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  • Writer's picture5 Senses CulinaryTours

La Bella Longiano

Updated: Jul 13, 2020

Longiano is located in the Valley of the Rubicone on the first hills in the territory between Cesena and Rimini, in Emilia Romagna. It is a well preserved hamlet of medieval origins surrounded by double city walls, and a magnificent castle that sits atop. The 12th century Malatestian castle is imposing, but picture perfect lite up in the evenings.

Longiano reached its greatest rise in popularity when it became the residence of Malatesta family. Subsequently it belonged to the Papal State, as with all sudden change of hands, there is a story to be told. Sigismondo Malatesta, who built the castle in 1447 had a reputation as an exceedingly powerful man, gifted with eloquence and great military skill; and it turns out, he had a much darker side. So dark that pope Pius II wrote a damning account of Malatesta’s unspeakable crimes in his autobiography. I can forgive the fact he was born a bastard, not his fault, but under his tyranny no one was safe. Not only was he prepared to plunder and steal, but he was so lustful that he even violated both his daughters. He raped Christian nuns and Jewish ladies alike; boys and girls that resisted him would either be murdered or tortured in terrible ways.

Today, all of that terror is sequestered perhaps in the lower dungeons but, now Castello Malatestiano holds the treasures of the Fondazione Balestra with a surprising collection of Novecento artists like Guttuso, Maccari, Morandi, De Pisis, Vespignani and a small and precious selection of works by foreign artists like Chagall, Goya, Matisse, and Kokoschka.

The town also has a jewel box of a nineteenth century theatre. Teatro Petrella is superbly decorated and is known for its exceptional acoustics for performers even today. With lots of places to discover and rediscover I stayed at a patrician house that was originally a convent just outside the village walls overlooking a magical valley. Relais Corte dei Turchi is run and still owed by a young Turchi family and they welcome you as if you were too. Breakfast is served farmhouse style and all homemade. With fireplace going, comfortable overstuffed chairs it offers an atmosphere that makes you want to linger in the Palazzo.

Just a walk up the hill of Via Santa Maria and you will find Ristorante Dei Cantoni, Danilo the chef is in the kitchen and his lovely wife, Teresa is in the front guiding diners to all the fresh pasta choices cappelletti, passatelli, tagliatelle al ragù, lasagne, strozzapreti and “puntarine.” And a typical cloth basket is filled with hot classic piadina, so well-known in Emilia Romagna. Also the locally sourced Sangiovese and Trebbiano wines sit on the table. The surrounding countryside is abundant cherry-trees, plum trees, apricot and the DOP nectarine peach that don’t go to waste here in their freshly made desserts. Or for me, the Fossa cheese with its traditional fruit syrup. Formaggio di Fossa is a cheese from Sogliano al Rubicone, using an ancient process, small wheels of raw milk Pecorino are buried in holes dug in tufa stone and allowed to ferment for three months, the name actually means ‘cheese of the pit.’ This area is so full of wonderful foods, wines and more, I suggest you visit and enjoy this little piece of paradise.

Ristorante Dei Cantoni, Via Santa Maria n 9

Relais Corte Dei Turchi, via Santa Maria, 247020 - Longiano by Sara Canducci di Creative Studio

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