Extraordinary museums, identity and passions of a living land

Extraordinary museums, identity and passions of a living land

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History, nature and timeless values

The great museums of the province of Ravenna serve as custodians of the past and hubs of fervent cultural production. They preserve treasures of infinite value and are visited every year by hundreds of thousands of tourists from all over the world. Alongside these, there are numerous other exhibition itineraries that express the territory’s identity and provide the perfect introduction for those who wish to discover the soul of this part of Romagna and its inhabitants.

Inside the Rocca di Brisighella, the “Man and Gypsum” Museum narrates humanity’s long relationship with this territory and the mineral that characterizes it, while the Landscape Museum of the Faenza Apennines, housed in the Rocca di Riolo Terme, focuses on the Middle Ages and the local cultural heritage. The Museum of the Risorgimento and the Contemporary Age, the Diocesan Museum, the Casa Bendandi Museum and Municipal Geophysical Observatory as well as the Torricelliano Museum all in Faenza, deserve special attention for the works they house. In addition, Faenza’s Natural Sciences Museum, which is the most important in the province, has a botanical garden, an ornithological collection, and an entomological collection of high scientific value. Moving to Villanova di Bagnacavallo, the Ecomuseum of Marsh Grasses with its various educational and multimedia rooms, displays a rich collection of equipment and artefacts linked to the processing of the spontaneous vegetation that was characteristic of the town until the 1960s. There are also various types of faithfully reconstructed huts on display outside.

Massa Lombarda, named the “Capital of fruit farming” in 1927, dedicates the Adolfo Bonvicini Museum to this activity that was central to the town’s economic development. The museum contains a vast heritage of agricultural history and techniques. The Carlo Venturini Museum, on the other hand, displays a kaleidoscope of archaeological and naturalistic items as well as strange and curious objects that testify to the different passions of nineteenth-century antique collectors. Equally unique and varied is the Luigi Varoli Museum in Cotignola which coherently expresses the transversal interests of an artist particularly appreciated for his paintings and papier-mâché works.

For aviation and war history enthusiasts two museums should not be missed: the Romagna Air Finders Museum in Fusignano that contains uniforms and memorabilia from the Second World War and the Francesco Baracca Museum, in Lugo. This latter is dedicated to Italy’s primary flying ace of World War I and has recently been expanded. There is an interesting Museum of Peasant Life in Romagna in Russi. Finally, the collections preserved in the Civic Museum of the Capuchin nuns in Bagnacavallo and the Marian devotional plaques in the Museum of San Rocco in Fusignano are fascinating.

Photo credits

1. The Luigi Varoli Museum in Cotignola, arch. Unione dei Comuni della Bassa Romagna
2. The fortress in Brisighella hosts “Man and Gypsum” Museum, arch. Strada del Sangiovese
3. The Francesco Baracca Museum in Lugo, arch. Unione dei Comuni della Bassa Romagna
4. Homemade Cappelletti Romagnoli, arch. Strada del Sangiovese
5. The Adolfo Bonvicini Museum in Massa Lombarda, arch. Unione dei Comuni della Bassa Romagna

Food – Romagna’s soups

Romagna’s home cooking has always been rich in soups and broth-based pasta dishes. Cappelletti in broth is the dish typically served for special occasions: Pellegrino Artusi prefers these ‘little hats’ of pasta to be filled only with cheese though some recipes do contain a little meat. Another typical addition to broth are the rolled strands made of a mixture of eggs, breadcrumbs, and parmesan known as Passatelli, that resemble in many ways tardura cooked in capon and beef broth. Other pasta dishes with a long tradition include manfrigoli, garganelli, strichetti (butterflies), strozzapreti and spoja lorda.

During the First World War, people began to remove the broth and add meat sauce or other sauces to the pasta. While tagliatelle is not unique to Romagna this type of pasta is very popular here and boasts some unique variations such as “Tagliatelle with bean sauce, Cotignola style”, officially recognised in 2006 by the Ravenna delegation of the Accademia Italiana della Cucina.

Wine – Romagna Albana DOCG

According to legend, this wine was served in golden cups at the court of the daughter of Emperor Theodosius Galla Placidia in Ravenna. Its name seems to derive from the Latin term “albus” (white). Its presence has been documented in Romagna since 1495 and it was the first white wine in Italy to obtain the Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin (DOCG) in 1987. Produced from the grape of the same name, Albana has strength and smoothness perfectly balanced by freshness and tannins, something quite unusual in white wine. Depending on the production area, it has scents ranging from floral to fruity. Widespread in the past as a sweet wine, it best demonstrates its qualities in the dry and ‘passito’ versions. This wine pairs perfectly with cheese-filled cappelletti and other traditional Romagna pasta dishes as well as fish and white meats; the dry version is ideal with dry pastries or tasty cheeses.

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