Whether you’re searching for a relaxing escape from the city or wilderness to explore, here you’ll find 18,000 hectares of breathtaking views, hiking routes, and bike paths.

The Euganean Hills are a group of 81 hills of volcanic origin named after the ancient Euganei people that once inhabited the area, which sit in stark contrast to the great plain found around Padua. The area of was the first to be recognized as a Regional Park by the Region of Veneto in 1989, within which 15 towns, monuments, archeological ruins, hot springs, and even wineries can be found. The park’s visitors center, Casa Marina, offers detailed information and suggestions, as well as a nature education lab. The park also has made significant efforts towards sustainability, and in 2012 was awarded the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism certification.

For those interested in exploring one of the many trails in the park, options range from easy, maintained footpaths to proper hiking trails requiring a bit more physical effort. The Euganean Hills Association has created several itinerary suggestions with maps and explanations on their website. One itinerary “The Mounts of Rusta and Gemola” is of particular interest to those looking to appreciate the untouched nature of the area, as Mount Rusta is nearly completely wild. Alternatively, Mount Gemola offers a varied landscape with manicured vineyards and elegant villas. On this route you can visit the Villa Beatrice D’Este, an ancient Benedictine monastery named after a nun who lived at the property in 1221. An additional route of interest explores Mount Venda, in the center of the park. The path has been equipped for individuals with motor and physical disabilities, and offers breathtaking views over five of the hills: Mounts Marco, Fasolo, Gemola, Rusta and Lozzo.

If you’re more interested in a relaxing dip in a thermal pool or a soak in a mud bath, several resorts towns within the hills have been revered since Roman times for their therapeutic value. The towns of Abano Terme and Montegrotto Terme on the eastern slope of the hills offer several options.

The Euganean Hills have inspired many throughout history, from philosophers to poets. In 1369, Petrarch moved to the hills to live out the remainder of his life, eventually founding the modern day village of Arqua’ Petrarca. Today, the small but beautiful village houses his tomb, which can be visited in Petrarch’s Square. Later on, in the early 1800s, English poet Percy Shelley found himself in the hills, inspiring him to write Lines Written Among the Euganean Hills.

Since ancient times, the Colli Euganei have been an inspiration for the people of the plains. Today, locals and tourists can enjoy the wonders that the park has to offer. For detailed information, itinerary suggestions, and more, visit the park’s official website here.