Along and around the Lamone, one waterway and infinite possibilities

Along and around the Lamone, one waterway and infinite possibilities

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A river of emotions from history to nature

There is a lush valley in the green heart of Emilia-Romagna which holds a microcosm of natural and environmental attractions, cultural traditions, and lifestyles as well as gastronomic products and a wealth of artisanal knowledge that is as precious as it is fragile. These are the lands of the Lamone, a river that rises in the Florentine municipality of Borgo San Lorenzo and, after crossing the Apennines near Brisighella, descends towards the Ravenna plain, sweeping through the countryside before reaching the sea.

While in its passage through the hills, it flows between deep banks and is sometimes almost inaccessible, downstream from Faenza and to Ravenna, the Lamone continues between man-made banks before reaching the Adriatic. When travelling here on foot or by bicycle, you will discover the many beauties of a unique territory: the lush plain, the reclaimed valleys, the brackish lagoons, the Ethnopark of huts in Villanova di Bagnacavallo, the centuries-old pine forest of San Vitale, the flooded forest of Punte Alberete and the fascinating coastal dunes of the river mouth. An extraordinary open-air museum appears before the traveller’s gaze, enriched by interesting historical-cultural sites among which some pearls stand out.

The Palazzo San Giacomo in Russi, built at the behest of Carlo Guido Rasponi, houses the largest pictorial cycle of private and noble decorations produced in Romagna between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, while the Roman Villa (1st-2nd century AD) possesses floor mosaics of great beauty and is one of the most important and best-preserved archaeological complexes in northern Italy. The river’s course continues between rural buildings, manor houses, traces of ancient valley life and fishing huts, with a variety of aquatic plants and an incredible number of aquatic birds. Slowly the vegetation changes, becoming increasingly varied until it reaches the spot where the precious fresh water is embraced by the seawater of the Adriatic.

Photo credits

1. Cyclists along the Lamone river, Luca Casadei, arch. Strada del Sangiovese
2. The flooded of Punte Alberete, arch. Comune di Ravenna
3. Fresco inside Palazzo San Giacomo, arch. Strada del Sangiovese
4. The Ethnopark with huts, arch. Strada del Sangiovese
5. Mosaics in Roman Villa in Russi, Giorgio Biserni, arch. Comune di Russi

Food – Small treasures found on the coast and in the plains and hills

Pine-forest asparagus was widely known and appreciated even in Roman times but more recently has seriously declined due to the considerable anthropization of the areas around Ravenna. It was thus necessary to intervene with a recovery programme of seedlings of the two main types, the San Vitale variety, slender and gently flavoured, and the Bardello which is more rustic and has a more pungent flavour.

The Romagna giant cardoon has ancient origins and is cultivated by burying the stalks in the earth to keep the stem white, more tender, and sweeter. The sculpit or ‘stridolo’ is a plant that grows spontaneously but is sometimes sown in suitable areas; it is fragrant, with a delicate flavour and has many uses in cooking.

At the turn of the twentieth century, the foundations of modern beekeeping were laid in the region and are still followed today. Two honeys whose quality is recognized are the Honey from the ridge of the Emilia-Romagna Apennines and Linden honey. Alfalfa honey from the Romagna Plain is produced in areas with a warm, humid climate.

Wine – Ravenna Famoso PGI

An aromatic white grape variety with an intriguing character, Famoso was mentioned for the first time in the table of municipal taxes in Lugo di Romagna in 1437. It was listed with the name used in Ravenna, Rambela, and described as a pleasant grape sold fresh in the squares. Over the years it was gradually abandoned partly due to its intense aroma and partly due to the phylloxera epidemic. It only reappeared at the end of the twentieth century in the vineyards around the church of Montesasso, in the municipality of Mercato Saraceno on the Cesena hills.

Since then, thanks to far-sighted producers who have grasped its value, Famoso has been cultivated with splendid results both in the hills and in the plains.

Vinified in still and sparkling versions, it produces wines with an aromatic profile with sweet floral, fruity and exotic notes. It is pleasant, soft, and elegant and goes well with fish, fresh cheeses, and dishes with aromatic and spicy flavours.

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