Five reasons why Romagna should be on your Italy travel list:
I am guessing almost none of you know exactly where or what Romagna is. Somewhere in Europe? Or in Italy? Well, I do know that sometimes it is not very easy to explain it.
Romagna is a place where you can have any kind of adventure; from history, to culture, to food and nature; this region has it all. When you pass from one end of the main road that divides Romagna, Via Emilia, to the other – you will encounter a diversity of accents, dialects, eating, drinking, thinking and living. A colorful palette of tastes, smells, landscapes, histories extending from the flat land, through the hills and Apennines, towards the sea!
It’s world heritage listed
Romagna is of UNESCO Patrimony. The area counts 4 cities: Ferrara, Faenza, Cesena, Ravenna, with a variety of unique sites that are among the 49 Italian UNESCO sites. Faenza has one of the most complete collections of ancient and modern pottery of Europe, while the town of Ferrara is itself an important site, together with a complex and unique wetland, Delta of Pò River, full of birds to watch and rare plants and vegetation.
What about taking a piece of Romagna with you? Here artisans are still the richness of the region: handmade and printed fabric, frame working, pottery making, mosaics and many other things. You can see these artisans working on their crafts and you can organize visits to their workshops.
A landscape full of seaside, hills and history
If you do not have enough time or just you do not want anything organized, you can simply stroll around. The seaside has some wonderful places such as the wild and wet area near Ravenna. Do not miss the Piallassa Baiona, a natural reserve with swans and flamingos.
Cesenatico and Cervia are the two main old sea boroughs, built by the Romans with very important antique ruins and ancient buildings. In the surroundings of the cost two main cities, Cesena with one of the most ancient libraries in the world with decorated codex, and Forlì, once a Roman town, with the Cathedral and Saint Mercuriale church and also the San Domenico Museum with a lovely and interesting collection of ancient painters. The hills are home to some undiscovered places: Sogliano, Tredozio, Portico di Romagna. These lands were once under the Tuscan dominion, that is why they are called the Tuscan Romagna.
Medieval boroughs such as Verucchio, Brisighella, Bagnacavallo are for sure a “must” if you have enough time. Romantic and dream-like landscapes with slow tourism are typical of this area.
Her Majesty, the Hand Made Pasta. Let me introduce you to the real glory of Romagna. Everywhere, no matter where you are, you will find little osterias, restaurants, and artisan pasta shops with plenty of different kinds of Romagna delicacies. Pasta in Romagna is mainly made of egg, with a simple mix off lour and salt. Rolling the past was once a woman’s work, passed from mothers to girls, generation by generation. And it was also the main dish of the day, even if most of the time poor people did not have eggs. That is why they invented varieties of pasta without egg.
Romagna has also some unique cheeses; Fossa cheese of Sogliano, Squaquerone, a soft cheese, and Raviggiolo. All of them eaten with the classical Piadina, a ‘’poor bread’’, made with flour and water, and quoted in the famous cooking book of Mr Pellegrino Artusi, the father of the Italian modern cuisine.
Romagna wines are a unique experience and also a way to understand this soulful land. In Summer almost every borough (most of them are part of an ancient defensive system created by the Byzantines and Romans to protect the access to the sea against the barbarians) hosts a wine fair where local producers show up their bottles, let you proudly taste the precious red nectar and explain how they made it.. You will be quite surprised about the quantity and quality of the producers, considering that Sangiovese is the kind of grape they all use. Pure or blended, this wine is delightful. You may not know that the most famous and world spread Chianti is made by Sangiovese grapes! Stunned? Well, it’s true. Romagna has also some other interesting wines such as Burson of Bagnacavallo, a wild grape discovered at the beginning of the last century by a local wine maker and now produced by 16 cellars united by a very strict producing rule. The white wines are also very interesting: Albana, Trebbiano, and other wines with local dialect names that tells the birth and history of them, such as Pagadebit (pay the dues), since that kind of grape was very strong and even with bad season, peasants could produce wine to pay their dues
Something more to say? Are you curious? Let’s visit Italy off the beaten paths, it’s more than you can imagine!
All text and photo credits: Alessandra Catania ( 21grammy ).
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