Just outside the centre of Bologna, whether you drive along Via Emilia, you head towards the plains to the north or you head into the nearby Apennines, you will find villages and hamlets scattered around to admire for their unique beauty.
Here are six not to be missed over three days in the area around Bologna.
For tourists who wish to venture out with a curious eye and a camera in hand, Borgo La Scola is the ideal starting point for this itinerary.
One of the best-preserved hamlets in the area, it enjoys a strategic position amongst the peaks of the Apennines, towering over the valley below. The settlement is rather small, and in just a few hours you will have captured every angle with your camera or smartphone.
Another jewel in the crown is Castel del Rio, located in one of Italy's richest chestnut groves.
The sweet chestnuts which grow here are, indeed, protected by PGI certification, which governs their production.
Castel del Rio is a typical Apennine hamlet along the valley of the Santerno river, and its most photogenic location is probably the Ponte Alidosi bridge.
One stop that you absolutely must not miss is Dozza, in the area of Imola, one of the prettiest hamlets in Italy.
Dozza is a genuine open-air museum, given that various great artists have used the walls of the village's houses as the perfect canvas for their creations since the 1960s.
The Biennale del Muro Dipinto is, indeed, a historic painting exhibition which has to date seen the contribution of hundreds of artists, allowing the walls of the hamlet to be embellished by wall-art masterpieces which make perfect photographic subjects.
Modelled on Bologna, Pieve di Cento offers visitors an historic centre which dates back to the 1500s.
Just like the city it is modelled on, the village’s porticoes will be the main attraction for your shots.
The village is full of history and retains the city plan of the Roman castrum, with the addition of the 9th-century parish church, then the medieval and Renaissance-Baroque town.
Travelling through the flat, green expanses of the plains north of Bologna, you will come across San Giovanni in Persiceto, cradle of a renewed urban street art which embraces the history and traditions of the village.
A mandatory stop is Piazzetta Betlemme, known as “Piazzetta degli inganni”, a wonderful example of urban reclamation, where there is a unique atmosphere amongst the cafés and bars with the walls of the houses adorned with artworks.
Finally, the itinerary turns towards Modena, to Bazzano.
In this border village, the ancient Rocca dei Bentivoglio castle offers an exhilarating backdrop for some memorable shots, as well as being the lynchpin of the city's history since before the turn of the first millennium.