Bertinoro: the Balcony of Romagna

view form the terrace!

View form the terrace!

Ah Bertinoro!

Bertinoro is a perfectly preserved medieval village on top of a little hill in Romagna and it doesn’t hold the nickname “the Balcony of Romagna” without good reason! The entry below was originally written as an email on the 11th and sent to some loved ones after my first visit to the town on my 3rd day in Italy. I thought the casual, genuine writing would be a great way to start out this raw adventure together. I mention Davide and Tania in this post, they are the mother and father of Giada and Cesare, my new Italian family (more details to come in due time). I visited this glorious hill-top village again yesterday and will write more about the history in a future post…

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I slept for 9 hours and still woke up very tired, and to my surprise, sick! Soar throat! I had agreed to go to lunch with the family after they went to church. So they came by and picked me up and away we went. I had no idea what was in store for me.

So off we went… the drive to this restaurant was no ordinary drive… it soon turned into a winding drive up a vineyard covered, fog rolling mountain (ok, big hill!) The family obviously did not seem phased by these views as they are so accustomed to them but oh my gosh it was so gorgeous I had to persistently inform them of my awe through the language barrier! Insisting that even though there was fog everywhere, it was STILL beautiful and amazing! I keep saying things like “you have to go across the county to see this in America!” and “Florida is flat, there is NOTHING like this where I live!” and “I have only seen this in California!” I am still not convinced that they really understood my explosive surprise at the sights..  and it was so strange to have such a passing experience with so much beauty to photograph!! I want to walk up the whole mountain every day for the rest of my stay! Davide says that he doesn’t think it is too far to bike up the mountain and to the little town the restaurant was in, so I might do that once I am better on a sunny day..

So anyways.. as we got closer to the top of the mountain and we enter into a little town. The most charming little Italian town I have ever seen, with very old yet so well preserved Roman Catholic churches, cobblestone streets and clock towers. This whole region of Italy used to be land of the Roman Catholic Church and the Vatican, the people today in Emilia-Romagna still pay taxes to the Vatican for this. The roads all look one way up the mountain it is amazing two cars can fit on these streets, now I understand the purpose of such tiny vehicles. In the little town at the mountain top the streets actually are one way with shops  and apartments nestled along the sides and small dark churches find there way to be randomly incorporated. There isn’t much room for walking on the streets and Davide said these streets are considered big and that there are smaller STILL!

Now we have arrived at the Restaurant, Ca de Bei, in this town of Bertinoro. Above the entrance to the restaurant is a terrace that overlooks the entire Romagna area! It is still fog covered so the visibility is very low but STILL, SO BEAUTIFUL! I had to again insist that it is gorgeous and say things like “for you fog is bad, but I don’t ever see fog like this in Florida!” and insist that it is good for my photos too because it adds a dreamy mystical look! Haha :) So we walk down what seem to be ancient stairs to the restaurant, with it’s own perfect terrace of tables and statues overlooking the region. We get inside and I soon find out that this is a special event for the Sommelier association.. basically, fancy ass people. Davide kept pointing out City Officials, world renowned restauranteurs, etc. Of course, given the event and the region, the lunch was extravagant and LONG, like 4-5 hours and filled with different wines for almost every dish.. We had a rose colored wine, and a white, and a red and a sweet wine for the desert.. of it was all so delicious. The fancy Italian Restauranteurs and Sommelier’s at our shared table seemed to be content with my level of appreciation and “new experience” as they called it.. smiling and watching my reactions. Sometime during lunch a marching band marched in and played around the tables for a while and there was gifts given away and cheerful santa-hats passed around.. ahh it was a lot of things. Overall it was fun, but by the middle-end, I was just exhausted, tired, full, and a nose dribbling mess.. not to mention very emotional. Davide and Tania’s constant  assurance of my happiness catches me off guard frequently with their deeply genuine ways. With Tania smiling big at me as she wrestles with the children, Davide translates “my wife is happy you are happy here” and I just smile back at her, “si, si!” and the kindness hits me like a ton a bricks. It’s emotional just to type it out. I want to do so much for them.. they are so kind.. and Tania works so hard with the children, they aren’t badly behaved, it is just a lot.. for anyone! She doesn’t seem phased by it judging by her bright spirits and warm-hearted interactions with them. It’s beautiful to see the levels to which this interaction with all of us can ultimately lead. I do love it here. I can’t wait to find friends!

So I have attached photos of the day’s journey and I hope they words here are easily translated into these photographs and you can feel what the day was like. I spent a good amount of time sitting on the ledge of the cold terrace “in contemplation” as Davide said. It was really nice. I see herbs growing everywhere here.. mint, rosemary, chamomile.. I think plantain and comfrey too!

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