Published on Wednesday, January 24, 2018

A perfect day of wine and roses

A taste of Italy's sensational sights, lovely walks, amazing food and wine, hospitality and kindness in a destination available for inspection.

After a lovely relaxed sleep in our warm and friendly, historic Italian country house Aloggio San Girolamo,   we'll start the day by enjoying the perfect breakfast outside in the sun. What's on offer? Well naturally there are delicious local seasonal fruits and juices and home-made breads and cakes and home-made yoghurt - all organic. There are also local cheeses and hams. And naturally great coffee (it is Italy!) and teas. And sublime views!

We take a short walking tour of lovely castle town Longiano. First we see the delightful chocolate-box theatre Petrella, renowned for its incredible acoustics and lovely interior. - time for a little song from the stage?

Then we walk through the cobbled streets up to the fabulous atmospheric medieval castle with its extraordinary views to the sea and the countryside. Now it's not just famous because it was built for hunchback Gianciotto Malatesta (the man who killed his beautiful wife, Francesca - recounted in Dante's Inferno). The castle has another claim to fame - the sensational art collection of poet Tito Balestra. Here we'll see Degas, Chagall, Leger, Goya, Kokoschka and an astonishing array of Italian artists.

After, we'll cross the valley to the stunning Villa Venti  where we'll taste the unique Mora Romagnola prosciuttos and salamis, plus the sensational cheeses of Renato Brancaleoni   . With these delicacies we'll savor the superb organic wines Mauro, Manuela and their family create in this wonderful vineyard.

Naturally we explore the stunningly-beautiful vineyard with its astonishing views and Mauro shows us just how he can bottle these sights, this soil and this air to be a real taste of the 'Terroir' using organic and biodynamic methods. Now we get to taste it!

Our antipasta includes local prosciuttos and salamis made from rare breed 'Mora Romagnola' pork, an array of half a dozen local cheeses including fresh 'Squaquerone', pit-fermented 'Fossa', cheeses ripened in strawberry and other superb tastes. All this is eaten with 'Piadina' flatbread which Manuela has made from her own milled flour and 'Savor' (a confection that Manuela has created from quince, grape must, local walnuts, honey and apples - amongst much else).

The wines we taste include Mauro's fabulous Sangiovese 'Primo Segno' - a superb organic red and 'Serenaro' a fruity white made from the indigenous 'Famoso' grape and much sought after by connoisseurs.

Now it's off along the picturesque route to the fabulous, historic Slow Food city Santarcangelo di Romagna.  It is lovely - a rich and beautiful hilltop town with a massive medieval castle and a colorful history which is very intertwined with the glorious food heritage in this fertile country. After a nice walk along Santarcangelo's colorful streets it's time for a fabulous Sunday lunch..

We have lunch in a stunning restaurant set in a local palace. La Sangiovesa  is ram-packed full of history. It was started 70 years ago by a bunch of local artists, including Fellini's friend and scriptwriter, the local poet Tonino Guerra. The purpose of the restaurant is to highlight the very best of art and design and history and sensationally, unbelievably wonderful food and wine. After a tour of the great flagstoned palace including seeing the amazing grottoes, we sit down to our late Sunday lunch.

We had antipasta at Villa Venti - so we start with three different sorts of pasta - 'Passatelli' made of breadcrumbs, parmesan, lemon and nutmeg; 'Tagliatelli' with a ragu made of rare-breed pork and beef; and 'Capeletti' little hats stuffed with cheese and herbs.

Our main course is a great platter of local meats including guineafowl, sausage, rare-breed ribs, local rabbit and beef - and another platter of great vegetables - fat tomatoes, peppers, aubergines - all cooked on the open grill, plus superb rosemary-roasted potatoes.

Now another platter arrives - warm Piadina  made using organic flour that is still produced in the water-powered stone mill and created in the kitchen by hand.

And, of course, dessert! We take a miraculous Zuppa Inglese - a traditional Romagnolo pudding made of egg yolks, dark chocolate, sponge, lemon and the mysterious Alkermis licquer.

And everything we've eaten is farmed on Sangiovesa's land and made by hand that day (like the pasta and the Piadina) and cooked fresh in the Sangiovesa's kitchen.

Now time for a walk around Santarcangelo and maybe a gelato?

And we visit the astonishing Mutoid community   for another taste of cutting-edge contemporary art.

We go back to Longiano late in the afternoon for a lovely evening walk. And so to bed in our Italian country house.

More perfect days here:

    Simply another perfect day

    Simply a perfect day

Travel agents and group organisers have a few perfect days yourself on a spring FAM trip HERE

Find out more about having perfect days in Romagna


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