Friday, March 22, 2013

Medieval Brisighella: I Borghi più Belli d’Italia

The medieval town of Brisighella stands along the road that links Faenza and Florence, and is set amidst the greenery of the Romagna Apennines. One of Italy's Most Beautiful Villages, or I Borghi più Belli d’Italia, Brisighella looks mighty from a distancem with its two crags that rise directly behind the town. On one, the 14th-century Castle Manfrediana flexes its bulging brick ramparts, while across the gorge, the slender 13th-century Torre dell’Orologio strikes the quarter hour all day long. The old town is closely woven around the base of the clock-tower crag. In fact, one row of houses is built right into the base and within it is a covered street, the Via degli Asini, or Donkey's Road, and so named because donkeys once plied it going to and from the chalk quarry up above. 

Via degli Asini, a raised and roofed road for donkey, which is unique in the world

Over the centuries, Brisighella has been notable for producing three things: cardinals, eight so far; berets, no longer; and olive oil. The unique taste of Brisighella's oil is the result of its wonderful combination of temperature, wind, and soil. The cold forces the olive to produce more fat and less acidity, which accounts for its thick texture and long finish.

Brisighella's olives, for which the town is quite famous

And of course the olive oil is one Brisighella's prized local specialties

The Moretto artichoke grows on the ravines around Brisighella,
and are one of the specialties of the town's cuisine

And where there’s great olive oil, there’s great food, and Brisighella is proof. Nearby are three restaurants in the Osterie d’Italia guide, and one particularly charming one called Osteria della Fonte, where we fortunate to get a lovely table for lunch one afternoon, and enjoy some of Romagna's delicious and local specialties — and one of our best meals so far!

Brisisghilla's Osteria della Fonte

We splurged on a bottle of La Collina Sangiovita 2009 Sangiovese which was excellent

Osteria della Fonte menu

Selezione di salami e formaggi  locale - Antipasti Mista made with local meats and 
cheese with piadina, the local Romagnan flat bread

Warm Crostini con Fegato di Maro Romagnola

Ravioli ai Carciofi Moretti e Ricotta con Radicchio e Pancetta ai Maro Romagnola

Tortelli al Brasatto di Capriolo con Farina do Grano Saraceno, Speck, 
Pomodorini, Erbe Aromatiche, olio di Brisighella Sfumati ai Sangiovese

The fabulous view from the top of Brisighella over the tile rooftops of the old town,
where we burned off some of the calories from lunch!

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