THE EMILIA ROMAGNA REGION
Small medieval and Renaissance jewelry and a maritime coast whose nightlife is among the most lively and effervescent in Europe. But also national parks with ancient forests and clear lakes, unique historical traditions, religious tours, the oldest university in the world and a food and wine from primacy. The Emilia-Romagna is all that and much more. And describe its complexity is a daunting task. Along the ancient Via Emilia, since Roman times, it has developed an intense cultural, economic and political and the differences between Emilia (with its Piacenza, Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Bologna and Ferrara ) and Romagna (Ravenna, Forlì-Cesena and Rimini) are found in the dialects, in the architecture and, above all, in the culinary traditions. And the kitchen is the best calling card that this region has in the world: the Parmesan cheese and ham, to name just two of the many pearls local food, are in fact the emblem of the Italian culinary that the whole world envies us.
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Bologna. Four thousand years of history, four thousand years of glories alternate and sometimes adverse vicissitudes. Located in a central geographical position, has always coveted, and, since ancient times, favorable for trade with the rest of the territory. Called Felsina by the Etruscans and Bononia by Gauls, is in Roman times that blooms and grows. In medieval times, however, gives rise to the famous university, the oldest in the world, and acquired the nickname “Dotta”. Since then it is inhabited by thousands of students who rejoice the historic center. Next to the University, its symbol: the Two Towers, the Garisenda and Asinelli, along with another twenty, are all that remains of the hundred towers that towered over the city during the Middle Ages and which earned the nickname of Bologna “Turrita”. Bologna boasts some museums for art lovers are a must: the National Art Gallery and the Mambo (the Museum of Modern Art of Bologna), dedicated to new trends in contemporary art. But next to Bologna historical monuments and culture, there is also the Bologna underground ancient channels – now restored and can be visited -; and that of the typical restaurants that offer the best traditional Bolognese, and cellars, where improvised jazz in a pleasant evenings.
Sea and mountains, hills and plains, rivers and lakes. In Emilia-Romagna nothing is missing from the point of view of nature. Among the national parks that stands out of the Apennine Tosco-Emiliano and that one of Casentino Forests (both shared with Tuscany), in addition to 14 other regional parks including that of the Po Delta, the Monte Sole, the Lakes Suviana and Brasimone, Cedra Valleys and Parma stream. The natural vegetation has been heavily reduced by human intervention particularly in the plains. Survive but some wooded relevant areas as the Bosco di Mesola, now a nature reserve, and the pine forest in the Province of Ravenna. In dei Gessi Park, just outside Bologna, you discover a wealth of rare natural beauty, as well as in the oases of the valley of Comacchio. For skiing, just go on the Apennines. The most important districts are located between Reggio and Bologna (Cerreto Laghi, Cimone and Corno alle Scale).
The last Sunday of May, in Ferrara, takes the oldest prize in Italy, that of San Giorgio, institutionalized by the city in 1279. In 1471, the prize was modified to greet the entrance in Ferrara from the duke Borso d ‘Este, returning from Rome where he had been awarded the title of duke. Still plays the procession century that greeted the Duke, with eight hundred characters in period costume. After the parade begins grabs, with four separate competitions:
one of the cherubs,donkeys and horses. Another prize, that of Niballo, held in mid-June in Faenza. After the race between two knights and flag wavers depart a magnificent procession through the city. The first Sunday of August in Cesenatico, however, revive the date; August 2 1849, the day when Garibaldi, chased by Austrian and papal troops , managed to escape thanks boats gave to him,from local fishermen. Today we remember that time with a maritime parade, fireworks and a big party on the beach. Also in Romagna, in the great square of Cattolica, in September, there is the Feast of the pan and grapes, which are distributed the grapes and lit the fires under the “protects” (grids) traditional to cook delicious “piadine”from Romagna. A month later, in Predappio (Forlì), we practice the traditional crushing grapes with feet, thanks to which prepares the must of the Sangiovese wine. In September in Canossa (Reggio Emilia) is the reenactment of the big party with banquet organized by the Countess Matilda of Canossa after the pardon that the Emperor Henry IV obtained from Pope in January 1077. The castles of Rossena, Rossenella and Canossa are the background to this costume representation involving the various districts of Ciano d’Enza and Canossa in contests of skill and spectacular sport skill. Every year (but the last Sunday in May) also the municipal district of Quattro Castella organizes a march to commemorate the coronation of Matilda, which took place between 6 and 10 May 1111, the Great Countess Matilde in vicarious vice queen of Italy. Hundreds of extras in traditional medieval costumes will gather at the foot of the castle Bianello to give life to spectacular and exciting re-enactment. Also in Reggio Emilia, in the first half of September, there is the Festival of Giareda, fair of art and traditional crafts. Between September and October in Rimini, on the other hand, it’s up to the Malatesta Music Festival, dedicated to classical music and an opportunity to hear the best orchestras of Europe, while the Bologna Festival is a music festival which runs from March over several months, with concerts by international artists. A classic event for lovers of contemporary art is Art Fair, usually in January, with museums, galleries, shops, clubs, squares and historic buildings that come alive for the salon artistic.
ByPlane – The main airport of the region is the Bologna Guglielmo Marconi, which is about 6 km from the city and is served by international airlines to low cost. From the airport you can reach the train station in Bologna with an Airbus which leaves every 15 minutes (from 5:30 am until 23). The second airport in the region is the “Ridolfi” Forlì, the third to the airport “Federico Fellini” in Rimini.
By Train – That of Bologna is one of the largest railway junctions Italian and connects Northern Italy with the Centre and the South. It is therefore easy to get from any city of the Peninsula. Along the railway linking Milan to Bologna, you can rest in all the provincial capitals of Emilia and then take local trains to the main tourist areas, such as Salsomaggiore (Parma), Scandiano (Reggio Emilia), the hill Bolognese, Lower Parma and Reggio Emilia and Modena mountains. The Adriatic coast, however, is from the railway junction of Bologna or from links Marche.
By Car – The Emilia-Romagna is well connected with the major cities of the North and Centre. Is easy to reach Milan, Florence and Rome thanks to the Autostrada del Sole A1. The A13, however, connecting Bologna and Ferrara with Padua and Venice, while the A14, called Adriatica, allows to reach Bologna and Romagna.
The Emilia-Romagna is a treasure chest so varied that it is impossible to name them all. Among the must-see: Ravenna, which boasts eight monuments included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Ferrara, in the lowlands of Emilia, which preserves the glorious memories of the time of the Estensi and is a slow city, to enjoy even turning quietly cycling . The petite capitale Parma not only offers splendid churches and buildings, but also the heart of a rich and tasty cuisine. Just outside the city gates, the tourist routes leading to the castles and fortresses of the Duchy of Parma and Piacenza, between the low and the hills (jewel unique Torrechiara Castle, near Langhirano, country ham). Rimini also has numerous important buildings, such as the Malatesta Temple, while the stretch of Adriatic coast is a succession of lively towns, especially in summer, are filled with tourists. But the Emilia Romagna is also a region rich in spas, as Salsomaggiore, Castrocaro, Porretta, Monticelli Terme and Bagno di Romagna.
TRADITIONS AND FOLKLORE
Among the deepest traditions in Parma and in the nearby countryside, there is the Feast of St. John, linked to the summer solstice. Banner of tordèj of Arbetti (tortelli with greens) and Ad La Rosada to San Žvan (the dew of Saint John), you eat under the stars, season permitting, in the open countryside, on a lawn or on a terrace, in direct contact with nature to get wet from the dew famous. Also in Parma, it is tradition that the young university students not entering the beautiful Rose Baptistery, which is located next to the Cathedral, until they have graduated, the penalty does not achieve the coveted title. The Bonfire of the old man(Il Falò del vecchione) is an old and well-established tradition of the city of Bologna and surrounding municipalities, as well as some areas of Modena, which involves burning of a large puppet which looked like the old (the old man) that takes place at midnight on 31 December to celebrate the New Year. In leap years it is customary to burn a puppet resembling a woman (the old). In Bologna, the burning of the old man takes place in Piazza Maggiore.
AT THE TABLE
The Emilia-Romagna specialties have become famous throughout the world. From the famous Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, produced and aged from 1 to 3 years between Parma, Piacenza and Reggio Emilia. But say Emilia-Romagna, in the kitchen, you say pig. From this animal will produce wonders culinary like mortadella Bologna, Parma ham, the salami of Felino (Parma), the Culatello of Zibello(Parma),the salama of Ferrara sauce (heavily spiced and seasoned from 12 to 24 months) , the sausage and the knuckle of Modena. In Val di Taro (Parma) collects the famous mushroom called Borgotaro, while between Reggio and Modena balsamic vinegar is produced. Although administratively united, Emilia and Romagna have very different culinary traditions. The Emilian cuisine (but you should talk to a constellation of cuisines, the result of nearly eight centuries of autonomy of its cities) has recognized reputation of a solid cuisine, tasty and generously topped. The Romagna cuisine is, in comparison, much more simple and rough, as he wrote the forlivese Piero Camporesi: “taste primitive, almost barbaric background”. But both Emilia Romagna that have given the best of themselves in the first dishes. First, the noodles, the thin and copact sheet and seasoned with Bolognese sauce (meat and tomato) or with diced ham fried in butter. With the dough green are custom made” the lasagne al forno” abundant dish wich alternate layers of bolognese sauce,bechamel sauce and Parmesan. Banner of the Bologna and Modena cuisine (to be more precise Castelfranchese),the tortellini belong to the family of pastry filled with ingredients more or less noble. Traditionally served in broth, are eaten also with cream or sauce. Among other stuffed pastas are also cited tortelli di erbetta (Parma area), the “lean cappelletti” in Romagna. There are also stuffed tortelloni which consist of fine meat products such as sausage and ham, strictly united with the other raw ingredients based on cooked meats, eggs, Parmesan and nutmeg or with ricotta and spinach. And then, again, the anolini in broth of Parma and Piacenza and pumpkin tortelli (similar to Mantua, there are a variant of Piacenza and a Reggio Emilia, are then called pumpkin cappellacci in Ferrarese). Do not forget, finally, the Reggiano erbazzone sort of pie with spinach and other vegetables all seasoned large doses of Parmesan cheese and baked in the oven.
The craftsmanship in the region comes alive and vital. Among ceramics, mosaics, textiles and ceramic dolls, there really will be spoiled for choice. Near Ravenna, thanks to the influence of the Byzantine school of mosaic is known around the world. Always linked to the presence Byzantine the tradition of embroidery proposes flowers, grapes, pomegranate on tablecloths and fabrics. In Faenza, however, is important to the production of ceramics and many artisan shops propose models and decorations of the past, when the “fayence” were in Europe a particular type of majolica, lucid and valuable.
DID YOU KNOW THAT…
The first Italian municipality (and perhaps the first city in the world) to free the slaves was Bologna? After the battle of Fossalta (1249) the lordships of the Bologna county were almost all defeats. The result was a reflection on the ethical and economic servants, until then owned by the lords. In August 25, 1256 the bell of the Arengo from the Podestà Building rallied the citizens of Bologna in Piazza Maggiore: the mayor and the captain of the people announced the release of about 6 thousand servants, belonging to 400 gentlemen (only Prendiparte family, owners of ‘eponymous tower, possessed more than 200). They were redeemed by the payment, by the municipal treasury, for 8 (for children) or 10 (for more than fourteen years) silver Bolognese lire ; these were roughly the market prices of the servants. For the liberation of 5.855 servants the municipality paid 54 014 Bolognese lire.