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Between villages and green hills

Between villages and green hills

Medieval villages dominate beautiful landscapes

From the sea to the hills

The itinerary that winds its way inland through Romagna, just a few kilometres from the sea, stops at Longiano, Bertinoro and Brisighella.

Panoramic hillside - Ph. Alberto Monti



Gentle hills, dotted with vineyards and olive groves, villages, fortresses and bell towers in the distance.
Just a few kilometres from the sea, the hinterland of Romagna unfolds sinuously, like a long story where centuries of history, splendid panoramas, green landscapes and tasty flavours intertwine.
The ancient Via Emilia acts as our guide, crossing a plain dominated by orchards and tilled fields.
Leaving the main road, we start to climb, a few bends, some ups and downs, a glimpse of romantic views and here we are in the square of one of the many villages that make this land of Romagna so charming.


  • Malatesta Castle of Longiano - Ph. ViterboFotocineThe first stop on an ideal inland trip is Longiano, the village that in 1992 was voted one of Europe's ideal villages.
    We are in the Cesena area, on the edge of the Rubicon valley, where Julius Caesar decided the fate of Rome.
    The village is dominated by the imposing Malatesta Castle, which today houses the Tito Balestra Foundation, with its 5,000 works of art from the Italian twentieth century.
    De Pisis, Guttuso, Morandi, Rosai, Maccari, Sironi, Vespignani are just some of the artists in this precious collection.
    In Longiano, it is also worth visiting the small Petrella Theatre, an authentic Italian-style 'bomboniere', loved and appreciated by the greatest actors in the theatre, and the Italian Museum of Cast Iron, with its curious display of cast iron items for street furniture.
    In Balignano, a few kilometres away, it is also possible to visit the ancient Turchi oil mill, a witness to the production of oil that in these hills has earned the Colline di Romagna Dop certification.

  • On the road again, it is still the Via Emilia that leads us, but we change direction.
    BertinoroAs we head towards Forlì, all we have to do is look up and we see Bertinoro clinging to its hillside, surrounded by vineyards, so illuminated at night that it is visible from afar.
    It is the kingdom of Albana, but also of Sangiovese, and there are many wineries where you can stop for a tasting of top quality labels.
    This is Bertinoro, one of the best-known balconies of Romagna: from up here, your gaze is lost in the horizon as far as the sea.
    It has been a town of hospitality for centuries, as recalled by the Colonna delle anella in the central square, which recalls a distant tradition from the 13th century when the noble families of Bertinoro hosted pilgrims and knights who arrived, depending on the ring they chose.
    The town is dominated by the Bishop's Fortress, which since 1994 has housed the University Residential Centre for Higher Education and Research, while since 2010 it has also housed an original Interfaith Museum, dedicated to studies, research and works of art on the three great monotheistic religions.
    Among the narrow streets that wind their way up through the village, there are many bars and taverns for a convivial break with a glass of wine and a piadina.
    A few kilometres from Bertinoro, it is worth visiting the church of Polenta, which dates back to before the year 1000 and is said to have been visited by Dante Alighieri during his stay with the Lords of Polenta.

  • To reach the third destination on this itinerary, we enter the hilly lands of Faenza.
    Twelve kilometres from the city of ceramics, we come to Brisighella.
    Clock Tower of BrisighellaIn the background we can see the three hills, on which the Rocca, the Clock Tower and the Monticino Sanctuary stand out.
    The landscape is characterised by the Vena del Gesso, one of the largest karst formations in Europe, whose shimmering chalk defines the entire natural habitat of this area.
    For the more adventurous there are guided tours of the caves that have been formed, the Grotta Tanaccia where a colony of bats live and the Grotta del Re Tiberio (near Riolo Terme) are the best known.
    In the medieval village of Brisighella, you cannot miss a walk along the Via degli Asini, a raised road of curious architecture that was used to transport chalk by donkeys, hence the name.
    Brisighella and its hills have linked their fame to the "Brisighello" extra-virgin olive oil, which has been awarded the European PDO.
    Tasty local products are also the Moretto artichoke and Mora Romagnola cold cuts.
    The Herb Garden in Casola Valsenio is worth a visit, just 20 km from Brisighella.


The itinerary in the Romagna hinterland proposed in these pages partly crosses the Lands of the Triathlon, i.e. towns and territories in Romagna that are the splendid setting for one of the toughest and most exciting sporting events in the world: the IRONMAN Italy Emilia Romagna.
On the roads that the athletes travel from the sea to the hills and back we find a unique environment, with a strong emotional charge, where artistic and natural resources meet food and wine excellence and fascinating historical remains.
The Men of Steel race takes place mostly in the Cervia area, but crosses a route that touches on Cesena, the Malatesta town with its fascinating 15th century Library, Forlimpopoli, the birthplace of Pellegrino Artusi, the father of home cooking, Bertinoro, the balcony of Romagna, and then Forlì, the Roman Forum Livii, with the San Domenico museum complex that hosts prestigious exhibitions every year, and Ravenna, the capital of mosaics.

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