Owning real estate in Emilia Romagna allows you to pursue a variety of outdoor sports and leisure activities. A stone farmhouse make an excellent base to enjoy canoeing, skiing, mountain climbing, and cycling, to name just a few. And when you are not there, why not rent it? so it pays for itself.
Sporting activities in the open air have always been one of the best ways to live to the full the particular environment of the mountains. The Apennines offer a wide variety of possibilities with a vast range of excellent facilities operating all year round that allow the practice of a huge number of sports.
Apart from horse riding, golf, cycling and hiking the Apennines offers a number of sports for the more adventurous.
Thanks to their particular geographical characteristics, the Apennines are the ideal location for alternative sports. These are generally sports practiced by people in vast open spaces rather than in enclosed, localised facilities such as for traditional sports. These sports can be practiced throughout the four seasons, mainly in the higher Apennines where the landscape of the territory and the uninhabited spaces are most suited to this type of sport. There are long trails for hiking, mountain bike riding and horse riding as well as others for trial motorcycles. Other trails are there to be discovered through orienteering. The innumerable torrents and mountain streams are ideal for a number of sports ranging from "no-kill" fishing, to canoeing, and "torrenting". The wide open spaces, the craggy cliffs and enchanting mountain landscapes are particularly suited to hang-gliding and para-gliding. For thrill seekers we must not neglect rock climbing, ski-mountaineering and extreme skiing on the highest Apennine peaks.
Free climbing and rock climbing enthusiasts will find a natural training ground in the spring and summer months on the Pietra di Bismantova located close to Castelnovo ne Monti. The local climbing association provides information, guides and recommended routes. You can also rock climb at Sassi di Varana, near the town of Serramazzoni. This huge mass makes an excellent natural rock climbing "gym" for enthusiasts.
In spring the mountain streams and torrents are swollen with water and provide the opportunity to canoe and explore deep gorges or zigzag through racing rapids while admiring breathtaking mountain scenery that otherwise would be impossible to see. In the lower reaches the difficulty lessens but there is no less enjoyment in the river descent. There are many tracts where it is possible to canoe including the Scoltenna, Leo, Ospitale torrents and the Rio Perticara and Panaro river.
Hang-Gliding And Para-Gliding
These particularly exhilarating sports are attracting an ever increasing number of enthusiasts, particularly para-gliding which requires less bulky and more easily transported equipment. It is possible to fly over almost all the Apennine territory with cliffs suitable for take off and plains for landing in all parts of the area. The best locations in the Reggiano Apennines are Mt Cusna which is the highest peak in the Apennine region at 2120 m, Modenese Apennines include Monfestino, the whole Cimone area, and in particular Sestola (Pian di Falco and Casine), Montecreto (Seggiovia), Fiumalbo (Pian Cavallaro, landing on Doccia), Fanano (Pratignana), Montese, with the Montello peak. The Bologna Apennines offer launching locations in the area of Vergato (Monte Pero and Cereglio) and Castel d'Aiano. There are schools for beginners almost everywhere.
This sport has become very popular over the last few years at every altitude in the Apennines with all those wanting to measure their physical and cycling capacities on nature trails and excursions. By now almost every town authority has created permanent bicycle trails. These are frequently "ring" shaped, such as the longest trail for mountain bikes in the Apennines, the "Cimone Ring", a demanding 45 km trail with very little road linking the four townships that circle the Cimone mountain — Fanano, Sestola, Montecreto and Riolunato. Other trails are to be found at Fanano, Pievepelago (Via Vandelli) and at Savigno (the "Settechiese" trail). Mention must also be made of the downhill trails at Sestola (Pian del Falco) and at Montecreto (Monte Cervarola). In the Modenese Apennines a B.A.M. course (Modenese Apennine Diploma) is organised every year from May to October. It involves following new mountain bike trails through history and nature, and the finishers who obtain the Diploma receive prizes related to tourism.
This sport has been imported from Northern Europe and is becoming increasingly popular in Italy. It puts to the test one's ability to orient oneself in an unknown territory armed only with a map and compass. The competition takes place in stages and points are awarded. There is an area dedicated to this sport at S. Anna Pelago (Pievepelago).
The Apennine torrents are famous for the abundance of fish such as trout and fly fishing along their banks is an increasingly popular activity. Over the last few years there has been an increase in the so-called no-kill fishing — a manner of fishing that respects the environment and that is purely limited to the enjoyment of the sport. The areas dedicated to this sport are defined and governed by the Provincial Fauna Regulations. In the Modenese Apennines the following areas have been designated for this sport and are clearly sign-posted — "Fario" (Fiumalbo), Ponte della Fola (Pievepelago / Riolunato), Prugneto (Scoltenna torrent), "Campo di Gara" (Leo torrent), Docciola, Cave di Govi and Casona (Panaro river).
Skiing And Mountaineering
The snow which generously covers the higher reaches of the High Apennines provides not only traditional winter sports but also a number of other exciting activities. An unusual way to follow forest trails, the ancient medieval roads and the numerous mountain tracks is excursion skiing with cross-country skis. Skiing and mountaineering, on the other hand, requires specific equipment and involves climbing the highest peaks such as Giovo, Rondinaio, Libro Aperto, Cimone and Spigolino and skiing down the steepest slopes. Also on the most 'heart-stopping' slopes, expert skiers can try out their extreme skiing skills in dangerous and thrilling conditions. In any case, due to the hidden dangers that snow can veil, is it always advisable to undertake these activities only with the appropriate equipment, up-to-date information and the right training as well as with professional Guides if necessary.
Please see our Guide to Skiing in The Apennines
A new sport, a youthful and unusual approach to mountain hiking in the Apennines practiced by lovers of nature at its wildest. It involves following water courses through canyons, ravines and dangerous gorges where the water flows through rapids or over waterfalls. In the Frignano area there are qualified guides who can accompany particularly adventurous tourists along the torrents of the High Apennines. Treks lasting a few days that go from valley to valley, but always follow water, are also organised.
Motorcycle Trial Riding
This sport is also enjoying an increased following. It is certainly not a traditional way of immersing oneself in nature and, precisely because of the means used, it is strictly practiced only along prepared trails that are clearly sign-posted to limit the impact on the environment. Permanent sign-posted trails for trial motorbikes are to be found at Fanano and Montecreto. The itineraries often include tracts along the sandy or stony banks of mountain streams to the delight of and challenging the enthusiasts of this sport.
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