Bertinoro: The Balcony of Romagna

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.

"Views of the countryside from Bertinoro, Itlay"

Views from the top of Bertinoro

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.

"Monastery accommodations at Bertinoro Castle, Italy"

Monastery at Bertinoro Castle

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.

"Walkway to Bishop's Fortress, Bertinoro"

Walkway to Bishop’s Fortress

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.

"Entrance to the Bishop's Fortress, sculpture and Interfaith Museum, Bertinoro"

Entrance to the Bishop’s Fortress, sculpture and Interfaith Museum

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.

"Bishop's Fortress in Bertinoro, Italy - exterior and  interior staircase and ceiling"

Bishop’s Fortress

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.

"Street scene in Bertinoro, Italy"

Bertinoro, Italy

"Narrow lanes and passageways of Bertinoro, Italy"

Narrow lanes of Bertinoro

"Narrow streets and colorful buildings in Bertinoro, Italy"

Afternoon shadows on buildings in Bertinoro, Italy

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.

"Restaurants of Bertinoro, Italy"

Lunch time in Bertinoro

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.

Disclosure: This post was a part of Buonvivere Blog Tour, organized by Settimana del Buonvivere in collaboration with 21grammy.

46 thoughts on “Bertinoro: The Balcony of Romagna

    1. Catherine Sweeney Post author

      Thanks, Noel. I’ve been so lucky to experience several wonderful Italian villages like Bertinoro in the past few months. I don’t get tired of just walking around and soaking it all in.

  1. Leigh

    How’s your Italian coming along? What another wonderful place to stay and what a pretty town. Looks like your schedule hasn’t had any breaks in a while. Hope you’ve been enjoying all the travel.

    1. Catherine Sweeney Post author

      Grazie! 🙂 About my Italian — not much improved from my June visit, unfortunately. However, I can understand a lot of it in writing.

    1. Catherine Sweeney Post author

      Thank you for mentioning the “Google executive search”, Emily. I thought that was quite clever, actually. 🙂

    1. Catherine Sweeney Post author

      Haha! Patti — You are going to get there, too. And then I’ll be the jealous one reading your posts. Jealous in a good way, of course. 😉

  2. Penny Sadler

    Hi Catherine,
    Great story on our lodgings for 5 days. You are so lucky to have had time to explore. I can’t believe I was there and only saw it from the car windows! Enjoyed your photos. Ciao Bella!

    1. Catherine Sweeney Post author

      It was very nice to get there a day ahead to get around town a bit. It was great to spend time in Bertinoro and on our busy trip with you. Hope we can travel together again sometime.

  3. Suzanne Fluhr (Just One Boomer)

    I think I would have found the simple accommodations just right. In any case, I would have enjoyed staying in an old monastery. We don’t get much opportunity for that in the US. Given my penchant for being photographed with statue tableaus of people hanging out, I probably would have been unable to resist the chance for a photo op with those ladies on the bench. (You’ve been on some great travels lately, but I bet you’re glad to be Home Sweet Home with Mr. TWS for awhile.)

    1. Catherine Sweeney Post author

      It’s always nice to come home, but I’m usually ready for another trip before too long — hopefully WITH Mr. TWS!

    1. Catherine Sweeney Post author

      Grazie, Lane. I chose photos that I felt conveyed well what I was seeing and how I felt at the time. Glad you got the feeling, too.

    1. Catherine Sweeney Post author

      Thanks for the kind words. It’s very meaningful to me that you and others feel that way, since that was my goal!

    1. Catherine Sweeney Post author

      I like to organize my posts and photos in such a way that I get taken back to the experience, too. Glad you enjoyed our vitural tour!

    1. Catherine Sweeney Post author

      Almost had to pinch myself to believe I was back there. I don’t want to be too greedy, but I’m readlly to go again. 🙂

  4. Mary {The World Is A Book}

    What a beautiful region and your pictures truly capture its charm. I love those alleys and old structures and unexpected finds. It looks like you had the village to yourself. Those views are amazing. I’m looking forward to the rest of the posts. It was so fun following you along on FB and I admit to being jealous more than once 🙂

    1. Catherine Sweeney Post author

      Thanks for following along on Facebook. It’s really the best way for me to keep everyone posted while I’m away and then write blog posts when I’m back.

    1. Catherine Sweeney Post author

      Marcia, if I’d had just a little more time, I would have sat myself down on one of those benches in the walkway photo and contemplated life a bit. Those moments are few and far between, aren’t they?

    1. Catherine Sweeney Post author

      That view was such a nice surprise in the morning. The room itself was a bit dark (that monastic ambiance) but opening the window to the sunlight changed the whole mood.

    1. Catherine Sweeney Post author

      I’m starting to realize that there are probably more of these wonderful little towns in Italy than I’ll ever be able to visit — but I’m going to give it a good try!

  5. Marisol@TravelingSolemates

    I’m so jealous that you went to that same charming regions twice in 3 months! You’re so lucky. I enjoyed virtually meandering on those lovely quant streets with you. I truly love those small, untouristed Italian villages. Thye’re so beautiful and earthy. I look forward to see more of the region in your future posts.

    1. Catherine Sweeney Post author

      Marisol, I honestly didn’t think that there were such non-touristy areas of Italy still around until my first visit to Emilia-Romagna in June. Now, I want to keep going back to find more!

  6. Mike

    Cathy, I loved your pictures and the way you opened the post with open the shuttered windows. Wow, everything looks so serene, calm and beautiful. Of course the huge appeal to me is that I don’t see a bunch of tourist I have to compete with for oxygen space in your photos! Sorry, sometimes I just want to have a place and moment to myself ya know? 🙂

  7. Freya

    Why are there so many lovely villages in Italy, I really have to get back there. Another great post and lovely photos. I agree with you, many of these villages are only meant to discover on foot, I sometimes wonder what they do if they by new furniture or so, how do they get it to their house.

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  9. Michele {Malaysian Meanders}

    You get invited on the best blog trips! This is exactly how I picture an Italian village. I think you are right that just wandering around is the best way to explore it instead of having a set plan. Leave it up to serendipity. That bit of modern art is unexpected and a nice touch.

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