If you have not had a chance to visit the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, then I have a treat for you. I know I have told stories about this region before. Now don’t get me wrong, I love the big four: Rome, Milan, Florence and Venice, as much as the next guy, but honestly, the crowds are getting almost too much for me to bear, and I just went again in May. Everybody loves Italy and it is beginning to show. These cities are a must if you have not been there, but once you have been to these major four cities, then it is time to branch out and go to some of the other charming regions of Italy. There are fewer tourists in these lesser known regions of Italy, which will make your trip more relaxing, as the hustle of big cities can get tiring.
I had an opportunity to take a weekend trip to the tiny seaside village of Cesenatico, which lies along the Adriatic Sea.
It was a nice getaway from the hustle and bustle of Bologna. Driving down the coast, and looking out the window, I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw the Barbie pink flamingos out in the marshes. Hey, it is not every day you see these in the wild! I remember seeing flocks of them years ago in the Atacaman Desert of Chile.
We pulled over to the side of the road to take some quick photographs, before jumping back in the car and heading on to this small town of 20,000. After getting settled into the hotel, it was time to see the town.
A stroll along Cesenatico’s ancient port, Porto Canale, is a great first stop and is still the historic heart of this maritime city. Along the sidewalks full of shops and restaurants, are the locals, fishermen, and tourists.
This canal was surveyed and drawn by Leonardo Di Vinci, who was called upon to do so by Cesare Borgia in 1502 to help improve the structure of the ancient port. There are historic ships that are permanently displayed in the canal water, which makes this area picturesque.
While there, be sure to spend the 2 euros it takes to get inside the Marine Museum (Museo della Marineria). It is completely worth it! There are two impressive boats, a “trabaccolo” and a “bragozzo”, which represent two typical Adriatic sea fishing vessels, that are set up in the main hall.
When you start to get hungry, I can also recommend lunch or dinner at Osteria dei Golosi, where you will find no tourists, yet fabulously grilled seafood, cooked to perfection, this is an eatery where the markets and what it offers dictates the daily menu, as it changes depending on what the catch of the day is. The chef and the staff are there waiting to make your dinner is special! The food was spectacular as you can see.
“And where shall I go to eat like a local?” I asked. She simply replied, “You must have a Piadina.”
A Piadina is a handmade type of flat bread, that looks similar to a thick tortilla or a pita bread that is lightly fried. It is loved in this region, as each family makes their own version and it is traditionally served in every local home. It has now been added to the list of traditional regional food products from Emilia-Romagna of Italy. For a Piadina wrap, I quickly received directions to Da Rina Piadina, where the Piadina’s have can anything and everything put inside of them. Varieties range from prosciutto with cheese and arugula to Nutella with coconut. They also serve sandwiches, kebabs, grilled vegetables, etc. The venue is an outdoor gazebo with tables along the canal street, it is a simple place but stands out for the quality of the food. There are many wraps for everyone from the most “loaded” to the most basic.
Hotels are sprawled along the edges of the main beachfront road, and there is now a new shiny hotel in town: the recently constructed Grand Hotel Da Vinci which is absolutely stunning!
This Select brand hotel has done an amazing job at designing the only 5-star luxury hotel in Cesenatico. Since it is freshly built, the swimming pool was not quite finished while I was there, but should be by the time the summer season starts. I was invited to the grand suite where the ‘aperitivos’ (pre-dinner snacks) and drinks (especially Prosecco) were flowing, as well as the views were spectacular.
But, don’t let the new money fool you, as there is also the Grand Hotel – Cesenatico, where time has stood still in old time elegance. This vintage classic luxury hotel has put forth great effort to entice you into its old world charms. My food and service were outstanding here as well.
While in Cesenatico, if you have the time, you should do a day trip to Cesena which is about an hour away by train. I highly recommend this lovely town and have told you about it before when I told you of the oldest library in all of Europe, that has been left untouched since the 15th century, the Bibliotecha Malatestiana. It alone is worth the trip.
LeMarche Region, Italy:
Tuscany Region, Italy:
Veneto Region, Italy:
Lazio Region, Italy:
Campagna Region, Italy:
Emilia-Romagna Region, Italy
Puglia Region, Italy:
Liguria Region, Italy:
Calabria Region, Italy: