Bertinoro: hospitality, thermal baths, wine and…..the secret of Spungone
Maybe not everyone knows that there’s another Romagna, nut just the one of the beaches: it’s the hinterland, the hills and the vineyards. Bertinoro is there, it’s a village of ten thousand inhabitants laid on a hill whose Medieval layout and the well-being are still untouched: it’s a tradition that goes back to millions of years ago. The rocky ridgeline of its hills go back to that ancient time: it was a lush coral reef. This particular rocky conformation called Spungone because of its sponginess is rich in minerals so the wines that are produced in this area are featured by particular organoleptic properties as well as the water that runs underground. It is not by chance that you feel good in Bertinoro where the beauty and the well-being are absolute values.
How can you reach Bertinoro? How can you move around ? If you travel by train when you reach Cesena or Forlì you can start your cycling adventure along the several tracks that are spread all around in the countryside and in the village. One of the most interesting route starts in Bertinoro and connects all the fortresses of the area of Spungone up to Castrocaro going through Meldola and Predappio. If you travel by car there are many parking spaces near the centre of the village: after parking your car you can walk to Piazza della Libertà where you can see the old clock-tower and the decorated front wall of the Ordelaffi palace where the council’s offices dating back to XIVth century are based: inside the building there is the room of people and the room of paintings that contains a series of paintings dedicated to the local history dating back to the XVIIIth century. The important cathedral dating back to the XVIth century is near this building, it is dedicated to Santa Caterina from Alessandria (some precious works are kept inside the three naves).
Where the guests are disputed
Besides the amazing view you can enjoy from this panoramic terrace known as the Terrace of Romagna, your attention will certainly focus on The Pillar of Hospitability which symbolizes the very ancient tradition of hospitability of the village. The judge Guido del Duca ordered the construction of a pillar with 12 rings around the year 1200 in order to decide who would welcome the foreign guests: when a traveller arrived in the city and tied his horse to one of the rings he was hosted by the family who owned that ring. The pillar you can see is not the original one, it’s a copy built in 1926: this doesn’t diminish the deep meaning of this original monument that represents the hospitability of this place which is celebrated every year with a dedicated event. You can’t miss a stop at the wine bar Ca’ de Bè, below Piazza della Libertà ( a staircase connects the two places) where you can taste the best wines from the region namely the Sangiovese, the Albana (the first white wine in Italy to be awarded with the denomination of controlled geographical origin or DOCG in 1987), the Cagnina and the Pagadebit , just a few types of wine among 400 labels.
Good food and ancient parish churches
Ca de Bè, although it is the most famous and historical wine bar of the area is not the only one: the village is spread with restaurants, wine-bars, small shops that offer the typical products of this geographical area like the piadine and the crescioni (type of pancakes), the garganelli (a type of pasta), the cheese with the typical saba (a topping made of the grape must) and the ciambelloni (sort of big bagels) that won’t put you down. After a good lunch we suggest you to take your time (the hurry is forbidden here and the tourism is slow) since there’s nothing better than going for a walk to visit the Fortress that was built before the year 1000 that is a University now and the Interreligious Museum dedicated to the three biggest monotheistic religions. From the centre you can walk to the Mount Maggio, the twin hill of Bertinoro, once a friary that still keeps an ancient pit with a spiral staircase that leads to the friars’ cells along the walls. The Langobard parish church of San Donato di Polenta is ten minutes far by car, it was mentioned by Carducci in his poems and Dante stopped there to pray during his exile.
Thermal water and adventure parks
Surprised aren’t over since there’s much more in Bertinoro, there are the thermal baths that offer seven different types of water. They were built in the Thirties then they were completely restyled in 2007 and you can stay in the four-stars Grand Hotel Terme della Fratta to enjoy the thermal treatments or you can also use the thermal baths without staying in the hotel. The Indiana Park is inside the Thermal Baths’ park, it is a nice adventure park for kids and adults that offers some air routes between the trees with the ropes and the nets, footbridges, bridges, outdoor pools, climbing walls and a tower from which you can experience the excitement of a jump from 13 metres of height in the highest safety. In Summer many events are organised and on the first Sunday of September the Ritual of Hospitality is held, it aims at celebrating the traditional hospitality of the village.
Sleeping, tasting, buying
The rich table of Romagna has the cooking of Bertinoro among its main protagonists. Between Forlì and Cesena in the vineyards or on the hills it’s not easy to choose a place to stop to have a good lunch or taste some local products. The osteria enoteca La Cà de Bè is perfect for both situations, it is located in Piazza della Libertà and it is called “the balcony of Romagna” because of the amazing views on the hills up to the sea you can enjoy from there; the traditional dishes are sided by 400 different types of local wine. For the meat lovers there’s the restaurant La Divina Bistecca which is located in the building that was a nunnery in the past. The bruschette, the main courses and a lot of different types of salami together with the classic piadina are the protagonist of the menu of the farm Fattoria La Quercia. If you fancy staying in Bertinoro to experience a peaceful holiday on the hills and experience the magic of the village you can chose the very central hotel La Colonna and its rooms with a view on the Adriatic Sea and you can also choose the farmhouse Al Colle, surrounded by a green garden that frame the rooms. The B&B La Residenza nel Borgo is located in the Medieval heart of Bertinoro, it is suitable for the ones who want to breathe the story and the art, it is decorated with fine textiles and it features smart spaces like the big living room with the fireplace where you can read and sip a good glass of wine. If you want to bring home the tastes of Romagna you can stop at the farm Zaccarini Vini where you can buy some of the best types of wine among which the DOP Sangiovese and the Trebbiano. The Sangiovese and the sweet Albana from Bertinoro are the types of wine that are produced et the farmhouse 7 Colonne where you can also buy the grappa liquor and the oil. You can’t miss a visit to the dairy farm Mambelli in Santa Maria Nuova di Bertinoro where you can buy the typical squacquerone cheese to be spread on the piadina as well as the caciotta cheese, the ricotta cheese and the primosale.
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