It could seem obvious. If you have always lived in a place and your family roots are there, you should know your town.
But this is barely never an assumption. Most of the times you know the places you always go to: your borough, your office, the bar you eat your breakfast, the shops you see along the road from your house to the working place.
And there are parts of your town you will never see in your life, unless you are a professional guide or a very old person, having a long past behind you.
Forlì: the town of Buon Vivere
So it is for me. I live here since I was a child. Piazza Saffi was a place to run and try to catch pigeons. Now Forlì is the capital of Buon Vivere (the festival that shows all the experiences and best practices of Romagna along ten days since 2010) and is also the place of one of the best exhibition center in Italy: San Domenico Museums, actually showing Steve Mccurry “Icons and women” photo tales.
I have already had the luck to discover my town with some bloggers in the last three years, but this time was a special one. The blog tour organized by Romagna Full Time, the incoming agency in Forlì, was completely dedicated to Forlì. Eight international bloggers strolling for two days in the town of art, culture and food to explore the unveiled Italy, and the uncommon Romagna.
Silvia Donati, Elisabeth Salthouse, Sue Cooper, Antonietta Niro, Monica Cesarato, Jonell Galloway, Alexandra Korey, Beatrice Sartori, a group of wonderful ladies to storytell Forlì.
The art of eating
Forlivesi (so people of town are called) like to go out to drink and eat. There are several places in town that offer high quality entertainment for locals and students that live here attending the various university’s faculties all around. For us Salumè was the place. A tiny “osteria”, right in the center town and near to everything you want to enjoy: museums, shops, cafés. It is not an “eat as the tradition” place but notwithstanding this, you can eat real Italian with no great compromises. The dishes are well presented and served with a huge variety of wines coming from the surroundings but also from the rest of Italy. I bought a gorgeous white wine done with a local grape similar to Albana but fruitier. If you want to have a good start in town, this is absolutely a must, especially if you are new and do not have a car.
The restaurant is easily reachable especially if you are staying somewhere in the center town (Hotel Masini could be a nice place to stay).
Forlì also has something very special to offer: Eataly, the famous traditional shop born in Turin that is centered on the traditional Italian food, made out local products and producers. Here the lady of the kitchen is Giuliana Saragoni, former owner of trattoria Gambero Rosso and a point of reference for all the young chefs in the area. Tradition and taste. These is the perfect description of her way of cooking, passed in a few months from her tiny restaurant to the one of Eataly. A true challenge to keep her quality exactly as her customers remembered.
That is why, so surprisingly, the dishes that I ate there were more than I expected in terms of taste. The cream of fossa cheese that garnished the cannelloni with Ricotta cheese and Spinaches was the best that I ever ate.
Forlì: Palazzo Romagnoli and the Verzocchi collection
Forlì is by now one of the official capitals of art. Since 2005, the Museums of San Domenico are hosting important exhibitions that open a special insight on famous artists or historical periods. These events, carefully prepared by a capable curator, are just a starting point to visit this tiny but precious town.
Not very far from the huge San Domenico complex, Palazzo Romagnoli is another important center in town. Something not to miss if you are in town for one day. This recently restored ancient and noble palace, was once the house of Mr Romagnoli, prefect of Forlì, who decided to decorate the inside, following the neo-classic style. Now the rooms, still in a perfect condition, host the complete Verzocchi Collection.
Mr Verzocchi was a local entrepreneur with a special passion for art and industry. His personal way to match the two aspects, was to ask over seventy Italian contemporary painters a work of predetermined size (90 x 70) on the theme of work and a self-portrait. Between 1949 and 1950, Mr. Verzocchi maintained an extensive correspondence, sometimes even amusing, with the leading artists of the time. Some of which declined his request but most of them realized very impressive works. Each of them should have, as a recognizing sign, a little brick with the letters V & D, as the name of the society.
The collection was presented for the first time at the Venice Biennale in 1950, then Verzocchi donated it to the town of Forli on May the 1st 1961.
At the ground level, you will find the main collection while on the second floor you will find some temporary exhibition and a selection of works including oils and etchings by Giorgio Morandi, the Righini donation, the sculptures of Adolfo Wildt.
The event and educational activity of Palazzo Romagnoli are really very intense. If you want to be informed, get in touch with the information office, firstname.lastname@example.org
The museum has an English free audioguide and also a guided visit system.
Museums of San Domenico
Going out from the Romagnoli Museum and following the street to the right, you will easily arrive at a little garden with a parking place that opens to a great square, with the huge San Domenico complex.
You will first see the church of San Luigi, recently restored and opened to the public during the Buonvivere Week, and then, walking along the perimeter, you will find the official enter of the Museums. A huge space, built in XIII century, originally a Dominican monastery, restored at the beginning of the XIth century with the help of the Foundation of Cassa di Risparmi in Forlì.
You will enter in the original refectory, with the frescos of Girolamo Ugolini. Outside, the cloister. The complex hosts the complete collection of the Town Art Collection and also the temporary exhibition that every two years are the big event for Forlì.
The last one, which we had the chance to visit during Bloggingforli, was the Steve Mccurry Icons and wome
The next great exhibition will open on February 13th and will focus on Piero della Francesca. Most of the works will come from other foreign Museums. Two hundreds works that will retrace the entire work of this artist, a long forgot for many centuries, and then rediscovered in the last century. A unique itinerary to understand the poetic influence of this artist on the main painters such as De Chirico, Morandi and many others.
If you are interested in visiting the exhibition, contact Romagna Full Time and book your ticket here, http://www.tosc.it/
Disclosure:this post was written during the Bloginforli event, sposored by Romagna Full Time. I thank Annalisa and the staff for supporting me and all the other bloggers during our visit.