This year too the Ramblers’ Association of Malta with the help of rambler friends from Bologna organised an 8-day rambling and cultural tour in Emilia-Romagna. No fewer than twelve Italians accompanied us on the various walks and cultural visits.
Based in the 4-star Admiral Park Hotel beautifully situated in a green area a few kilometres away from the historical centre of the city, with the small Lavino river flowing just some metres away from the hotel, the thirty-five participants could enjoy a pleasant and peaceful walk along its banks thickly lined with trees, shrubs and undergrowth, or climb the steep wooded hill behind the hotel.
The group had a guided tour to the historical centre of Bologna, another guided visit to two churches in Ravenna to admire some of the world famous Byzantine mosaics there, a 2-hour walk in the Po Delta Natural Reserve and a visit to the quaint fishing village of nearby Comacchio.
The rest of the days a private coach carried the Maltese Ramblers and their Italian friends to the starting place for long and longer, moderate and harder, walks in the very green, even wild, hilly surroundings of Bologna. The area enjoys an astounding number of such walks along sign-posted paths maintained by the CAI and other local rambling organizations. These same groups took upon themselves the difficult task of clearing the many blocked paths from debris and uprooted trees, following last winter’s strong winds, heavy rains and snow. Being daytime, we saw neither the deer, nor the boars, nor the wolves which inhabit these hills, but we did see very many birds.
A quite emotional walk was the one on Monte Sole near the village of Marzabotto, scene of some horrible actions by Nazi SS against innocent children, women and old persons. Another walk took the Ramblers along the well-known, nearly 4 kilometre long, monumental roofed portico which snakes all the way down to Bologna city from the sanctuary of San Luca allowing magnificent views of the green surroundings.
With an eye on safety for the walkers, the last walk prepared for Monte Adone had to be abandoned halfway through due to bad weather conditions which made the trail slippery and dangerous.
Though the treks were quite tiring, the participants still found the time to enjoy quiz nights and a video-talk about a trekking itinerary in Amalfi drawn up by the well-known Italian rambler Roberto Mezzacasa with whose great help our Association has organized other successful tours in Italy.