Wine production in Emilia-Romagna boasts ancient roots: even before the Romans began perfecting the art of viticulture, wine was produced using wild grapes credited with therapeutic properties.
Nowadays, the beneficial and antioxidant properties are the subject of continuous studies and in-depth analysis, but its effect on good humour and conviviality is indisputable.
Could this be the secret behind the renowned Romagna hospitality?
This is an itinerary that takes you to three places where welcome and wine come together!
It all starts in Bertinoro, known as the “Balcony of Romagna” as well as the “City of Wine”.
Here, as part of the celebration of the European Day of Wine Tourism in November, the guided walk Sapere di Vino [All About Wine], along with the Riserva Storica dei Sangiovesi di Romagna [Historical Archive of Sangiovese Wines], and the Wines Consortium of Bertinoro open up to visitors.
That being said, your first stop is a fully immersive experience in the vineyards covering the surrounding hills, specifically Albana vineyards. Not surprisingly called Bertinoro's gold, it is a white wine produced from native Romagna vines that has gained the DOCG [Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin] certification. This honourable recognition is remembered today with the Campana dell’Albana, a beautiful bell that has become one of the most loved and admired symbols of the city, located on the terrace of Enoteca Ca 'de Bé. Other typical local products include Sangiovese, which pairs perfectly with a classic dish of passatelli in brodo [pasta made with Parmesan cheese, eggs and breadcrumbs, and served in broth], Pagadebit and Cagnina di Romagna. These wines are still produced thanks to the commitment of the local winemakers to preserve and enhance them.
Your exploration continues in the historic town centre, where you’ll find plenty of references to wine. Along the Strada della Vendemmia [Harvest Road], for instance, you can admire seven paintings, made by as many local painters, depicting the main steps in wine production. Strolling all the way down the street, you will come across a historic cobbled street, Via Vendemini, leading up to Piazza della Libertà. Here you will find the Colonna delle Anella [Ring Column], an eternal symbol of hospitality and the epicentre of Bertinoro’s history and traditions.
The view from Piazza della Libertà earned this historic village its nickname “Balcony of Romagna”. From here, your eyes can wander along the Adriatic coast, while sipping a nice glass of wine and enjoying some piadina.
The itinerary continues with a stop in Santarcangelo di Romagna, an old medieval town on Giove Hill, and studded with ancient underground tuff caves that many believe were primarily used as cellars.
This is only the first of many reasons prompting you to taste the wine produced on these gentle hills, with the proximity of the sea adding prized brackish notes. Another reason is that this territory is part of the DOC [Denomination of Controlled Origin] certification of Colli di Rimini [Rimini Hills], including Rébola, fruity and velvety, and Biancame, with its characteristic floral bouquet, to name a few.
However, Sangiovese and Trebbiano di Romagna take centre stage on Santarcangelo tables, pairing perfectly with local piadina and traditional dishes, such as handmade pasta (strozzapreti, pappardelle, maltagliati) with meat sauce, traditional soups, and “pollo alla cacciatora” [chicken with mushrooms].
The food and wine tradition of Santarcangelo offers non-stop gratification, and following your host’s advice is enough to keep from going nuts with indecision when browsing a menu. Before leaving this amazing place, it is worth stopping at the Museo Etnografico degli Usi e Costumi della Gente di Romagna (MET) [Museum of Costumes and Traditions of the People of Romagna], where features and accounts of folklore from the surrounding area linked to peasant life are collected and preserved.
In an itinerary where the common thread is the tasting of the best wines produced in Emilia-Romagna, your last essential stop is Dozza where you will find the Enoteca Regionale Emilia Romagna [Emilia-Romagna Wine Cellar], located in the evocative cellars of the Sforza Fortress: a well of wonders that gathers more than 1,000 selected labels, with a tour organized according to food pairings.
What’s more, it also houses a wine bar where you can take part in tastings led by professional sommeliers. The aromas and flavours of the best wine production in Emilia-Romagna will no longer hold any secrets!
Speaking of flavours, Dozza is crossed by the Strada dei Vini e dei Sapori Colli d’Imola [Wine and Flavours Route of the Imola Hills]: once again, food and wine culture is an integral part of this travel experience. Ranging from tagliatelle to garganelli, and down to ricotta tortelli topped with butter and sage, here the pasta made strictly with pin-rolled dough speaks of a tradition handed down for generations.
Furthermore, you cannot fail to notice that the Dozza town centre is truly an open-air museum, where the murals have transformed the urban landscape into a palette of colours covering houses and buildings, brightening up every corner with their different art styles. Wandering Dozza’s hued streets and squares is the best way to end your journey through the discovery of the terraced vineyards.