They say the Perino Waterfalls are the most beautiful in the Emilia Romagna region, in Northern Italy. And if you love hiking and enjoy spending time in nature, you should definitely plan to visit the “Cascate del Perino”.
The hike takes about 2-3 hours to complete, depending on how long you plan to stop admire each of the 5 Waterfalls of Perino. The trail is about 5 miles long (7 km) and children and adults of all ages should be able to enjoy this walk in nature.
If you visit Northern Italy and would like to spend a day hiking, here’s a quick guide on visiting the Perino Waterfalls.
How to arrive at the Perino Waterfalls
Arriving at the Waterfalls of Perino is where the adventure begins.
Make sure you have a GPS system available and set it to the Church of San Lorenzo, in the small town of Calenzano. That’s where you’re going to park your car and start hiking.
Regardless if you’re arriving from Milan, Genoa, Parma or Piacenza, the main road that takes you there is paved and very easy to follow. However, the closer you get to the town of Calenzano, the narrower the street will get and the more you’ll have to pay attention on the curvy road.
The last half hour on the road will literally turn into a bumpy ride. But once you’ll see the tower of the Church in front of you, you’ll know you’ve reached your destination.
You can park your car in front of the Church of San Lorenzo and begin your journey. Either follow the red & white sign or walk back to the main road and start from there.
The 5 Waterfalls of Perino
The route begins at the side of the Church tower and, along the way, you should be able to easily find the 5 Perino Waterfalls.
We visited one sunny Sunday morning when the weather was hot (as it always is in Italy). But the 3 hour hike in the woods was the perfect way to relax and unwind and standing close to each Waterfall of Perino was as refreshing as turning on the AC!
As soon as you begin your hike, you should reach the famous Farm Waterfalls (Agriturismo “Le Cascate”). You can either stop here for lunch or a snack, or you can continue your walk and search the waterfalls.
Turn right at the Farmhouse and follow the road. After walking for a few minutes, you should see the signs that take you to Waterfall n.1.
Unfortunately for us, the road to the first waterfall was unattainable when we visited. The stairs taking down to the waterfall have collapsed, so reaching the first waterfall can be dangerous. Good thing we at least had a way to zoom in and take a quick picture!
Moving along the marked red & white trail, you should soon be able to reach the 2nd and 3rd Waterfalls of Perino.
To reach the 2nd waterfall, you’ll need to simply, go down the stairs. Be careful and watch your step, especially if it has recently rained in the area.
You’ll be glad to reach the bottom of the stairs. The 2nd waterfall unveils right in front of you:
We decided to stop here for a moment and enjoy our brown bagged lunch. There’s plenty space to sit down on the rocks and enjoy a few moment of peace and quiet.
When you’re ready to go in search of the 3rd Perino Waterfall, just go up the stairs and immediately turn right. Follow the pathway and watch your step. And meanwhile, enjoy the sound of the waterfalls around you.
Soon, you should be able to easily reach Waterfall n.3. You’ll recognize it by the 3 separate jets and you’ll feel like nature is telling you you’re on the right path.
Moving on to Waterfall n. 4, you should know there’s no sign indicating where the waterfall is. However, make sure to follow the red and white path and you should soon come across this beautiful gift of nature:
When you’re ready to leave behind waterfall n.4 and go in search of the 5th Waterfall of Perino, continue along the path that turns right (just follow the red and white sign, circumstances might differ depending on the conditions of the trail).
They say the last waterfall is also the most beautiful one of all. Once you reach it, you’ll understand why:
From the last of Perino’s waterfalls, you’ll need to find the way to get back to your car.
Turning back, you have 2 options:
- Follow the same trail backwards – and admire the beautiful waterfalls one last time;
- Follow the path to your right as you leave the last waterfall behind.
We chose the second option and enjoyed a nice long walk back to the Church of San Lorenzo.
Although there are no more waterfalls to see on your way back, you get to enjoy a walk in nature, breathe fresh air and take some amazing pictures as you head down to the Farmhouse.
Tips for a successful hike at the Perino Waterfalls
As long as the weather is on your side, you should be able to have an amazing time visiting the 5 Perino Waterfalls!
However, keep in mind you’re about to embark on a mountain trail, so it’s important to be properly prepared.
Bring along enough water and brown bag your lunch and snacks
Hiking will make you hungry and thirsty. It’s important that you pack some food with you and enough water for the road.
We were 2 adults on the hike to the Perino waterfalls so we packed more than half a gallon of drinking water (almost 3 liters) and brought sandwiches and fresh fruit for lunch.
Pack your food and drinks in a cooler bag
Use a cooler bag to pack everything to avoid the food from spoiling or the water from turning into a hot beverage.
Wear comfortable clothes, hiking shoes and a cap. And bring sunscreen
Needless to say, comfortable shoes and clothing are a must! And make sure you wear a cap, especially if you plan to visit the Perino Waterfalls in summer. Italy is well known to be quite sunny and it would be a shame to end up with a headache or suffer from a heat stroke in the woods.
And speaking of hiking in Italy during summer, don’t forget your sunscreen at home. You could easily take a break and sunbathe for a while, the Waterfalls of Perino are a great place to relax and unwind under the sun.
Get ready to feel sore the next day
Although the hike to Perino’s Waterfalls is well suited for kids and adults of all ages and fitness levels, unless you’re used to hiking in the mountains on a regular basis, get ready to feel a bit sore the day after.
There is no toilet in the woods
It’s important to mention that.. there really is no toilet in the woods. Once you pass the Farmhouse on your way to the waterfalls, if you have to “go”, you’ll need to find a spot to “christen” the nature.
Planning a trip to Italy is definitely a must for avid travel lovers! But the country has so much more to offer than the usual touristy places.
If you have the chance to visit Northern Italy, make sure to add the Perino Waterfalls to your itinerary. The trip is well worth it!