A day trip to the Apennine mountains for a taste of Bolognese cuisine


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The autumn months are perfect for chestnut lovers: in the Apennine mountains near Bologna, many farms and agriturismi open their doors to tourists who want to try their hand at harvesting these delicious fruits.

In this article we tell you about our day spent among the chestnut groves and the culinary delights of bolognese cuisine!

From mid-October to November, the forests of the Apennines are tinted with the typical colors of the foliage, red and yellow, and give us the typical autumn fruits: chesnuts! If you are interested in spending a day walking through the chestnut groves, followed by a good lunch in an agriturismo in Emilia Romagna, let us tell you about our experience in the Apennine mountains!

How to organize a trip for chestnut harvesting in  Apennine mountains near Bologna

During the autumn season, it is common for various farms and agritourisms to include in their lunch or dinner the experience of harvesting chestnuts in their private woods. If you want to have this kind of experience, the first step is to find a place that offers this kind of service and, especially on Sundays, it is better to book a little in advance!

If you do a little research on the Internet, you will have no trouble finding a place that suits you; you can find places all over the Apennine mountains.

We booked ours at the Agriturismo in Emilia Romagna Ca’ Monti, in Sassoleone, a town just a few minutes drive from Castel del Rio.

Raccolta castagne appennino bolognese - Agriturismo Ca' Monti nell'appennino bolognese - chestnut Italy Apennine mountains

Ca' Monti. agriturismo in Emilia Romagna

The harvest period for chestnut Italy

As we have already foreseen, the harvest period for chestnuts is the fall, especially during October and the beginning of November. However, given the recent climatic changes that have brought us increasingly higher temperatures, this is only an indicative period.

We recommend that you call the agriturismo a little in advance so that they can give you more precise information about the state of the chestnuts. Since this farm has two chestnut groves, at different altitudes and with different exposures, they will know exactly when the chestnut harvest is, so you can book a little in advance.

The cost of the chestnut harvest

As we have already mentioned, the cost of the harvest is partially included in the lunch or dinner at the farmhouse. In fact, at the end of the chestnut harvest, the hosts will take care of weighing your sacks and you can keep about a kilo of chestnuts each.

Alternatively, if you want to take home a larger quantity, you can buy them at a fixed price per additional kilo. From our point of view, one kilo per person is more than enough and we did not feel the need to have a larger quantity.

We have also noticed that chestnuts harvested directly from the forest have a limited shelf life (a few days), so we suggest that you consume them within a week of harvesting or, if you have plenty, use them to make desserts or, why not, give them as a gift to someone.

How the chestnut harvest works

As we move towards the dark hours of autumn, which arrive in the late afternoon, agritourisms usually offer a package that includes the morning gathering followed by lunch.
The meeting time is usually around mid-morning at the agriturismo, from where you go on foot or by car to the chestnut grove.

Agriturismo Ca’ Monti has two chestnut groves, one a few minutes away and the other a bit further away and at a higher altitude, where you can participate in the chestnut harvest even in late fall. Stefano, one of the farm’s managers, dropped us off at the parking lot near the chestnut grove.

Armed with your own bags to store your harvest, you are ready to go into the woods accompanied by the local expert with whom you will have the pleasure of chatting to learn more about the history and customs of the place. We had this experience two years in a row, and the first year we had no difficulty finding chestnuts; in fact, there were so many that we even had to choose which ones we liked best.

The second year, we went when the chestnut season was coming to an end, but by going to the chestnut grove at a higher altitude, we were still able to find plenty. The chestnut picking takes about a few hours and is a very pleasant walk, during which you can also relax and admire the view and the nature around you.

Bear in mind that the terrain is not flat, but alternates uphill and downhill, so you will be doing some hard work! For this reason, we recommend that you wear suitable footwear, such as sports shoes with a non-slip sole, as the forest floor is likely to be wet and slippery.

The walk is not strenuous, but you need to be careful as some sections have descents and ascents where younger children or people with reduced motor skills may need help.

The chestnut harvest takes about 1 to 2 hours, at your leisure. Remember, however, that your guide has to return to the farmhouse in time for lunch, so the chestnut picking ends around 12 noon.

Raccolta castagne appennino bolognese - Castagneto dell'Agriturismo Ca' Monti - chestnut Italy Apennine mountains

The chestnuts harvest in Apennine mountains

Raccolta castagne appennino bolognese - Castagne nel bosco dell'Agriturismo nell'appennino - chestnut Italy Apennine mountains

Chestnut Italy

Raccolta castagne appennino bolognese - Vista sull'appennino bolognese dall'agriturismo Ca' Monti - chestnut Italy Apennine mountains

The view of Apennine mountains

Lunch at the agriturismo in Emilia Romagna tasting the Bolognese cuisine

At the end of the chestnut picking, you will return to your cars and drive straight back to the Ca’ Monti agriturismo in Emilia Romagna, where you can wait for lunch while sipping an aperitif on the outdoor terrace and enjoying the autumnal panorama of the Apennine mountains. Alternatively, if you prefer to stay at the farm, you can take a walk in the woods or go back to the farm and explore the surrounding area. 

The lunches offered by the agriturismo are of excellent quality, the choice of the menu is limited (3 or 4 first and second courses) and the menu tends to be fixed: we assure you that this is the best way to taste the typical dishes of the Bolognese cuisine and the seasonal products of autumn.
In fact, the agriturismo offers a menu that varies according to the season, with dishes that use mainly the raw materials produced by the farm, such as vegetables from the garden, meat from the animals on the farm, and homemade first courses and desserts.

In autumn you can easily find porcini mushroom and truffle dishes (and of course chestnuts!) on the menu, as well as typical traditional Bolognese cuisine dishes such as friggione, an accompaniment to meat dishes, or even just bread, made with tomatoes and onions, clearly sautéed.

The cost of the menu is about 35 €.

Raccolta castagne appennino bolognese - Pranzo all'Agriturismo Ca' Monti con prodotti autunnali come i porcini - chestnut Italy Apennine mountains

Fried mushrooms and cheese

With this article we hope to have enticed you to spend a day doing outdoor activities in the woods while you are dedicated to collecting chestnuts to take home and enjoy some traditional dishes of the Bolognese cuisine in a wonderful agriturismo in Emilia Romagna, simple but at the same time fantastic and made with 0 km raw materials. We suggest you stay connected with us through our newsletter and social channels and as always… trip to try!

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