Pilots Cities \ Bologna

PARCO DEI GIARDINI – GIARDINO DELLA CÀ BURA (44°32'20.90"N, 11°21'15.67"E)
A green area of about 10 hectares located between via dell'Arcoveggio and via dei Giardini, close to the Navile canal and the historical centre of Corticella, where new and imposing residential settlements alternate with groups of smaller houses, mostly built before the last war. The park develops around a central axis which, between two large elongated humps, connects a paved square with a gazebo that juts out over a large pond. The pond is the heart of the park and its presence is a reminder of the period when, from the middle of the last century, in the area surrounding the Navile canal, between the Battiferro lock and Corticella, numerous kilns were built and the vast areas used as clay quarries, once abandoned, ended up flooding.

PARCO NICHOLAS GREEN (44°29'50.02"N, 11°18'12.98"E)
Nicholas Green Park is a triangle of greenery stretching between the 1989 axis (which is invisible and silent) and the Certosa cemetery. It used to be the park of Villa Contri, in memory of the manor house that stood here, but for the last ten years it has been named after the American boy who was killed in 1994 (when he was only 7 years old) on the A2 Naples-Reggio Calabria motorway near Vibo Valentia, while he was travelling in Italy on his way to Sicily with his parents; the car in which they were travelling was accidentally mistaken for that of a jeweller by some robbers who attempted a robbery.

PARCO DI VILLA GHIGI (44°28'36.06"N, 11°19'23.99"E)
The park extends for about thirty hectares around an ancient noble villa on the first hills of Bologna, just outside Porta San Mamolo and within sight of the city centre. Ceded to the Municipality in 1972 by the heirs of the last owner, the zoologist Alessandro Ghigi, who had already donated a limited portion in the previous decade, the park is now one of the most pleasant public green areas in the hills of Bologna. The territory is enclosed in the so-called Valverde, a valley cut by the Fontane stream, a tributary of the Aposa torrent, which is bounded to the north by the Osservanza hill, with its imposing convent and Villa Aldini, and to the south by the Ronzano hill, at the top of which stands the ancient hermitage hidden by thick woodland.

Bologna's green assets

The public green areas of the Municipality of Bologna amount to about 1,050 hectares, roughly equivalent to 8% of the total extension of the municipal territory. The municipal green heritage is organised in parks and gardens, extensive areas (mainly located on the hills and along the river), school green areas, areas attached to public buildings and sports centres, but also street furniture green areas, with particular reference to the environmental strips that flank the main routes into the city.

Almost 70% of the green assets is made up of equipped green areas, i.e. spaces suitable for use by citizens. The large extensive parks located on the hills to the south of the city and along the watercourses that flow through the urban area (the Savena torrent to the east and the Reno river to the north) stand out for their size.

These are flanked by a number of large city parks, some of which are historic (Giardini Margherita, Parco della Montagnola, Villa Spada and Villa delle Rose, just to give a few examples), while others are modern in design, such as the Pier Paolo Pasolini park, the Nicholas Green park or those in Via dei Giardini (Ca' Bura area). A few hundred gardens and small gardens of neighbourhood importance complete the equipped green areas assets.

Within the green areas and along the city streets there are over 84,000 individually surveyed trees, 18,000 of which shade the city streets. In addition to this rich supply of trees, there are also the trees found in the forest patches, especially in the hillside parks, where it is estimated that there are another 40,000 trees.

In addition to public greenery, there is also private ornamental greenery, i.e. greenery found in the grounds and gardens of houses (villas, cottages, condominiums) which covers an area similar to that of public greenery. As a result, more than 15% of the municipal territory is covered by ornamental greenery. The endowment of private greenery is particularly concentrated in some parts of Bologna, which, due to this characteristic, have assumed the name of "garden cities".

Parco 11 settembre 2001 - Urban Park

The garden is enclosed by the wall of a former tobacco factory, established in 1801 on the site of a former convent. The tobacco fatory’s production facilities, which were bombed during the Second World War, were later demolished, thus becoming a public garden in 1981. Its tree vegetation consists mainly of linden, elm and field maple trees. A large polycormic plane tree to the south of the garden is noteworthy. The current name of the Park is a reminder of the tragedy of the 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States.



Giardini Margherita - Historical Gardens

It is the largest and most popular urban park in the city. Designed by the Piedmontese Ernesto Balbo Bertone di Sambuy to provide Bologna with a large public green space, similar to those in major Italian and European cities. It was inaugurated in 1879 as the Passeggio Regina Margherita (wife of King Umberto I). The park retains part of its original appearance, vaguely inspired by the great romantic English parks, with wide tree-lined avenues, a small lake with mock wide tree-lined avenues, a pond with fake chalk cliffs, vast areas of lawn, oak groves and other more natural corners, an array of remarkable, mainly exotic tree species (cedars, pines, horse chestnuts, plane trees, bald cypresses, a sequoia and some oak trees). On the southern side of the lake, is the short open-air stretch of the ancient Savena canal, one of the waterways that characterised the city in the Middle Ages. There are facilities of all kinds: well- equipped playgrounds for kids, a Youth Centre and annexed volleyball and basketball courts. Benches, drinking water fountains, ice cream kiosks and tennis courts make the park a popular meeting place.



Villa Bernaroli - Cultivated Public Areas

Villa Bernaroli, a late 17th-century manor house and adjacent area, is the focus of cultural and rehabilitation activities in an area of about 50 ha, including farmland, farm buildings and one of the largest horticultural areas managed by the municipality of Bologna. The rural landscape, which is still easily recognisable, preserves numerous field maple trees with 'married' vines at the edges of the fields and the presence of isolated farnias, poplars and elms. Since 2013, this intra-urban green area has been part of the "Parco Città Campagna" project, which aims to enhance and make more usable a vast area of the plains west of Bologna, between the Reno river and the Samoggia stream. Financed by the Emilia-Romagna Region, the project aims at promoting local agriculture and recovering the minor roads as tools to strengthen the identity of the rural peri-urban area and enhance the landscape and historical-cultural heritage. Four centralities have been defined (including Villa Bernaroli), which represent the main elements of identity and attraction for the area, connected by a network of bicycle and pedestrian paths, which allow to reach the most valuable areas and farms in the area:
- Total surface area: 7,300 hectares
- Tength of the route: 30 km.



Scuole Grosso - School Green

Parco Grosso is a large school green space, to which the Grosso nursery and kindergarten belong, as well as the Children's and Parents' Centre and Children's Space "Via del Grosso Tasso".
The presence of an open-air teaching room, managed by the Ghigi Foundation, makes it possible to carry out garden work, clay creations, insect nests to build and twigs to animate. There are also gardens in boxes and small ships to sail in the former swimming pool.
The park is adjacent to the Grosso primary school and the Nuova Navile nursery school of the Istituto Comprensivo 5.



Orto botanico dell’Unive rsità di Bologna – Alma Mater Studiorum - Botanical Garden

The Botanical Garden of Bologna is located in the heart of the university area. Founded in the 16th century, it is one of the oldest in Europe.
The green area, with a rectangular plan, reaches the ancient city walls. It houses particularly valuable thematic collections and reconstructions of natural environments such as a floodplain wood, a pond and a rock garden. The Botanical Garden also has four greenhouses, two tropical and two succulent. A small greenhouse houses a collection of insectivorous plants. The museum area houses a herbarium with more than 130,000 plant specimens, including the precious collections of Ulisse Aldrovandi and Antonio Bertoloni.



Verde annesso al Centro Commerci ale ‘Meraville’ - Commercial green areas for public use

Established in the first decade of 2000, at the same time as the opening of the Meraville shopping park, the green area is made up of two typologies. The first one for furnishing and shading the parking areas and consisting of ornamental tree and shrub species such as flowering pear trees, albizzie, hybrid poplar trees, lime trees, holm oaks and tamarisk trees. The second is a large artificial green hill with a large use of trees and shrubs selected from the autochthonous flora, including field maples, manna ashes, baguettes and plants of landscape and agricultural value such as the cypress poplar, planted in rows along Via San Donato.
On the top of the hill in 2018, a selection of fruit tree cultivars in old local varieties were planted.



Cimitero monumentale della Certosa - Cemetery Green

The municipal cemetery was established in 1801 by reusing the pre-existing structures of the Certosa di San Girolamo di Casara, founded in the mid- fourteenth century, suppressed in 1797 by Napoleon, and whose Church of San Girolamo is still in use. The strong passion of the nobility and the bourgeoisie for the construction of family tombs turned the Charterhouse into a veritable "open- air museum", a stop on the Italian Grand Tour: Chateaubriand, Byron, Dickens, Mommsen and Stendhal all visited it. With about 2,500 trees, the cypress is the dominant one, followed by yews, tuje, other conifers and ornamental deciduous trees.



Arredo verde ‘Asse Attrezzato’ di collegame nto tra Bologna e Casalecchio di Reno - Street Green

The so-called 'Asse Attrezzato Sud-Ovest', is a link road built in the 1970s, following and adapting to the times the project for a ring road already provided for in Bologna's first Regulatory Plan of 1889. The Bologna section is about 2.5 km long, starting north from the Prati di Caprara area and south with the bridge over the Reno river, with two separate carriageways and three lanes of traffic each, and is almost entirely built in a trench.
Two large roundabouts and the side embankments are the green road furniture consisting mainly of grassy areas and occasional patches of trees (poplars, holm oaks, Atlas cedars, etc.) alternating with informal hedges of laurel, lentigo, forsythia and lagerstroemia.



Villa Mazzacorati / Giardino Ferruccio Busoni - Private Park for Public Use

The villa today is owned by the Bologna Health Agency. The villa has always been surrounded by a vast garden, whose thick vegetation use to be vast in the surrounding estate, now much reduced. In front of the villa there are traces of an "Italian style" garden, with a fountain, some specimens of holm oaks, yews, cedars and thorny oranges. There is also a small greenhouse housing a collection of tropical orchids.



Villa Ghigi - Nature Trail

The park extends for about thirty hectares around an ancient noble villa on the first hills of Bologna, in view of the city centre. Ceded to the municipal administration in 1972 by the heirs of the last owner, the zoologist Alessandro Ghigi, the park is now one of the most pleasant public green areas in the hills around Bologna. The territory is enclosed in the so-called Valverde, a valley cut by the Fontane stream, a tributary of the Aposa torrent, which is bounded to the north by the Osservanza hilli, and to the south by the Ronzano hill, at the top of which stands the ancient hermitage hidden by thick woodland.
The villa is flanked by the small caretaker's house, now used as a refreshment point, near which is the old ice-house.

Wide meadows marked by rows of old fruit trees and long grassy hollows occupy most of the area, which also includes a few vineyards and various wooded patches, different in origin and characteristics, with strips of natural woodland and more recent plantings. A relict but interesting beech wood stands out, surrounded by strips of oak woodland, planted at the end of the 19th century and now reserved for guided tours. Both the meadows and the wooded areas are characterised by a great floristic richness, already documented in scientific works of the last century. In the central area of the park, the compact frame of ornamental greenery stands out, with numerous exotic evergreen species and majestic trees, which surrounds the uninhabited villa. Evidence of the area's strong agrarian connotation is also the presence of two farmhouses, including the Palazzino, now restored and home to the Villa Ghigi Foundation, which has been managing the park since 2004.

The Palazzino is also a support point for the educational activities for schools organised by the Foundation. Thanks to careful management aimed at safeguarding spontaneous species and to a series of extraordinary interventions on the paths and the surface water regulation network, the park has now regained its past charm and expresses its full potential.


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