Among rivers, waterfalls, nature reserves, lakes and big benches, here you find 10 outdoor trips in the province of Modena that you have to put on your agenda during your stay!
Finally here we are… the summer is about to begin and the desire to go out and enjoying the nature is great, isn’t it? We really needed it, I know!
So let’s start this new season with some ideas for pleasant outdoor trips.
Ready to go?
Before starting, let me give you a necessary premise.
I going to tell you about some very distinctive places in the province of Modena for their naturalistic beauties.
They are perfect destinations for wonderful trips out of town in order to discover the province of Modena and to immerse in the beauty of the nature.
However, even though I live in Modena, I haven’t visited them all yet 😉
Some are far from the city and it’s necessary to plan at least a full day for the visit.
Anyway, I want to introduce them the same for at least 3 reasons… because I have looking for information about them, because they are wonderful experiences if you want to immerse yourself for few hours in the most uncontaminated nature of my territory and because they are at the top of my agenda!
Out of town trips in Modena: discovering unique places in the area
1) Marano sul Panaro River Park: a day trip at the river
Located about 30 minutes far from Modena, Marano sul Panaro is a small town on the first hills of the province of Modena, overlooking the banks of Panaro river.
Here, on via Fondovalle, the River Park develops itself.
To reach it, take the Strada Vignolese and once you have passed Vignola, continue following the signs: the entrance of the park is located just ahead of the center of Marano, on the left.
“Marano beach”, as we locals commonly call it, is very popular place in summer.
It is difficult to find someone from Modena who has never spent a Sunday here sunbathing, relaxing and maybe having a barbecue!
Inside the park there is a large area equipped with tables, wooden benches and grills, where you can go upon request to the manager.
In addition to this area there are other services including a kiosk bar, a children’s playground and a stage for events and concerts.
At the Marano River Park you can relax lying in the sun or in the shade, if you prefer, take long walks on the trails, explore the surroundings by bicycle or swim in the river!
>>> Read also my article about Marano River Park
2) Bucamante Waterfalls
About 30 minutes by car from Modena, near Serramazzoni, in the locality of Granarolo, there is a magical place: the beautiful Bucamante waterfalls.
Their name is connected with perhaps the most romantic legend the Modenese Apennines.
The story tells of the forbidden love between Odina, a noblewoman, and Titiro, a simple shepherd.
Faced with the impossibility of living their love, they decide to throw themselves embraced in the falls: in this way their love would be last for the eternity.
Therefore, the name “Bucamante” derives from the union of the two words “buca” (=hole) and “amante” (=lover) (that is, the hole of lovers).
To visit the waterfalls you can take two paths: Odina, the low one, that runs along the river, and Titiro, the high one that looks at it from above.
Both are very affordable also by the children who walk independently.
Only a precaution: wear a good pair of sneakers with soles that grip the ground.
If you choose to follow the lower path, you will be able to enjoy the walk along the stream and during the summer, cool off in its clear and fresh waters.
There are many open areas along the path where you can rest and enjoy the view.
The most beautiful glimpse is the one at the end of the walk where you find the main waterfall: majestic and beautiful!
Bucamante waterfalls are wonderful to visit at all the year: in summer the water will not abound but the vegetation will be luxuriant, in autumn and spring, thanks to the rains, it will be more conspicuous but the vegetation and the weather will be very different.
I love this place, it has an incredible charm!
>>> Read about my experience at Bucamante Waterfall here
3) Parco Regionale dei Sassi di Roccamalatina
Located on the Modenese Apennines, the Regional Park of “Sassi di Rocca Malatina” covers about 2,300 hectares between the municipalities of Marano sul Panaro, Guiglia and Zocca.
It is a wonderful place that certainly requires some time to be visited.
In the heart of this area the three characteristics pinnacles stand out: they are 3 peaks of sandstone, probably used in the 7th century by Byzantines to defend the area of “Pieve di Trebbio” from the Lombards.
This park offers an extremely interesting habitat because of its highly varied flora and fauna concentrated in a small space.
Here, among chestnut woods, clayey gullies that follow to gentle hills, where you can find pastures, orchards and vineyards, over 80 different species of bird nests (the peregrine falcon is one of them) and 40 species of mammals live (wolves, roe deer, fallow deer, badgers, foxes, stone martens and porcupines)
This Regional Park is a perfect ecosystem, a territory recognized unique and protected by the European Union.
Inside the park there are over 100 kilometers of trails and 12 itineraries to go by foot, by mountain bike and on horseback.
Then, among churches, villages, rests of ancient medieval fortifications and museums that celebrate local specialties (such as Borlengo and Chestnut) your experience at the Sassi di Roccamalatina Regional Park will be not only naturalistic but will also have an historical/cultural value.
>>> Read more on VisitModena website
4) Nirano Salse Natural Reserve
Nirano Salses Nature Reserve, the first to be established in Emilia Romagna, is located in Fiorano, in a hilly area of badlands.
The “Sauces” are a geological phenomenon of international significance.
The origin of the name is due to the high salt content found in muddy waters.
Originating from deposits of mainly gaseous hydrocarbons, such as methane, they are emissions of clayey, salty and cold mud, which, brought to the surface, settles along the opening creating typical cone formations, which seems little volcanoes even a few meters high.
The access to the area is free and open on the indicated paths, equipped with information signs.
However, it is possible to book a guide for more information on this very unique terrestrial activity.
>>> Read more on VisitModena website
5) Doccione Waterfalls
The wonderful Doccione waterfalls are the highest in the Modena area.
Located at an altitude of 1,190 meters, along the Rio Fellicarolo, they have an height of 120 meters, 24 of which in vertical.
They are beautiful to visit in all seasons of the year.
In winter, the freezing water creates beautiful reflections and sculptures with strange shapes, while in summer vegetation is luxuriant and the fresh water, that flows, quickly regenerates and relaxes.
This experience is really beautiful and easily accessible to everyone since the waterfalls can be reached easily, walking along a short and very comfortable path (also in wheelchairs), which begins at the road that leads to “I Taburri” street.
6) Ninfa Lake
Located at 1,500 meters above the sea level, on the slopes of Monte Cimone, Ninfa Lake is the most romantic stretch of water in the Modenese Apennines.
It impresses for its peaceful green waters which reflect the image of the coniferous and beech forests that surround it.
Ninfa Lake is the arrival point of one of the Cimone ski resorts and you can easily reach it by car from Sestola.
I frequented it often when I was a young girl.
I remember the hours spent lying on the lawn chatting with friends and relaxing ourselves.
Even today I like to take a stroll around it, both in summer and in winter, when the landscape becomes a magical snowy postcard.
You should go also to eat traditional food specialties in the refuges located on their shores.
7) Lake Scaffaiolo
Lake Scaffaiolo can be reached from Capanno Tassoni, a refuge located at about 1,300 meters above the sea level in the surroundings of Ospitale (Fanano).
Starting from here, both by car, driving on a dirt road, or by foot in about an hour, via the CAI path number 413, which crosses beautiful woods, you can arrive at the Croce Arcana, a wrought iron cross that marks the border between Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna.
The panorama that you can admire from here (at 1,670 m) is incredible: stop and look at the peaks of Abetone, Libro Aperto and Cimone.
From Croce Arcana pass, continuing by foot, take the panoramic path that runs along the ridge and after about an hour and a half of an easy walk, you will reach the beautiful Lake Scaffaiolo located at 1,780 meters at the foot of Monte Cupolino.
This lake is fed mainly by rainwater and snowfields and probably also by an underground aquifer.
It is a very suggestive lake, even mentioned by Boccaccio.
Once here, enjoy this pleasant stop by sitting along its banks or entering in the Duca degli Abruzzi refuge, the first refuge in the history of the Apennines, inaugurated in 1878!
>>> Read also my article about my pleasant excursion to Lake Scaffaiolo
8) Lake Pratignano
Lake Pratignano is located about a 2-hour walk on a dirt path from Ospitale, in the municipality of Fanano, within the beautiful plateau and covered with meadows overlooking Ospitale and Dardagna valleys.
It is a precious mine of biodiversity and a unique example of a peat bog in all of northern Italy, fed by rainwater and snow and surrounded by a vast prairie.
Its marshy waters, up to 4-5 meters deep, are an ideal habitat for the very rare carnivorous plant Drosera Rotundifolia.
In autumn this place is chosen by numerous species of birds that stop to rest during the migration.
The “Beak of the Eagle”, a large spur of rock, dominates the lake from its eastern side.
From here you can admire the entire Dardagna valley but climb to the top is not for everyone and is not recommended for those who do not like height.
On its Bolognese side, on the other hand, there is a small cove called the “Cave of Fairies”: according to the legend, three evil fairies live here and during the foggy days attract travelers to drown them.
9) Lake Santo and Lake Baccio
Located at a height of 1,501 meters, Lake Santo is the largest lake in the Modena Apennines and is considered one of the most beautiful.
Its waters of glacial origin are fed by three tributary rivers.
The dense vegetation of beech, fir and larch trees surround it make the landscape incredible.
This lake is easily accessible by car, so it is very popular in the summer.
To fully enjoy the experience, walk the path that runs along its banks, stopping to taste something typical in one of the three alpine refuges: Giovo, Vittoria and Marchetti.
Just a kilometer away, there is Lake Baccio at 1,554 meters, another pearl of rare beauty.
It has a characteristic oval shape and it is surrounded by a suggestive beech forest.
Here the atmosphere is wilder and more untouched!
10) The Big Bench of Prignano sulla Secchia
Big Benches are large benches scattered all over northern Italy and designed by the American artist Chris Bangle.
They are particular installations (large-scale benches) which, positioned in strategic and panoramic points, give the opportunity to admire wonderful scenarios.
The one in Modena is located in Prignano sulla Secchia and was inaugurated on 8th August 2020.
It was positioned on Monte Pedrazzo, at an altitude of 870 meters, and offers visitors a wonderful view of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines.
To reach it you can take by car from the town center via del Monte and park in the first paved clearing on your left.
Via del Monte still continues all the way to the right and it’s paved but it becomes very narrow and it is usually used only by residents who reach their houses.
Unfortunately, going up to the hill you will no longer find a convenient parking spaces but only private areas.
Obviously parking at the beginning, the walk gets longer but it is definitely safer and more reasonable especially if there are many visitors.
Going up you will find on the way different indications to reach the Big Bench.
The route is easy and for everyone (even for children, but it’s better if they walk!) and from the parking area it takes about 30 minutes.
>>> READ MY ARTICLE ON THE BIG BENCH IN MODENA
All the places I told you about in this article can be reached in a day from Modena, even if for some of them is necessary to wake up early in the morning.
If you desire to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the Modena area, these places are certainly the 10 destinations not to be missed.
I hope to have given you some interesting ideas for planning wonderful days, full of beauty and relax.
I promise you to keep my agenda updated by visiting the places I miss and implementing the photos in this article.