the Parco dei Gessi, which is distinguished by karstic settings enriched by dolines, woods, and small cliffs.   

    The itinerary’s first stop is the Buca di Gaibola, a large doline with swallow holes that lead to numerous cavities. The largest one, Grotta Novella, has towering calcitic blades and is utilised as an underground laboratory.  

    The area’s cool, damp microclimate favours the growth of mosses, ferns, false maidenhair, and the lacerated spurge, an extremely rare specimen at such low altitudes.  

    Previously covered by farmed land, the northern slope is now covered by thick shrubland that reaches into the woodland that takes up the remaining portion of the doline. 

  • Second stop - Buca di Ronzano (Ronzano Hole) San Lazzaro di Savena

    Proceeding through the more rolling areas of the valley, we will arrive at Buca di Ronzano, where several houses are encircled by vineyards, fruit tree rows, and meadows.  

    A forest grows on the chalky cliffs that enclose the valley and is occasionally broken up by outcrops that are home to downy oak and manna ash specimens.  

    The sunny exposure of this slope has allowed a variety of Mediterranean species, including female cistus, phillyrea, and holm oak, to thrive. 

  • Third stop - Buca dell’Inferno (Hell’s Hole) San Lazzaro di Savena

    The itinerary continues to another well-known hole of the park, the Buca dell'Inferno. This is distinguished by a large number of sinkholes, which provide access to little cavities within the park, including the Grotta Coralupi (Coralupi Cave). The doline’s slopes in this area are almost entirely covered by cool forest.  

    In the springtime, the undergrowth is full of lovely blooms, with the scilla blooms standing out. Conversely, only a few spots see the lilium martagon and orange lilies bloom throughout the summer. 

  • Fourth stop - Grotta del Farneto (Farneto Cave) San Lazzaro di Savena

    The itinerary ends at Grotta del Farneto, one of the park's most prominent and well-known caves. It was discovered in 1871 by the speleologist Luigi Fantini.  

    The cave is now a popular tourist destination as well as a place of significant historical and archaeological significance. It is accessible via guided excursions provided by the Ente Parchi (Eastern Emilia Parks Authority). After leaving the cave, we return to the cycle path at "La Cicogna" to exit the park and reach the towns of San Lazzaro di Savena or Ozzano dell'Emilia. 

Last update 25/02/2024

Information offices

Ufficio Relazioni con il Pubblico di San Lazzaro di Savena
Piazza Luciano Bracci, 1 - San Lazzaro di Savena (BO)
+ 39 051 622 8174

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