Of course you have heard of the famous Tuscany region in Italy, but have you heard of Romagna?
This delightful area running up to & along the Adriatic sea is much less known to visitors from Ireland, the US and UK. Often combined with the more widely known Emilio area (Emilio-Romagna,) Romagna on its own is a perfect destination for enjoying the feel of real Italian life— especially if you adore good food and wine. Romagna is renowned even amongst the otherwise totally region-loyal Italians for its delicious fare!
Settimana del BuonVivere!
Each September the region has a ‘Week of Good Living’, Settimana del Buon Vivre in Italian, celebrating and exploring the bounty & community of Romagna. It was during this exciting time (bonus: hello warmth & sunshine– September in Romagna feels like an ace Irish summer!) that I was invited by the event’s organizers to come and experience some of the food, wine, nature and history of the region. I was completely won over by Romagna, and especially buzzed off the fact that I never really encountered many other English speaking visitors– it felt rather like discovering an Italian secret 😉 (Likewise, if you click the Week of Good Living Buon Vivre link above, use Google translate; it’s in Italian.)
Here are a few suggestions to explore in Romagna:
–> Get slathered in warm healing mud!
It is wonderful! Funny (well, I was giggling as I got mudded up) and highly relaxing at the same time, this is a treatment you can receive with the special local mud at Spa Riolo Terme. If you have aches and pains from issues like arthritis as I do, I think you will especially enjoy being cocooned in the warm mud. You’ll be wrapped in white sheets after the mud is applied, and left to relax as the warmth soaks right into your very bones. Ahhh, bliss!
A visit to The Riolo Terme Spa’s warm mineral water pool, with room for gentle swimming as well as massaging jets & fountains, is another delight. Just remembering makes me wish I was in there now… They’ve also one of their renowned healing mineral waters available to drink,— but that is not a delight! It is quite sulfurous- hold your nose & down it! 🙂 Here’s the scoop from their site regarding the Spring Mud:
The very fine curative mud of Terme di Riolo is unique in Emilia Romagna in that it “springs“, or spontaneously emerges from the ground, pushed by gas from “little volcanoes”, or mud springs, situated near the spa, and is already Naturelly mixed with salso-bromo-iodine thermal water. The mud of Terme di Riolo displays characteristics which are extremely interesting from the standpoint of heat retention capacity and ion exchange capacity (Official Analyses of the Hydrology and Environmental Protection Section of the Department of Pharmacology II, Faculty of Medicine and Surgery of the University of Pavia, July 1989).
Thanks to its origin, it is extremely plastic, with a velvety texture, and highly penetrable.
Once collected, it undergoes a maturation process in special tubs until acquiring the clinical, physical, biological and therapeutic characteristics that make it the ideal means for an anti-inflammatory, anti-pain, muscle-relaxing and revitalizing therapy.
Main clinical indications:
- Osteoarticular disorders: rheumoarthropathies in quiescent phases, such as post-injury primary or secondary arthritis, fibromyositic rheumatism, chronic gout in joints
- Skin: acne, psoriasis, seborrhoea, chronic eczema, urticaria, dystrophic lesions
- Peripheral vasculopathies, water retention and cellulite
At Terme di Riolo, spring mud is used:
- In Mud therapy (total and partial hot mud applications)
- In Naturel Methods (leg wraps with cold virgin mud and essential oils, according to Kneipp hydrotherapy)
- In Thermal Aesthetic treatments (virgin mud face mask, cosmetic virgin mud body and scalp wraps)
–> Savour a special Medicinal Herb Garden, & a glorious meal!
Il Giardino Delle Erbe is stunningly situated on a hillside along a steep & picturesque valley. Here they grow herbs and fruits of many varieties, used since medieval times. The centre is dedicated to expanding the knowledge of these plants, both in their cultivation and uses. The Garden is located in the Casola Valsenio area, part of Italy’s Chalk Vein. The Garden can also do guided tours for small groups with a couple of days notice. Additionally, there are seasonal events, such as this interesting one in October:
“Festival of forgotten fruits: the second and third weekend of October farms Casola Valsenio exhibit in the historic fruits once cultivated or gathered in the woods for food. You may find blackthorn, cornelian, rowan berries, pomegranates, etc. azzeruole. And ‘possible to participate in tasting workshops and cookery, contests of jams and liqueurs with the forgotten fruits.”
Not far from the herb garden is one of my favorite restaurants in Romagna, Il Cardello Locanda. The ‘ohh-ahh’ location alongside the vineyards, the charming stone buildings, the fantastic food, wine and service had all of us in raptures. This restaurant is high on my return-to list! It may be a cliche, but it is often true– the best Italian food is made by the Mamas. You’ll see some of them at work creating the deliciousness at Il Cardello Locanda in my video down below. Here’s some background from Cardello Locanda:
“The “Cardello Locanda” came into being on an estate owned by the Casa Oriani Fund in the Regional Park of the Romagna Chalk Vein, following thorough renovation of the old farmhouse known as “Mingotta”. The former threshing floor and the surrounding landscape evoke deep roots in an ancient peasant civilisation. For example the little stable belonging to the family that lived here is still intact and you can make out the spaces for the animals, a wood-burning oven and a well preserved hayloft built in accordance with the local criteria of the day. Cookery at the inn is closely linked to the flavours of the area, to the importance of seasonal ingredients and to a desire to offer guests the products of our land. Herbs, meat, vegetables, cheeses and wines are selected with care and attention, always seeking quality and niche products. Our kitchens are mainly supplied by local producers, and our special close collaboration with the Casola Valsenio Medicinal Herb Garden contributes significantly to enrichment of the flavours of the territory which arouse lively interest.”
–> Discover a Romagna varietal wine
For an absolute plethora of amazing wines, prodcuced both locally and beyond, an evening at Cantine Antica Grotta in Riolo is unmissable. Located near the medieval castle La Rocca di Riolo of Caterina Sforza, the fascinating Tigress of Forli, (TIP: the castle is a fab place to watch the sun set,) Antica Grotta restaurant & wine bar is a treasure trove of heavenly wines and tantalizing local food. This man knows & loves his wines!
One vineyard that is well off the beaten tourist track (their wines not sold in shops) is Noelia Ricci. You can also taste their Rosolio produced with their own pomegranates! I saw so many of these fruit trees growing in Romagna– the landscape is delightful and mouthwatering! Find out how you can visit the vineyard, here, from Italian sommelier (writing in English) Alessandra Catania.
Be sure to watch the video! These are just a few of the joys of visiting Romagna. In my next post on the Romagna area, I’ll bring you up to the coast.
Click for more on what the Casola Valsenio and the Riolo areas offer –do avail of Google translate as these sites are in Italian.
Many thanks to Settimana del Buon Vivre for having me over to explore Romagna! I hope to return many times & enjoy the Italian good life. See you in Romagna, readers! 😀
PS- If you love authentic Italian food, read this article on a great way to get the most out of food in Venice.
you can check out what they loved about Romagna as well!