Wines and vineyards from the iron age that are tinged with gold. In the heart of Romagna, on the slopes of two hills, we find the medieval citadel of Bertinoro, which has made its most valuable asset a thousand years of hospitality. It is defined as the "Balcony of Romagna" for its square overlooking the Apennine, which between, cobbled streets, walls, towers and ancient houses lets visitors enjoy Adriatic sea views.
Art and history shaped the urban layout and the character of the people, leaving a mark in the two treasures of the village: the fortress from the 10th century and the column of the Anella. From the top of Monte Cesubeo, at the culmination of the ancient part of the hamlet, stands the fortress that is now home to the university and a residential centre and inter-religious museum
Here in 1177 Emperor Frederick Barbarossa stayed with his court and his armies, later adapted to bishop's residence, today it is a meeting place and a synthesis between the three great monotheistic religions of Christianity, Judaism and Islam.
In Piazza della Libertà the twelve-ring column stands, built in the 12th century as an emblem of the spontaneous custom of the village's families to open their home to the travellers by offering them hospitality.
It is said, in fact, that each ring corresponded to one of the 12 families of the village:any foreigner, that arrived in the main square, just needed to tie his horse to the column and already knew where to go to find shelter. A genuine tradition that is still remembered on the first Sunday of September, during what has become Bertinoro's Hospitality day.
Of ancient origins, attested from the age of iron, the territory is surrounded by vineyards and olive groves that in autumn assume tones of gold. Since Roman times, they have made Albana wine, it is a typical wine from this area along with the Sangiovese, as well as extra virgin olive oil produced in the region.
According to a legend that dates back to the times of Emperor Theodosius, his daughter Galla Placidia was passing through these places was offered wine in a humble cup. Hence the famous phrase: “The rough chalice is not worthy, this wine deserves a gold cup” (“Berti in Oro" means drink out of gold) from which it seems he name of the city is derived.
The urban structure of Bertinoro preserves the medieval structure, originally collected around the fort and then around the Palace of Ordelaffi, built at the beginning of the 14th century by Pino dei Ordelaffi and today the offices of the Council.
Among the remains of ancient walls, gates and towers there is a complex of the Cathedral (formerly the oratory of St. Catherine of Alexandria, patron saint of the city) and the civic tower, used as lighthouse.
Nearby Monte Maggio, stands the church of San Donato in Polenta, made famous by a poem by Giosuè Carducci, where Guido da Polenta's hospitality is remembered by Dante Alighieri. Dante himself quotes "Bertinoro",in the lines of the Divine Comedy(Purgatory Canto XIV).
Not far from the Madonna del Lago sanctuary, one finds the Fratta park, a place famous for its seven different types of thermal springs.