Visit Lugo and surrounds: from the town to the sea, along San Vitale

Lugo rises up right in the middle of ‘Bassa Romagnola’, along Via San Vitale that connects Bologna with Ravenna. You can choose your own way in which to discover, get to know and experience this welcoming territory, whether as a cyclist, music lover, through art and culture, engines, or simply quality relaxation.

Stereotypes paint ‘Bassa’, as it is affectionately referred to by its inhabitants, as a monotonous dull and predictable land. Nothing could be further from the truth. It simply bursts with history, legend and famous sons and daughters. It will not fail to amaze you both from a landscape and historical point of view, without even mentioning the delightful local traditions. This is a land that enjoys intimate connections with its origins: swamps first, then reclaimed, today it features crops that spread out as far as the eye can see, and that suddenly then give way to rows and rows of fruit trees, with their pretty flowers in the springtime, then gardens, mediaeval towers, rustic courtyards and villas. Autumn and winter may see you enwrapped in the typical fog, so just let it surround you and enjoy the coddled, surreal, intimate, almost poetic ambiance created.

HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY IN AND AROUND LUGO AND ALONG SAN VITALE

In the area around Lugo and along the historic San Vitale, once Strada Salaria, meaning 'salt road’ and named thus due to the fact that it brought the valuable salt from the salt works of Cervia to Emilia, there is no shortage of points of interest. Yet again, the unjustified reputation of the monotonous ‘Bassa’ is proved wrong. Historical evidence of the intense past, from prehistoric times until today, can be seen everywhere you look.

The whole of the area of Villanova di Castenaso is of great archaeological interest. This little town lies just a few kilometres away from Bologna, and provides the origins for the so-called ‘Villanovian civilisation’. It was here that a necropolis from the Iron Age (9th – 6th Century B.C.) was discovered, whose remains are preserved at the Bologna Archaeological Civic Museum, as well as a Neolithic settlement in San Lazzaro di Savena, the Farneto Cave.

As you head towards Bologna, many little picturesque villages dot the countryside, preserving all or part of their defensive walls, towers and strongholds: Bagnara di Romagna, Castel Guelfo, Medicina... The latter in particular, appears for the first time in official documents in 885, and see its history, almost legend, linked to Federico Barbarossa. It is therefore by no coincidence that each year, September holds a great Mediaeval festival to celebrate Barbarossa.

Just a few kilometres away from Lugo, in S. Maria in Fabriago, heading towards Conselice, the ancient parish church of Campanile is well worth a visit. This church dates back to the 16th century and was built in Roman times, with an imposing bell tower from the 8th-9th century, decorated by Roman single-light, twin-light and three-light windows.

THE MEDICINA RADIO TELESCOPE

30 km away from Lugo, and a few kilometres from Medicina, in the area of Fiorentina, provides the home to the radio astronomic station of the Croce del Nord radio telescope, an integral part of an international system of radio telescopes synchronised between Europe and America.

NOBLE VILLAS AND CASTLES ALONG SAN VITALE

The surrounds are marked by a significant number of noble villas and rural homes, that are often real agricultural villages to all intents and purposes. Although not always well preserved, they bear witness to the greatness of the Bologna land-owning families between the Renaissance period and up to the start of the 1900s. 18th century Villa Coralupi stands out, as does Villa Albergata, with its Palladian style. Villa Marana (17th century) is also interesting, still featuring some of the original decorations taken from Freed Jerusalem. In Marano, we then have Villa Orsi - originally built during the late 1500s, it was restored in the 17th century. Near Budrio, in Bagnarola, a complex of villas and noble palaces from the Bologna Malvezzi-Campeggi family (17th-18th century) rises up, the result of different architectonic periods. It is immersed in beautiful parkland, and boasts the annexed church of S. Maria Maddalena. The Manzoli Castle in S. Martino in Soverzano dates back to 1411, and is again worth a visit, if you time it carefully. Each year, and for just one day in October, it opens its gates to the public. In Selva Malvezzi, you can then admire the Palazzaccio, a feudal complex whose origins date back to the 15th century, and which consists of a fortified count's palace connected to the village centre, hospital and church.

Lugo is in a privileged position as compared with the main cities of the area, that can all be reached in just a short time: approximately 40/45 minutes down the motorway for Bologna, Ferrara in an hour’s drive along a fairly empty road, and Ravenna in just 20 minutes down a very convenient dual carriageway. It is also near the sea: having reached Ravenna, 10 minutes will take you to the beach to enjoy the movement of the summer months on the Ravenna coasts and much, much more. Read the more in-depth information provided for further details on these three interesting cities.

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