What do you imagine when you think of Italy? Your thought goes from Rome to Florence, to the hills of Tuscany and maybe you already dream yourself in the charming stream of the roman Bella Vita.
But arriving in Portico di Romagna with the bloggers of Romagna Diffusa, I had the strong feeling of a place lost in times, where life is good 24 hours a day, if you just close your eyes and start breathing deep, listening to the sounds of this little place, made by a water clear river and a few houses within the ancient walls, still completely inhabited.
Portico di Romagna is the Tuscan side of Romagna, so far away from the rest of the region but still very close (it just takes one hour to reach the cost of Cesenatico) and for sure very different.
The center of Portico di Romagna is its Albergo Diffuso, Al Vecchio Convento, a very special way of thinking about an Hotel which is scattered throughout the village, using ancient palaces, houses and even the old clock tower, where me, Catherine, Randy and Teresa had our new house for the first 4 days of this trip.
The Cameli family is the real deal here. Their guests are not only guests, but part of their family and this just a unique way to experience Romagna and Italy, just in case you do not know where to start your visit.
And more, Giovanni (the family father), Massimiliano and Matteo, are excellent chef, while Marisa, or better “the Marisa” is The Wonder Woman of the place. Just follow her singing voice and enjoy her always staying smile!
The village history is very interesting: Portico was for long the capital of the Tuscan Romagna, but the real origin, as for many towns in the area, is a roman one. And you can see it walking on the old roman bridge which links the two sides of the town. Porticum, the old name, describes the principal activity of the town and also reminds the surname of Portinari (the Beatrice of Dante, who’s family lived here). The three levels of the town describe the social organization of the town.
During our visit, together with our guide Giampiero, we saw the old tower and the Captain palace where the representative of the Florence power used to live. The tower is what remains of the fortress of Guidi Family which held the town till 1386 when the war against Florence was lost.
Going to the other side of the bridge, there is a nice way that follows the Montone river: this takes you to the “ Chiusa” which is an artificial fall with a pond where local people (and not only them!) go to have some fresh rest in the summer. Unfortunately we did not have our swimming clothes!
Our sightseeing tour ended with a curious place, at least for me, where women used to go and do their laundry (no washing machines at those times!) called the “Pilon”, an old dialect word which was impossible to translate.
What more could we ask in our first day?
Disclosure: This project was realized with the love and passion of the two Alberghi Diffusi in Romagna, Al Vecchio Convento and Le Case Antiche. My true thanks to the Cameli Family, Silvia Santolini, the Associazione Alberghi Diffusi and to the bloggers who shared with me this adventure, Catherine and Mr. TWS of Traveling With Sweeney and Teresa Keane of Independent Travel Help.