Portico is a small medieval village in Romagna that, at first glance, looks deceivingly sleepy with little to do. You know… cobbled streets, older people from the village sitting outside, the church bell tolling in the background but I found out that there is so much more to this charming village and the surrounding area. So, you can chill out and relax but you can also get involved and see, learn, and do a few things while you are there. Here are nine but it isn’t an exhaustive list:
1. Stay with a family
When I arrived in Portico di Romagna, I was greeted by Marisa, the mother of the family-owned albergo diffuso and restaurant, Al Vecchio Convento. I was made to feel part of the family and was sad when it was time to leave. I love staying with locals because you learn so much more about the culture and I find it helps me to fit in better and not feel like a tourist. That is actually the point of an albergo diffuso. If you are interested, you can read more about this type of accommodation here.
2. Go for a walk
You can go for a walk around the village and go down to the river as far as the small waterfall to join the locals for a refreshing dip.
If you’re up for it, you could even follow ‘Cammino di Assisi’, which is the route St Francis took. Apparently, it’s a 10-day walk to Assisi. I haven’t done it but I imagine it must be a really scenic walk.
3. Learn Italian
If you fancy it, you can learn Italian from teachers who are native speakers because there’s a lovely little Italian school in the village. Staying with a family in the village and learning Italian at this local language school will really help to improve your language skills as you will be immersing yourself in the language and the culture.
4. Vist Acquacheta Falls
There is a lovely hike, which is mentioned in Dante’s Divine Comedy, that begins in San Benedetto di Alpe and leads to Acquacheta waterfalls. If you like the outdoors, Acquacheta Falls is a must. You can have a picnic at the top, sheltered by a tree near a rock, which is what we did. Matteo, from Al Vecchio Convento, led the trek and I couldn’t believe it when he asked us if we wanted a glass of red wine… and then coffee. Now, that’s my kind of a hike!
5. Go truffle-hunting
I didn’t hold out any hope of finding any truffles – ever the optimist – but Otto and Rex didn’t let us down and found two decent-sized black truffles. I wasn’t prepared for how fast-paced it would be and I just couldn’t get to camera quick enough to record all the action. It was a really enjoyable morning and you can watch the bits I managed to record as it happened.
6. Make bread
7. Learn to weave
I actually found this really relaxing so I think I could get into this if I had the time. It was great to see the end result.
8. Visit an active volcano
I had no idea there was a volcano in the area and it’s very easy to miss. Why? Because it’s not signposted and it’s really small. In fact, it’s the smallest volcano I have ever seen. The great thing is, there is no need to hike, you can just walk to it. It looked like a bonfire to me but, apparently, it is a volcano. If you’d like to go, it’s near the Casentinesi National Park. It’s difficult to spot it from the road so you will probably have to ask a local where the Monte Busca volcano is.
9. Have an olive oil tasting session
This is a bit more of a journey but I thought I would throw it in because it was a great experience. In Brisighella, you can compare different types of extra virgin olive oil that are produced in the area. We actually drank, yes (you heard right), the olive oil so we could taste the full flavour. It was strange to drink olive oil rather than have it dipped in bread but I learned so much and it helped to dispell a few myths, which will help me when I buy olive oil. If you are interested in doing the same, you can find out more here. If you don’t understand Italian, you might have to use something like Google Chrome to translate it as the English Version wasn’t working when I tried it recently.
So, there you have it, nine things you can do, see, and learn in and around this not-so-sleepy village in Romagna.
Have your say
What do you think of my list of things to see, learn and do in and around Portico di Romagna?
* This was part of the #romagnadiffusa project. I would like to thank my hosts: Alessandra from 21Grammy, Giancarlo from Albergo Diffuso, Tenuta Pennita, and the wonderful family at Al Vecchio Convento for making me feel like part of the family, showing me around a beautiful part of Italy, and for all the things I got to see, do, and learn during my time there.
** Please note that all the opinions and observations expressed in this post are purely my own.