If we move from Ravenna and head southwards, in direction of the Via Æmilia, the area of the Apennines offers a great range of experiences, to dive yourself into the nature, culture and history of the territory.
The privileged departure points for the tour are the Valley of the Lamone river or of the Senio river. Moreover, not to be missed are the cities of art, such as Faenza, Forlì, Cesena, and the villages of Brisighella, Casola Valsenio and Riolo Terme.
Car, motorbike, bicycle, walking, horse: on your journey you will see fortresses and castles, forgotten medieval villages, well-equipped areas, spas, valleys and passes. Two itineraries above all: the Walk of Dante, which traces back the events and places related to the Supreme Poet, and the network of trails of the Regional Park Vena del Gesso, such as the loop-trail of Carné or the trail of Monte Mauro.
Faenza and Brisighella
About thirty kilometres away from Ravenna, towards Bologna, is FAENZA, the second biggest city in the territory. Its importance in the Middle Ages still echoes in the beauty of its urban spaces, in Piazza del Popolo and the nearby fifteenth-century Cathedral.
Not to be missed is the Mic – International Museum of Ceramics, an institution with more than a hundred years of history, with works of art coming from all over the world. The museum perfectly shows the city’s artistic and ceramist vocation.
In the month of June, the city quarters liven up with the Palio del Niballo, an equestrian competition that reawakens the Renaissance spirit and the splendours of the Manfredi noble family.
One of the most beautiful villages in Italy is BRISIGHELLA, which offers a truly unique atmosphere. You can reach it by train or leave the car just outside the city walls. From here you will walk along the medieval streets of Brisighella. Via del Borgo, for instance, is a magnificent elevated and enclosed street running unter the imposing castle.
Since you are in Brisighella, taste some typical dishes in one of the many inns or enjoy the landscape. Looking in the direction of Monticino or of the Regional Park Vena del Gesso, you find amazing natural scenarios, across alleys, caves and archaeological diggings.
CESENA is one of the most important and oldest cities along the Via Æmilia. First Etruscan, then Roman, and today it features a magnificent historic centre of medieval design.
The keystones on the map are the Malatesta Fortress and the Malatesta Library, which are the legacy of maybe the most important period of the city’s long-lasting history. Cesena charmed and attracted many illustrious persons, such as Leonardo da Vinci and the Borgias. The Malatesta Library was the first civic library in Italy. It is the only extant Humanist Library in the world with a perfectly preserved structure and book collections, which is why it is part of the Memory of the World Register of Unesco.
Cesena is also modernity and culture, thanks to the sports, the events organized by the Bonci Theatre and Villa Silvia; not to mention the great number of pubs and restaurants with food and drink experiences from the heart of Romagna.
In the surroundings, you will enjoy suggestive views in the Apennines, and the medieval villages of Sorrivoli and Monteleone, but also Longiano, Sogliano, Sarsina and lastly Bagno di Romagna, in the heart of the National Park of the Casentinesi Forest.
Along the Via Æmilia is also FORLÍ, a city founded by the Romans, which had its moments of greatest splendour during the Renaissance and the first decades of the twentieth century.
Both the epochs left a tangible mark, such as the Romanesque Church of San Mecuriale, Palazzo del Podestà, Palazzo Albertini, Palazzo delle Poste. Moreover, Mussolini’s dictatorship deeply reshaped the centre’s architecture, especially in Viale della Libertà and Piazzale della Vittoria.
Forlì is also site to one of the most important museum complexes in the region, namely the Museums of San Domenico. Every year, they host exhibitions and expositions of international importance.
In the surroundings, the Apennines offer suggestive views, first of all the medieval villages of Bertinoro and Predappio, but also Castrocaro Terme and Terra del Sole up to Portico di Romagna and Premilcuore.