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Ancient name: Fundum Sancti Mauri
In the 18th century, the city we know today took shape. At that time, the Torlonia princes founded one of the most beautiful agricultural estates in Romagna: the imposing structure of a marvellous, largely redeveloped farmhouse, known as “Villa Torlonia”, can still be visited today. On 31 December 1855, the great poet Giovanni Pascoli was born here. In 1932 the name of San Mauro di Romagna was changed by Royal Decree to “San Mauro Pascoli” to pay tribute to the poet. Today it is a world-famous shoe-making district.
Ecomobility activities: MetroSanMauro: an urban pedestrian route away from roads and traffic, with dedicated signposting. It is connected to an App about healthy lifestyles and route directions.
Typical Romagna cuisine. From piadina to lettuce, the main product of the local agricultural production.
Nestled in the Savio River Valley, a few kilometers from the sea, the city of Cesena is an important art destination, known for good food and a thriving economy, especially in agriculture, and for being the city of Wellness. In fact, in Cesena, cultural tradition goes hand in hand with hospitality and living well. Known for being the City of the Three Popes, but also the cradle of Sport and two wheels, as a promoter in good practices of sustainable mobility and is included in the Grand Tour of the Savio Valley. The city is characterized by a very lively center, marked by a cuisine firmly anchored in the traditions of Romagna along with beign a modern and dynamic university hub that attracts more than 5 thousand students.
Cesena is also the city of the Malatestiana Library, the only example left in the world of a humanistic library perfectly preserved in its building, furnishings and it’s contents. Rising within the Franciscan convent at the behest of Malatesta Novello, it is today a splendid example of a monastic-Renaissance library, which has remained intact in every part due to the joint custody of the friars and the Municipality; it preserves the original furnishings and an important collection of illuminated codes, as recognized by Unesco, including it, first in Italy, in the Memoire du Monde program. During the rule of the Malatesta family (1378-1465) Cesena experienced an era of magnificence, capable of giving the city the present face that it still preserves today, despite the passage of time. It was the latter who designed the town with the walls, which are still preserved in their entirety, but above all, they engaged in the rebuilding of the Rocca, which, from the top of the Garampo hill, dominates the entire city, confirming itself as one of the best-preserved large fortifications in all of Romagna and one of the most appreciated by Leonardo Da Vinci.
In recent years Cesena has begun implementing the strategic vision of “Cesena Sport City”, a plan to promote inclusion through sport by combining motor activity and wellness. Cesena is an attractive year-round destination. Many important events take place here, including the very old and traditional St. John’s Fair on June 24, Piazze di Cinema in July, the highly popular International Street Food Festival in the first weekend of October, the Medieval Joust and the Acieloaperto concerts followed up by a slew of in open-air locations, with theater festivals and music nights, the winter calendar at the “A. Bonci” Theater by Emilia Romagna Teatro ERT/Theater Foundation, and the international trotting races at Ippodromo del Savio.
Cesena, thanks to its rich Romagna traditions, has plenty to offer to those who are looking to dip in traditional dishes.
When, between a cultural visit and a walk in the center, it comes time to go to the table, you can choose a typical Romagna restaurant, a bistro, an osteria or try street food. In fact, the International Street Food Festival was born here in 2000, becoming a periodic event that is always highly anticipated and attended. And street food of excellence is the piadina romagnola, called ‘la pida’ in dialect.
It is a kind of disc of unleavened bread, often eaten in the characteristic kiosks, and accompanied by different fillings such as squacquerone (typical fresh and creamy cheese) and rocket salad, or by local cold cuts.
The crescione, on the other hand, is an elaboration of the piadina folded in half and stuffed before cooking. The herb one is the most common, but there are many types. The piadina must be kneaded strictly by hand and rolled out with a rolling pin. It is cooked on the testo (‘teggia’ in dialect), which is a red-hot terracotta or cast-iron griddle. But it is not enough to put together the right ingredients to produce an excellent piadina: also very important is the thickness, which often reveals the precise area of production. In Cesena the piadina is medium thick while, for example, in the Rimini area it is thinner.
From piadina to pasta dishes: a continuous trundle of goodness! Not everyone knows that there is no term “pasta” in the Romagnolo dialect: the homemade pasta dishes of Romagna cuisine, whether in broth or dry, and by extension all first courses, are called mnestra (“soup”). “Mnestra sòta” (dry) and “mnestra int e’ brod” (in broth). Unlike other parts of Italy where “minestra” is exclusively a liquid dish.
Traditional soups in Cesena include those made with egg pasta sheets (tagliatelle, lasagna, passatelli asciutti or in broth, tagliolini, maltagliati), those with eggless pasta sheets (strozzapreti, pappardelle in broth), and stuffed pasta such as cappelletti (traditionally, the family meets on Christmas Eve to prepare them for the holidays) and tortelli.
Cesena’s fruits and vegetables, then, are a national pride. Crops include peaches, apricots, plums, Romagna strawberries, kiwis, apples, pears, and several distinctive varieties of cherries. Prominent among vegetables are potatoes, green beans, peas, lettuces, chicory, turnips, tomatoes, giant Romagna thistles, and violet Romagna artichokes.
Some of these crops are still in full production, while others now represent local or niche productions such as the Romagna shallot, which has been awarded the IGP label.
On the tables of Cesena, as well in the whole of Romagna, wine is widely present, called precisely ‘e be’ (drinking). Sangiovese, albana, pagadebit, trebbiano and cagnina are the protagonists of the barrels, cellars and hills of Cesena.
Moreover, Cesena is in a privileged geographical location: in addition to being just a few kilometers from the Adriatic Riviera and along the Via Emilia, it is at the gateway to the Savio Valley. Valuable and fascinating localities are promoted together under the brand ‘I Percorsi del Savio’ (www.ipercorsidelsavio.it). They are Cesena, Montiano, Mercato Saraceno, Sarsina, Bagno di Romagna and Verghereto. Here, local flavors and aromas are enriched with mushrooms, truffles, and chestnuts. Taste and tradition links that make Cesena and Romagna a land of hospitality and well-being.