Itinerary for "refined palates" in Valsamoggia, in the hinterland of Bologna. A fertile hilly area where, along ancient roads traced by history, there are fortresses, villages, and abbeys.
Rolling hills, alternating with harsh gullies, outline the horizon of one of the most beautiful natural parks of the territory, where the magical sunsets are enlivened by the scent of vines and wine.
About twenty kilometers from the center of Bologna, along the road to which it owes its name, you get to Bazzano, the "heart" of Valsamoggia, which has expanded over the centuries around its ancient fortress.
The origins of the fascinating fortress predate the year 1000, while the current appearance dates back to the Renaissance.
Inside you can visit the ancient halls, starting from the major one, called "Of the Giants", which has an architectural score of columns, within which are framed landscapes and large figures of armed guards with coats of arms painted on their shields.
Also of interest is the adjacent Sala del Camino (Fireplace Room) and the suggestive Sala dei Ghepardi (Cheetah Room), decorated with the cheetah motif within a pomegranate frame.
The first floor houses the Civic Archaeological Museum, which occupies five rooms in which you can admire finds from the Valleys of Samoggia, Lavino and Reno referable to a large chronological arc between the Mesolithic Age and the Renaissance.
Thanks to the activity of the Rocca dei Bentivoglio Foundation, during the year it is home to events, exhibitions and other initiatives that make the visit even more interesting.
Continuing along the same road you reach Monteveglio, an enchanting fortified village that sits, together with the ancient Abbey of Santa Maria Assunta, on the top of a hill overlooking the valley.
The origins of the castle date back to the year 1000 and of the original fortification, the beautiful arched door and a massive castle tower remain, both surmounted by dovetail battlements, from which you can admire a beautiful view of the surrounding hills.
Proceeding between the ancient stone houses, you get to the Abbey, whose construction dates back to 1092. Inside there is the apse and the crypt of the tenth century, with a Lombard holy water stoup, which is very evocative.
Attached to the church are two cloisters: one from the fifteenth-century, the other more ancient, which looks out over the plain from a panoramic position.
The building is of ancient origins and some scholars believe that in this area there was once a pagan temple. Of course, the current church is pre-Romanesque and Romanesque, with a beautiful facade characterized by a bright mullioned window, rebuilt at the beginning of the thirteenth century and since then never modified.
The village of Monteveglio is the starting point for the many excursions suitable for everyone, which you can do within the Regional Park of the Abbey of Monteveglio, a protected area where you can walk in contact with nature, along ancient paths and pilgrimage routes, like the Little Cassia, and admire the spectacular morphology of the gullies.
To refresh yourself at the end of the walk, the surroundings are dotted with numerous wine cellars and farmhouses where, along with typical dishes of the area, including the inevitable fried "crescentine", you can taste the wines of the hills, among which the most well known is certainly Pignoletto, a white wine that takes its name from a small hilly town in front of Monteveglio.
In 2010, Pignoletto obtained the denomination DOCG; usually still and dry, it can also be found in sparkling and sweet sparkling versions.
At the time of the harvest, we recommend tasting the Saslà grape, an ancient recovered variety with a delicious flavor.