An alternative, fascinating route discovering an area of Romagna with its traditions and quality products.
On a high hill in the middle of the Conca Valley, where once upon a time deer grazed and a temple dedicated to Diana stood, goddess of hunting and protector of the woods, a small town was born.
The “Monte dei daini” (Deer Hill) became a stronghold of the Malatesta Lordship on the borders of the lands of their rivals the Montefeltro, Dukes of Urbino.
First you enter through the Marina city gate and then you reach one of the most unique piazzas in the Rimini area, Piazza Maggiore, which is semi-circular and framed by a neoclassical portico. The main street leads to this round area, which the inhabitants of the town affectionately call the “pan shaped piazza”. It is the heart of the town, where the Palio del Daino takes place in the month of August, during which the teams of the different town neighborhoods compete in traditional jousting games.
The Fortress itself is also home to the town council and cultural institutions.
Two unusual places are not to be missed: the terrace that affords an incomparable view of Romagna and of the Montefeltro area, and the foundations, which harbour a series of secret passageways which were used for military purposes. One of the rooms houses a fresco known as “Madonna del Latte” by Bernardino Dolci (XV century).
So what are the typical gastronomic products of this town that are an absolute must? Mondaino is also known as the “town of gluttons”: in addition to fossa cheese (matured in underground caves) two other products that are the pride and joy of this area are prized white truffle and olive oil.
But let us proceed in order: “Fossa” cheese is made according to a specific procedure and is left to mature underground for three months. This gives the cheese a really special flavour, which is decidedly delicious. “Fossa” cheese is a niche product which obtained PDO certification in 2008, and which is produced by following three precise rules: only pure “pecorino primavera” sheep’s cheese is employed, it is left to mature for three months, and it is placed in the underground caves in August, once a year.
The underground caves have been dug out of sandstone and it is in the warmth of the caves that exceeds 30 degrees Celsius during fermentation, that the cheese loses water, salt and fat and then rises to a new life to afford the palate a heavenly combination of flavours and aromas.
In November, when the new olive oil has been pressed and the cheese known as Mulino della Porta di Sotto is taken out of the caves, the hamlet celebrates its typical gastronomic products with a renowned event called “Fossa, tartufo e venere”.
Talamello is a “balcony” that overlooks the Valmarecchia; it stands on a rocky spur at the foot of Mount Pincio, on the left bank of the river.
Like Mondaino, a visit to this hamlet becomes a must in November for fossa cheese enthusiasts. The poet Tonino Guerra called the cheese “Amber” because of its colour, but the name cannot fully define it: what counts is the flavour: it is delicious and fragrant and combines perfectly with a variety of ingredients.
The cheese is produced in the haymaking season in June and July, and is laid to mature for three months in the underground tuff caves of the town. The Amber caves can be visited by getting in touch with the owners. For further information go to this link. (https://en.riviera.rimini.it/situr/flavours/typical-products/fossa-cheese-ambra-di-talamello.html)
The old town is inviting to stroll around due to the feeling of intimacy it affords and the pearls it harbours in the space of a few hundred meters, including the fountain that lends a feeling of grace to the piazza, the splendid Crucifix of the “Rimini School of painters of the Fourth Century” in the Sanctuary of San Lorenzo, and the Cella del cimitero that houses authentic fifth century art treasures.
While the Museo-pinacoteca Gualtieri houses "Lo Splendore del Reale”, a collection that brings together over 40 works of art donated to the Town hall between 2000 and 2005 by Fernando Gualtieri, an artist of international renown born in Talmello and appreciated in China and Japan as well as in Europe and America.
If this area has captured your heart and you decide to stay longer than 24 hours, bear in mind that the area surrounding Monte Pincio, which is covered in pinewoods and century-old chestnut woods, is an ideal place in which to enjoy outdoor trips and activities.