The suggested itinerary of “The Wine and Dine Route through the Hills of Forlì and Cesena” is 287 kilometers long. It is a complex trail because it cuts through six large valleys of central Romagna (Tramazzo, Montone, Rabbi, Bidente, Savio and Rubicone) in the hills and foothills from the Via Emilia to the north, to the small towns half way up the valley to the south (Modigliana, Dovadola, Predappio, Civitella, Mercato Saraceno, Sogliano).
Imaginary entry gates to the Route are the towns of Forlì, Forlimpopoli, Cesena and Savignano, off the historical Via Emilia.
The “side” borders of the area in question are the same as the Forlì-Cesena provincial borders: Faenza to the north-west and Rimini to the south-east.
TOWNS ALONG THE WINE AND DINE ROUTE
Castrocaro Terme – Terra del Sole
Civitella di Romagna
Savignano sul Rubicone
Sogliano al Rubicone
Morphology and environment of this extraordinary land
These geographical and morphological peculiarities, together with the particular locations of our members mean that the route does not go round in a complete circle, but the traveler can always go back to his starting point, if he wants to, without ever going along the same road twice, thanks to the dozens of roads (now all asphalted) along the ridges and counter-ridges and in the side valleys; the connecting roads between the counter-ridges, as well as often rewarding us with breath-taking scenery, also avoid repetitive journeys along the bottom of the valley.
The 287 kilometers mentioned above make up the main itinerary, taking you through or close by all the towns along the Route and the most important locations to enjoy food and wine, as well as those of significant historical, cultural and environmental interest.
The main itinerary also includes a complex network of many important secondary routes: it is in this vast labyrinth of roads that the one hundred or so businesses and associations which are all members of the Wine and Dine Route through the Hills of Forlì and Cesena can be found.
The six valleys which descend for 60-70 kilometers from the ridge which divides Tuscany from Romagna make up a morphologically complex territory. Geologically, the mid- and high Appennines in Romagna are made up of marly-arenaceous rock in alternate layers. The sandstone is dark and more resistant to erosion and the marl, crumbly, breaking up easily; this makes for scenery which the visitor does not forget in a hurry.
Huge cracks in the rocks (which are often slanted) can be seen when they are not covered in trees or hanging over riverbeds like spectacular cliffs. Some large, impressive examples can be found to the south of Predappio, and in Galeata and Mercato Saraceno.
Further down in the mid- lower hills you can find clay calanques, in stark contrast to the land cleverly farmed by the local farmers nearby: spectacular examples can be seen on the borders of the Route along the Faenza Hills (in the Modigliana and Converselle -Terra del Sole areas); and dramatic ones in the wilderness of the Meldola-Pieve di Rivoschio-Voltre area.
Deep in the heart of Romagna, in the area upriver from Forlì and Cesena, you can come across small villages dotted along the ridges and in the valleys: there life is imbued with craft and farm work, produce from the land and farms, with a contented balance between town and the country living, all steeped in extraordinary ethno-historical and cultural peculiarities. The precise geometric lay-out of the orchards on the plains blends into the beautiful harmony of the rolling hills carpeted with vineyards, like the ones often admired in and around Castiglione, Predappio, Bertinoro and Savignano.
History has left its mark
The legacy left by History in these lands is still very much alive. As well as the geo-historical dispute as to beside which river of the Cesena/Savignano area (Rubicone, Urgon or Pisciatello) Julius Caesar pronounced his famous rebellious phrase, there is an extraordinary example of civil, agricultural and military engineering from Roman times in the Cesena countryside, the ancient “Centuriazione Romana” where the land was divided up into plots of 100m x 100m. At Forlimpopoli, inside the majestic Fortress, you can visit the Civic Archeological Museum which is one of the most important and complete examples of its kind in Northern Italy, with artefacts dating back to the Roman era.
The Byzantine Exarchate of Ravenna exercised spiritual and political control over the church in the hills and mountains, through the Abbey of Saint Ellero in Galeata: and whilst higher up in the Appennines, in inaccessible locations, monastries of considerable importance were being founded, small parish churches (like the ones at Bertinoro, Civitella, Meldola and Modigliana) were established further down the hills, which were to become more important in castrum in the Middle Ages.
Then it was the turn of the Malatesta family to leave its indelible mark, from a historical, artistic and cultural point of view, especially in Rimini and Cesena (Cesena, Montiano, Longiano, Roncofreddo, Borghi and Sogliano).
And, finally, traces of “Florentine Romagna” (architecture, toponymy, some recipes) along the Route through the Hills of Forlì and Cesena can be seen at Castrocaro – Terra del Sole, Dovadola and Modigliana, which were governed by the Grand Duke of Tuscany for five centuries.
From the quality of life to the quality of a holiday
The Hills of Forlì and Cesena: such a varied land, rich in values and motivations, facilities and businesses, that it seemed a perfect backdrop to develop our tourism with the flavors, colors and perfumes of our local food and wine, but that is not all: artistic and traditional craftwork; celebrations, fairs and festivals; high quality service in hotels and other facilities, modern spa facilities; sport: walks, hikes, horse-riding, mountain biking; cycling (most of the ‘Nove Colli’ cycle race follows the Wine and Dine Route).
And let’s not forget the tradition of “living life to the full”, typical of the people of Romagna, but perhaps especially found in the hills and valleys. The places along the Wine and Dine Route through the Hills of Forlì and Cesena: where the quality of the land is reflected in the quality of a holiday.
Courtesy of Strada dei vini e dei sapori di Forli e Cesena