This stage is divided between the city and the hills, starting in the center of Bologna, in the picturesque area of the Quadrilatero, home to food stalls, typical shops and lively bars and taverns, in front of the Shrine of Santa Maria della Vita. Crossing the city center, passing through Piazza Maggiore, Via d’Azeglio and Via Saragozza, we reach the Portico di San Lucathe longest in the world, which protects the pilgrims climbing to the Basilica. Immediately after the crossing of the Bolognese Hillsbegins, sweet landscapes and rich vegetation that accompany walkers through various green areas until the arrival to Rastignano.
VIA MATER DEI
Bologna - Rastignano
Not to be missed
Monte Paderno Park
Opened to the public in 1974, the Monte Paderno Park has an area of over 26 hectares and is located about 5 kilometers from Porta San Mamolo. It occupies the summit area of Mount Paderno, 356 meters high (highest of the suburban hills), and offers beautiful views of the surrounding woods, meadows and badlands.
The park is one of the largest in the Bolognese hills, entered by a long avenue of cypresses leading to Villa Selvetta. Two old ash trees demarcate the entrance. The charming flora are a spectacle of colour in spring and its woods and meadows are a favourite summer destination for young people from Bologna who love to sunbathe and picnic here. The path crosses the woods passing by a small lake.
Forte Bandiera Park
Typical park with the fundamental characteristics of the traditional hills landscape: meadows interrupted by rows of fruit trees, hedges, wooded areas, beautiful views of Bologna, Rastignano, the Savena valley and the hills as far as the Reno. It extends around the hills of Jola and Bandiera. The latter is linked to the name of a family that in the 1700s owned various assets in the area, including the Casino Bandiera right at the top of the hill, where today a row of cypresses stands out. The current name also recalls a fortification erected on the top in 1860: nothing of it is left today.
Parish of Rastignano (1st stage arrival)
Rastignano is the first stop on the Via Mater Dei. The beautiful Santi Pietro e Girolamo church has very ancient origins and it is home to a precious altarpiece by Tiarini depicting Saint Peter and Saint John. Outside, lovely gardens create lead to a reproduction of the Grotto of Lourdes. There is a great oratory that welcomes the young people of Rastignano. The parish complex incudes a guesthouse for organized groups of pilgrims.