Two Immense Lakes in the Bolognese Apennines

by Maria E. Bellini

About the area

Many major Italian cities are located just a short trip away from some incredible countryside!
The city of Bologna, in the region of Emilia-Romagna, is one of these. Famed for its pillaring medieval towers, its ‘tortellino‘ navel-shaped stuffed pasta, for over 40km of elegant porticoed sidewalks that meander through the spectacular city centre and also for being home to Italy’s oldest and liveliest University.

But drive south just over an hour away, into the Bolognese Apennines and you reach the peaceful settings of the Parco Regionale dei Laghi di Suviana e Brasimone (also known as the Parco dei Laghi) which translates into – The Regional Park of Lake Suviana and Lake Brasimone. Over 33 square kilometers of gentle hills, sloping valleys, gritty gullies and verdant mountains awaits you – with altitude ranging from a modest 468 mt, right up to the summit of Mount Calvi at 1,283 metres above sea level.

Dams and reSuviana Dam in the Regional Park of Lakes Suviana and Brasimone, Itlayservoirs

The Park takes it’s name from the two lakes – Suviana and Brasimone, which are in fact artificial reservoirs. Built in the last century by the Italian Railways, together with the Dam of Suviana, as part of a complex hydroelectric power plant. Still in use today, the station provides power to the Bologna-Florence railway line.



Home to wild boar and deer, The Parco dei Laghi is also adorned with abundant woodland. Oak, beech, chestnut, maple, hornbeam, hawthorn and pine trees cover over three quarters of the area, making sure there’s plenty of shade for relaxing walks.

wild boar - in Italian - "cinghiale"
Wild boar – in Italian – “cinghiale”

Opportunities for walking and running

The Parco dei Laghi is criss-crossed by many C.A.I. waymarked routes.
Even the long distance path: “l’Alta via dei Parchi” (500k that covers 500k of Apennines, mountains, parks, and nature reserves across the entire region of Emilia-Romagna) passes through the Park.
However there are plenty of shorter trails for you to enjoy!

“Lake Suviana to Lake Brasimone” route
This is great route for a hearty walk or mid paced trail run – a short distance but with a moderate climb, for more information, see our dedicated page.

You can obtain information regarding the area and waymarked routes, in one of the Park’s Visitors Centres.

And also from: L’Escursionista editore – Map publishers – with area map HERE

Activities available in the Park

Famed for its vastness, Lake Suviana is a highly popular destination during the summer months. Going under the name of “Suviana Beach” it’s enjoyed by locals looking to escape the muggy heat of Bologna and the lowlands. The lake is a hub for all sorts of water sports, with clubs and schools offering varied activities. You can try your hand at sailing, windsurf, or canoeing. Or just enjoy the surroundings and relax by the shores – swimming is possible in certain areas.

Also in the area


With stone buildings dating back from the 16th century, the tiny hamlet of Chiapporato in Camugnano, protected by the steep incline of Mount Calvi is worth a visit. Enjoy the silence that permeates this enchanting, abandoned village. Feel the timeless memories etched into the sturdy masonry that used to house coal merchants, shepherds and woodsmen of yesteryear.

Castiglione South African cemetery

The cemetery contains 502 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War. See this page for more details.

Rocchetta Mattei - An incredible Castle near The Regional Park of Lake Suviana and Brasimone, Bologna, ItalyRocchetta Mattei Castle

We cover this Castle in our article OFF TRAIL! – Rocchetta Mattei. This highly eclectic construction was built in the 19th century by the polyhedric Count Cesare Mattei (1809-1896) as a centre for his alternative-medical invention which he named “Electro-Homoeopathy”.
The castle is a feast for the eyes. A mixture of architectonic styles, eccentricity and symbolism make this recently restored historical home unmissable. Check out the photos on the Rocchetta Mattei official website.

Italy on Trail TIP: Booking your visit may be necessary


A1 motorway Bologna-Firenze: exit at Pian del Voglio Follow the signs for the Park taking you through Castiglione dei Pepoli.
SS 64 Porrettana: coming from Bologna, go towards Camugnano, follow signs to Park.
SS 325 Val Bisenzio: go from Prato to Castiglione dei Pepoli, follow signs to Park.
From Pistoia: in Traviano, proceed towards Suviana, follow signs to Park.


The Regional Park of Lake Suviana and Lake Brasimone – in English

Apennino Bolognese in English 


Maria E. BelliniMaria Elisabetta Bellini is’s founder, born in the U.K, she came to running whilst living in Italy, where she still lives and trains. Never ceasing to marvel at what’s at the summit of a hill, or around the bend along the trail, she loves using trail running as a means to explore nature, contemplation and Italy.

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