Back in Emilia-Romagna!
I felt pretty lucky being back in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy for the second time in about three months. On this trip which began at the end of September, I was part of the “Settimana del Buon Vivere” (“Week of Good Living”) blog project getting a closer look at what makes the Forli-Cesena province of the region such an inviting place to visit and live. There will be a series of posts coming soon about all of that. But let’s start with the village between Forli and Cesena high on a hilltop where we began our tour.
Scenes from the Balcony of Romagna
Home base for the week with my fellow project bloggers was Bertinoro, a well-preserved medieval village of about 9,000 residents situated between the Apennine Mountains and the Adriatic Sea. Bertinoro is called the “Balcony of Romagna” because of its position perched high above the valleys with panoramic views far beyond the fields and vineyards of Romagna. Although the skies were a bit hazy, the location is wonderfully photogenic.
A serene setting
Our lodgings were at the University Residential Centre of Bertinoro (Ce.U.B.) operated by the University of Bologna, which offers conference and event space as well as lodging for attendees in two buildings. Our rooms were in the monastery just below the imposing Bishop’s Fortress at the very top of Bertinoro. Although the rooms were quite simply furnished with minimal amenities reflecting the monastic past of the place, I found it to be comfortable and quiet. When I opened the shuttered windows of my room on my first morning, I was presented with the lovely scene shown in the photo below.
After breakfast in the common dining area upstairs, I took a walk up the steep path to the Bishop’s Fortress taking in the beautiful peaceful scenery of the valleys below from vista points along the path and at the top of the hill.
I always enjoy modern art that unexpectedly appears in such settings such as this old fortress. As I neared the gate, I came across the sculpture top right in the photo below titled “Conversazione all’ombra Della Rocca” by Sandro Pagliuchi.
This hilltop fortress has been visited over the centuries by such notables as the Malatesti, Sforza and Borgia families. in 1584, it became the seat of the Bishop of Bertinoro. It was renovated and converted into conference space in 2000. The interior staircase and ceilings are impressive interior features that I saw when visiting the office of the Ce.U.B. which is also the check-in location for the accommodations. The ornate decorated doorway (bottom right in the photo above) is the entrance to the Museo Interreligioso (Interfaith Museum) which is dedicated to the history and development of the Christian, Jewish and Islamic religions and create a dialogue between them.
During our stay, a technology conference was taking place and we were told that the CEO of Google was involved in the meetings. Alas, with our busy schedule, there was no time for a Google executive search.
In the village
Wanting to spend some time exploring Bertinoro, I headed back down the path leading to the village’s one main street. In my opinion, these ancient Italian villages are meant to be explored on foot and without a plan so I meandered among the buildings along cobblestone alleys and lanes.
As usual, when early afternoon approaches, I was ready to find a place to enjoy a nice lunch. In Bertinoro, there were several places that caught my eye, all quite quiet with outdoor seating areas perfect for the warm, sunny day. I had enjoyed a piadina, the traditional flatbread of the region, the previous night in Bagnacavallo (more to come about that), and now I had a craving for another. Antica Porta in Piazza della Liberta (bottom right in photo below) looked like a great choice, especially when I saw that one of the day’s specials was a piadina — just the right choice, particularly with a glass of vino bianco.
I would have liked to stay in the piazza for hours, soaking up the ambiance and watching the few passersby, but there was more to see and our blog project was about to begin with an evening at the nearby Grand Hotel Terme Fratta hot springs and spa. I’ll take you there soon.