CASTEL SAN PIETRO TERME
Castel San Pietro Terme, nestling in the picturesque Sillaro Valley beside the Via Aemilia, a historic Roman road, is the perfect destination for a pleasant holiday enjoying nature, biking excursions, e-biking, beautiful scenery and good food and wine.
Surrounded by a hilly landscape of breathtaking colours, Castel San Pietro Terme is located in a strategic position between the cities of Bologna and Imola. The city’s green heart is the Parco Lungo Sillaro, a park with a cycle and pedestrian path around it. The city offers a variety of marked bicycle tourism trails for enjoying outdoor experiences.
the wide choice of welcoming accommodation is sure to meet all needs. The Terme di Castel San Pietro thermal baths and the picturesque Le Fonti golf club – an 18-hole course immersed in the greenery – offer experiences and holidays for well-being, fun and relaxation.
Castel San Pietro Terme has medieval origins, founded in 1199 as a stronghold east of Bologna. The Cassero, a military fortification built to defend the area, with its Torre dell’Orologio (bell tower), symbolises the city’s protective boundary.
Savoiardo Castellano biscuits
Savoiardo Castellano is a traditional sweet of Castel San Pietro Terme. Research by students of the city’s Bartolomeo Scappi secondary school has revealed that these finger biscuits appeared in great banquets as early as the 17th and 18th centuries. As advertisements in Bologna newspapers testify, Savoiardo Castellani biscuits were already exported all over Italy between the 19th and 20th centuries. The Gardini family producing these biscuits in 1860 on their premises at no. 16 Via Matteotti, Castel San Pietro Terme. There is a story of a letter of thanks for a tin of these Savoiardo Castellano biscuits received as a gift by the Queen Mother, Margherita of Savoy, dated 11 May 1903 and signed by her maid of honour, expressing her goodwill and her pleasure at the quality of the product. The letter also contained a jewel – a brooch – now in the possession of the heirs.
Castel San Pietro cheese
Cheese, made from both sheep’s and cow’s milk, is a long-standing part of Castel San Pietro Terme’s culture.
Castel San Pietro is a soft, caciotta cheese with a delicate flavour which, over the years, has established itself as a symbol of the city’ food, enhanced by the local crops, most notably waxy barley and alfalfa, ideal for grazing cows producing milk for making caciotta cheeses.
This cheese is delicious enjoyed with a slice of mountain bread, with vegetables or, better still, accompanied by jams, honey or fresh fruits. It also makes an excellent filling or stuffing.
One of the city’s traditional dishes is braciola di castrato alla griglia (grilled mutton chop) accompanied by grilled vegetables and wines from the nearby hills. The local mutton is very tender and flavoursome with a slightly pungent aroma.
Other traditional local products include wines, such as Sangiovese, Pignoletto and Chardonnay DOP.
Cittaslow and Città dell’Olio
Castel San Pietro Terme is on the international Cittaslow (slow food cities) circuit, and hosts the Italian National Honey Observatory for the protection of bees, the guardians of biodiversity. ‘Castello’, as the inhabitants call it, is also a Città dell’Olio (olive oil city) thanks to cultivation of olives for production of extra virgin oil.
Located in the Po River Valley, Reggio Emilia is known as the Town of the Tricolour because here, in 1797, the banner – which later became the national flag – was officially adopted.
Known today for its gastronomy, for the quality of life and, internationally, for the “most beautiful kindergartens in the world”, Reggio Emilia is also a town of art: some of the most important personalities in Italian history were born here, such as the great Countess Matilde di Canossa, the poets Matteo Maria Boiardo, Ludovico Ariosto, the painter Antonio Allegri known as Correggio and the photographer Luigi Ghirri. Reggio Emilia is also a town with a strong artisan and industrial vocation. Many of the buildings that bear witness to this have been the subject of skilful interventions of industrial archeology and now host some of the most important excellences of the area in the industrial, educational and cultural fields. The Bridges and the Calatrava high-speed railway station welcome the visitor: the new access gates to the town, with their sinuous and light shapes, present the Reggio Emilia of the XXI century: a lively town, full of festivals – as European Photography – and artistic works.
The creativity of the Reggio Emilia cuisine has mainly developed in the first courses: the king of first courses, that is cappelletto in broth; tortelli: filled with pumpkin, typical of the Po River plain, or green, with a filling of chard and spinach; green lasagna, rice bomb and homemade tagliatelle, which in the mountains area are served with mushrooms sauce. For starters: Erbazzone Reggiano, the most characteristic culinary production of Reggio Emilia, deserves a special mention; it is a salted pie made with spinach or chard, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and onion. Born as a poor dish, prepared with food leftovers and improved with the excellence of our land, the Erbazzone accompanies Reggio Emilia people at both any time of the day and on holidays. Not to be missed are Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, properly called the King of Cheeses, and two drops of Reggio Emilia Traditional Balsamic Vinegar: refined flavours for demanding tastes.
The discovery of the town centre will start from the Tricolour Flag Hall and its Museum, which traces the history of the Italian flag with Napoleonic and Resurgence relics, to continue in the facing Piazza Prampolini, better known as Piazza Grande (Big Square), overlooked by the Cathedral and the Baptistery. Through the arcades of the Broletto, former garden of the canons, you reach Piazza San Prospero, characterized by the church dedicated to the Patron Saint and by its characteristic lions, symbol of the town. Continue along Via San Carlo to Piazza Fontanesi, a real outdoor “living room” surrounded by trees, the perfect place for a relaxing break or dinner with friends. Going along Corso Garibaldi, formerly the Crostolo stream bed, you arrive at the Basilica della Ghiara, a wonderful example of the Emilian Baroque style, which hosts precious works of art such as the Crucifixion by Guercino, as well as a cycle of frescoes on the female figures of the Old Testament. Continuing along the Via Emilia, the main street of the town centre, you reach the cultural heart of the town: many museums and theatres overlook Piazza Martiri del 7 luglio and Piazza della Vittoria. The renovated Museums Palace stands out for its naturalistic, art and archaeology collections; the Parmeggiani Gallery is an eclectic XIX-century museum house; the Synagogue and the Jewish ghetto bear witness to a piece of Reggio Emilia’s history; the neoclassical and majestic Valli Municipal Theatre dominates the square with its new fountain. Contemporary art has enriched many corners of the town: from Spazio Gerra to the works of Invitation to, from contemporary art in the Cathedral to the amazing Maramotti Collection, which exhibits works of inestimable value from the second half of the Italian and international XX century. In the town centre are Palazzo Magnani, the main exhibition venue – that organizes and hosts exhibitions – , as well as the recently renovated San Pietro Cloisters, that are one of the most important locations for events and cultural life. The RCF Campovolo Arena, the largest arena for shows and concerts in Italy, will soon be inaugurated.
Just 20 km away, on the lower hills of Reggio Emilia, do not miss a visit to the Matildic Castles of Canossa, Rossena and Bianello, Sarzano and Carpineti; obligatory stop also at the Bismantua Rock, an extraordinary rocky conformation symbol of the Reggio Emilia Apennines. In Gattatico the Cervi Museum offers a look at recent history, made up of commitment and resistance.