I’m finally back! This is the first in a series of stories and
photographs about my recent trip to the province of Forli/Cesena in
the Emilia Romagna region of Italy.
Since ancient times, Emilia Romagna has been an agricultural area,
making it quite easy to colonize. As cultivation of the rich farmlands
grew, the expansion of the Roman empire followed.
Today every aspect of food production, from cultivating the seeds to
packaging the final product, is a big part of the culture of this
Traveling from Bologna to in Bertinoro, I saw farmland and forests,
and here and there, a castle watching over it all. Bertinoro would be
my base camp for the next five days.
I was hosted in the old Bishop’s fortress, now the University
Residential Center of Education and Research at Bertinoro. Once a
strategic military defense due to it’s elevation and unobstructed view of the
valley, in the 11th century Bertinoro became a place know for its hospitality, a tradition which is evident today in the friendly and helpful locals.
I didn’t get to see much of this well preserved medieval town, as I was there
to work with the Settimana Buon Vivere blog project, and
each day was spent learning about the history and culture of
But every day as I drove down the hillside, I’d catch glimpses of
vineyards ready for harvesting, fruit orchards, ancient stone walls,
and castles overlooking this serenely blessed landscape.
The beautiful scenery you see in this photograph is typical of the
entire area. I couldn’t get enough of it, and longed for time to just
rest my eyes in the various hues of soothing blues and greens. Some
mornings there would be a light fog over the valley, creating a truly
mystical ambiance that seemed to resonate with the origins of the old
It seemed a place meant to relax into life, a place to find peace. I
wonder if those that sought refuge here in the past felt the same?
At the end of each day, no matter where we were or how far we had
driven, I could always spot Bertinoro, a sentinel over the valley.
I have so much more to tell you about the food, wine and the
history of the area. I visited a family owned vineyard, Alta Vita,
where I caught a glimpse of what it was like to live and work on the
land, and took the healing waters at Terme Della Fratte, a hotel/spa
where you can receive wellness treatments, do sports, or just relax.
I’m certain there is something for everyone in this truly lovely area
of Italy. I’ll be back shortly, to tell you more.
©PennySadler 2013. All rights reserved.