COLLI EUGANEI, PADOVA ITALY
Travelling near Padua, on a clear day, it is hard not to notice the cone shaped hills of the Colli Euganei sitting out on the plain, just south of the city. The Colli Euganei, named after the indigenous people that once inhabited the region, were created by volcanic movement, and were made into a National Park in 1989.
The park covers 1900 square hectares and includes 15 communities, with Monselice, Este, and the Thermal Springs around Abano being most well know areas. Making this area a national park and has protected it from over development, and it has become an oasis of wilderness in within the industrial triangle of the Veneto. Wooded hills of oak, hazel, walnut, delicate Mediterranean marquis are intermixed with terraced lands of fruit and olive trees, and grape vines. The history of the hills, the gastronomic tradition, and the slower off the path lifestyle makes the area perfect for the visitor who wishes to take a couple of days to unwind and immerse themselves in relaxation.
The hills are well know for local farm products, that can be enjoyed in one of the many agritourism (farm house restaurant). The park is an unique Wine Zone and has 13 various DOC wines located throughout the area. Annual local events and festivals center around the harvest times and there are some specialities like Montagnana DOP ham and Seprino wine that should be tasted.
For anyone loving nature and a relaxing atmosphere the area has a wonderful mix of historical and artistic heritage within the Park; hamlets, castles, fortifications and religious buildings such as hermitages and convents, Este, Monselice and Montagnana, with their medieval walls; Arquà Petrarca, a fascinating ancient medieval hamlet; Luvigliano, Galzignano and Battaglia Terme with their splendid Veneto villas; the Abbey of Praglia and the Hermitage of Monte Rua.
The entire territory of the Hills offers walkers a myriad of paths immersed in nature, which you can enjoy with a stroll or by bike. There is an excellent climbing site in the center of the park, near Teolo, that has over 345+ bolted routes. After a hard day of activity you can make an appointment at one of the Euganei Thermal Baths, world-famous for the unique properties of the mud and treatments that can be enjoyed in the facilities of Abano, Montegrotto, Battaglia, Galzignano and Teolo.