This summer i had the chance to play few gigs in Romagna and Marche. These two are some amazing off the beaten track destinations that don’t see as as many tourists as they should. I could enjoy the Italian hospitality slightly off the peak season and taste some amazing food and wine.
After my show in S.Pietro In Bagno i spent the night in a very cozy B&B. It’s a rustic accomodation that the owner refurbished starting from an old traditional farmer’s house.
For as little as 25 euros i could get a big comfy bed for the night plus a proper cup of coffee in the morning.
The chestnusts were scattered all along the path, as a reminder that the summer is over and the fall is on its way!
The owner lets his Limousine cows ( a French breed very famous for the meat) free to pick the best grass from the surrounding hills. Even though i stopped eating meat more than 10 years ago, t’s kind of nice to see animals being farmed in such a natural way.
What’s so special about this area is the fact that the land politically belongs to Cesena province (Romagna) but the villages are all nestled on the hills that border with Tuscany. Therefore there’s a unique mix of dialects, culture and food that takes the best of the surrounding regions giving a strong identity to the landscape and its people.
These are the moments that make me feel the luckiest man on earth: getting paid to play my music all over the world and having the chance to visit amazing places and meeting fantastic people. This is even more special when the land you discover being so amazing is your homeland!
On the way South to the next gig i stopped for a quick lunch in Bagno di Romagna, a touristic destination very famous for its bhealing spring waters, active since Roman times. Plus, the local folklore includes tales of gnomi, (gnoms) that add a bit of mistery to this small village on the foot of the Appennini range.
HAving a light lunch with a local piadina is a must for every visitor. I went for the basic version, including fresh tomatoes, wild rucola and squaquerone, a local cheese, very light and creamy.
Did the tourist and took few pictures of buildings. That’s what i love of Italy: everywhere you go history is always there, pampering photographer’s eyes with an endless collection of millenary churches and palaces.
I know my sister and brother in law are big lovers of good food so i stopped and bought a bag of truffle scented polenta, a great dish for the upcoming season!
Driving south towards the region of Marche, i decided to avoid the coastal highway and opted for a longer but cheaper and way more interesting old route that runs all across the internal valleys. This is one of the most scenic routes you can choose: a majestic landscape sandwiched between Romagna, Tuscany, Marche and Umbria.
You know you’re driving loads when you recognize the peole serving food at Autogrill Italia and when you know which one serves the best food you can get on the A14. This salad has got cherry tomatoes, baby mozzarellas, walnuts, anchovies and black olives, served on an edible bread basket…! The days where musicians on the road had to survive on dried sandwiches are finally over !
I played my last third of this mini tour in the north western region of Piemonte. The venue was an old castle located in a tiny village in the outskirts of Novara. I stopped in the main square to ask for direction and i found myself in one authentic old school Italian Sport Bar, one of those places where time seems to have stopped. Everything reminds you of the early 70’s: fake wooden walls, an old TV with football matches, very cheap local wine and of course all the customers are over 70’s. In the past those were the bars where the main social life of a small town would take place.
It’s getting harder to find these spots as the new generations are into different things.
Few days after my return in my hometown it was already time to pack my trolley and leave for another Asian adventure!
Last wee in Venice airport and my flight to Bangkok is about to leave! See you next year Italy!