Romagna is made of unexpected events and surprises. Our first dinner of Romagna Diffusa Blog Tour was supposed to be in the famous restaurant, Il Mulino di San Michele in Tredozio, where chef Pierluigi Gentilini, prepares his spectacular dishes in the original atmosphere of the ancient mill.
I was told about this place by a dear friend of mine, who lives in the area. And, as I always do when I’m in a place I do not know, I “asked a local”. I thought it was a wonderful idea to have our first dinner here. But unluckily the restaurant was full with an upcoming event. And this was our luck: Mr Gentilini asked Beatrice Fontaine, the owner of Fantini Palace, to host us for dinner in her Medieval Palace.
Tredozio is quite a small town, but for sure it worth a visit. As many other towns in Romagna, it was part of the Tuscan domain since 1425, which explains how the main culture, language and social habits where the ones of Tuscany. Palazzo Fantini is the principal attraction of the village. Built around XVIth century, it was a country villa but also the main building to manage the huge agricultural activity of the Fantini Family.
The 1000 hectares of land, held by the family, are now a part of The National park of Foreste Casentinesi.
The garden of the palace is a wonderful example of botanic system of trees, plants, flowers, living together in a charming atmosphere. Roses and other beautiful flowers unveil to our eyes in the light of the sunset, quite a spectacular moment of the day to visit this place, specially because Beatrice explained us all the details about the trees and plants and the birth of the garden, created by her ancestors.
Designed in ‘800 takes the classic themes of the time: the secret paths, a fountain with water lilies, the precise geometry of the hedges, boxwoods topiati, beds of old roses with stachis lanata and flowerbeds “out of fashion” as dahlias and begonias, lantana and iris.
Higher up, the park of secular trees such as cedars of Lebanon, oaks, acacias, chestnuts, limes, oaks and underlying meadows with wild flowers such as daisies, violets, primroses and cyclamen.This part goes mysteriously lost in the rock garden with steps and walls according to a nineteenth-century style and romantic, with reserved paths.
The Palace is really huge, we entered a gorgeous escalier that opens in a living room full of old paintings, books and also a couple of ancient male suits. Everything seems to have a special history to tell and it’s like entering an old book of Charlotte Bronte or Jane Austen: a formal living room with a comfortable sofa, a little table with some old tiny and precious objects on and the soft lights suggesting a whispered conversation. Out of time and into the history in a few steps!
Teresa, Catherine, Randy and I have the pleasure to have some nice talks before dinner. There are such a lot of stories to learn and to hear, even for me that I have the chance and the luck to live in this are, wondering which surprises Beatrice has prepared for us. I asked Chef Gentilini to prepare a typical Tuscan Romagna Dinner: Pasta Lorda, Tuscan Panzanella, Aubergines rolls. Dinner was served in the old kitchen of the palace, where Mafalda, the houskeeper, is finishing it, following the instruction of Chef Gentilini.
The square table is welcoming us as an old dinner in the family, our new one, at least for this evening.
The evening is passing fast and it’s time to go! Tomorrow we will officially start or Romagna Diffusa Tour!
Welcome in Romagna!
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 Randy Sweeney of Traveling With Sweeney and Teresa Keane of Independent Travel Help.