Ravenna & Rimini- Forli' & Cesena-Faenza &
The Wines of Romagna
The south-eastern part of the region Emilia-Romagna is Romagna.
The Romans occupied this area around 200 BC and it became a Roman Province. Before the Roman, tribes of Etruscans,
Umbri and Piceni inhabited the region until they were subjugated by the Senoni, a Celtic people from Gallia.
The Via Flaminia, the Flaminian Way, that connected Rome to Rimini, was completed in 220 BC; it was used to
transport wheat and other produce from the Po’ river valley to Rome and to facilitate the movement of troops across
the Italian peninsula. When the Via Emilia, the Emilian way was built, about 30 years later between Rimini and
Piacenza, the Roman established fortresses and cities along the way and implemented programs to develop the
agricultural potential of the region. In this very hospitable area, the most important cities are Ravenna, Rimini,
Cesena, Forli’, Faenza, Imola.
Ravenna was the naval base for the Roman fleet to patrol the Adriatic Sea and a commercial center with the nations
touching the Adriatic.
When in the year 330 the Roman Empire became the Byzantine Empire and the capital transferred from Rome to
Constantinople, the fleet was moved there and Ravenna lost its importance and lust.
Later, when in the year 402, the capital of the Western Roman Empire was transferred from Milan to Ravenna it gave
rise to a period of splendor in the field of commerce, art and architecture. Churches with artistic mosaic and
great palaces were erected, infrastructures built and land reclaimed to use for agriculture.
After a short period of peace, the Gothic invaded the area; then the German tribe of Longobards ruled the land
until the Byzantines took over again. After 500 years of hostilities, warfare among various powers, and often
changes of governments, Romagna was transferred to the Papal States by Rudolf I of Germany in 1278.
There were periods that Romagna was dominated by regional lords, or by the papal Rome, who to control the
population imposed their authority and most of the times used brutal and repressive methods.
Rebellion and insurrection affected the region from this time to the establishment of the Reign of Italy in
The food in the region is mostly fresh homemade pasta, meats and vegetables in the inland region; fish, sea foods,
pasta and vegetables in the costal areas.
The products and produce of the Apennine Mountains are preferred in the cooking of Imola and Faenza where dishes
are made with game, chicken, pork and vegetables, besides from freshpasta,which is
Cesena and Forli’ add to their menu seafood and fish; however in the coastal
villages and in the cities of Ravenna and Rimini, the main elements of their cuisine are exclusively fish and sea
Tourism and the fishing are essential industries to the livelihood of Ravenna and Rimini. Fresh fish are shipped to
the north of Italy and to the south as far as Rome. Tourists are present all year around.
The city of Ravenna, in connected to the Adriatic sea by a canal; its surroundings and the nearby beaches are the
preferred destination of German tourists, the numerous Byzantine style churches with their glittering mosaics
covering walls and ceilings are a great attraction for the art lover, the fast and simple cooking with its fresh
seafood and plain ingredients provides pleasure and enjoyment to the gourmets and food lovers.
Rimini has been an important commercial center prior to the time of the Roman domination as it still is at the
It is the birthplace of Federico Fellini, internationally known and influential film director, winner of four
Oscars. Also famous and located in this province’s suburb is Riccione, a magnificent and charming summer resort
called the “pearl of the Adriatic
Sea”. The beautiful beaches, the many hotels, good food, nightlife and the artistic attractions make Rimini a
Mecca for the Italian tourists.
is special bread cooked on the open fire, and made without
any leaven agent: deliciously stuffed with dry sausages or the other deli specialties made in the region.
The variety of the fish caught makes possible the creation of the brodetto,
a fish stew with many different kinds of fish, mixed crustaceans,
such as shrimp, crayfish and mollusks such as squids, cuttlefish and todari: cooked in
a fish broth with olive oil, garlic, wine and with either tomatoes or saffron. Tasty polpo,
octopus and potato salad with balsamic vinegar is served in
Ravenna; the abundant scallops, the cappa
sante, mussels, the cozze or
mitili, oysters and other specialties are served as
appetizers or as a main course. The zuppa di
poveracce is a soup made simply with clams, olive oil,
garlic, red wine, tomato paste and a few drops of vinegar. Squills, the canocchie
are cooked in sea water, a specialty of Ravenna and of
Cervia a resort village distant from the city of about 15 miles.
In all coastal villages and towns popular dishes are fritti misti,
fried assorted fish, broiled and baked fish, fresh pasta dishes with seafood or traditional
ravioli stuffed with minced fish,risotto
rice with fish, turkey or chicken sautéed in butter, garnished with local truffles, baked in a butter-cheese
sauce and served with polenta. The
eels not used in Rimini’s cooking are a preferred dish in Ravenna where they are cooked in various ways and
also used in the risotto con
anguilla, rice with eels.
Lugo is a small village located near Ravenna known for
legs, cooked in broth or coated with eggs and fried in lard.
di pinoli, the sweet pine nuts fritters or the castagnole, the
little fried dough balls are a nice conclusion to a fine dinner.
Forli’ and Cesena
are located between the Apennine Mountains and the Adriatic
Sea and in gastronomic terms they have the finest from the nearby sea and the exquisite dairy, meats and
vegetables produced in the hinterland. The fresh pasta served with meat or fish ragu’,
the risotto with wild asparagus and santoreggia
(an aromatic herb of the mint family), cappelletti, ravioli
stuffed withformaggio di
fossa and santoreggia,
or ricotta and cheese, bolliti
boiled or braised assorted meats, sausages with beans, squid and peas, rombo, the
turbot, orata, the
giltheads, mackerel, sardine, and other fish are prepared expertly, mussels, oysters and shrimps and all fish
are caught and delivered fresh daily.
Cookies, pastries and cakes are baked using old recipes, a delicious torta di ricotta con zabaglione, is a cake
served hot and covered with zabaglione. It is believed that the béchamel sauce was originated in Cesena.
The towns of Faenza and Imola have dishes using the local vegetables, chickens, turkey and pork. The ravioli are
stuffed with ricotta, herbs and spices and simply served with grated cheese and butter.Capellini
casserola is made with angel hair pasta cooked al dente and
dressed with tomato sauce and cheese, then mixed with eggs, combined with stewed chicken with Marsala and mushroom
and baked after it is covered with the local grated grana
cheese: and called simply… Capellini con
Romagnolo, beef stewed with onion, carrots, tomato sauce,
butter, olive oil and white wine, or sausages, rind and beans are dishes easy to find in any restaurant.
The large variety of vegetables are baked, fried or preserved in vinegar and/or olive oil.
cabbage is cooked in vinegar or served
which is rolled cabbage stuffed with finely grounded beef or
pork with parley and nutmeg and cooked in broth and butter; a vegetarian version replaces the meat with
breadcrumbs mixed with cheese and eggs and cooks the valigini
in tomato sauce.
The locally produced fruits jams and marmalades are used to stuff crostate, tart and cakes and to top the frittelle
di riso (rice pancakes) and some homemade cookies.
Since the XII century, Faenza is famous for the production of porcelain, specializing in first quality tableware
and decorative pieces.
The Wines of Romagna
The region produces a slightly sparking red wine from the
grape, beside the abundantSangiovese
Albana a white wine which is produced in a dry still
version, and in a sweet and bubbly type that goes well with desserts.