Ciclovie dei Parchi Cycling Routes – The Gessi di Gaibola Cycling Route
Partenza: San Lazzaro di Savena Railway Station
Tempo di percorrenza: half day
Dislivello: 200 m
Lunghezza: 21 km (including the detour to the WWF Molino Grande River Reserve)
This route is a relatively short route along foothills but does include some significant climbs.
The ring route can be reached from either the San Lazzaro or Ozzano railway stations.
The route starts in town but leads to the park entrance, where you’ll find an uncommon rock, gypsum, and the karst areas featuring dolines (large funnel-shaped basins with swallow holes at the bottom), groves, former crop lands and small cliffs. The river environment supports poplars, willows and black alders, with undergrowth comprising mainly the European cornel, elderberry, field maple and common dogwood.
Once you’ve reached Pizzocalvo and its small church, head south and at the first crossroads you may wish to take a detour along the Idice Stream to cycle through the WWF Molino Grande River Reserve. Further, ahead, the Idice Stream passes the Via Montebello archaeological site to then rejoin the main route.
Otherwise, from Pizzocalvo, you may choose to head up directly to Gaibola on a steep paved road that quickly turns into a dirt road, reaching the gypsum karst areas that are riddled with wood-covered dolines and the spectacular spring blossoms of geophytes (snowdrop, two-leaf squill, dogtooth violet). Cycle along the large Gaibola, Ronzana and Inferno dolines until you reach the paved road, Via dell’Eremo, which will take you down on the right to the Zena valley floor. Once you’ve passed the “Luigi Fantini” park center and the nearby Farneto Cave, an archaeologically and historically significant site that is now also an educational and tourist center, you will arrive at the La Cicogna locality, where you can rejoin the cycle route heading to the San Lazzaro train station or continue on Via Palazzetti to the Ozzano train station.