Portico and San Benedetto
Portico and San Benedetto
A background of a love that has marked the literature and has crossed the centuries. In the alleys of this characteristic town disposed on three levels, in the shade of the castle and the church, according to folklore Cupid fired the arrow of love between Dante and Beatrice.
Portico di Romagna is a land of passage to the city of Florence, a medieval village immersed in a lush nature with beautiful paths that combine the most striking landscapes of the Foreste Casentinesi National Park with treasures of art and culture.
San Benedetto in Alpe rises to the confluence of three streams, of which the famous Acquacheta, immortalised by the verses of the Dante and today at the centre of the so-called "literary parks". There is a wonderful waterfall, and that in the past centuries of pilgrimage and spiritual retreat, has welcomed visitors to the Benedictine abbey founded by Cluny's monks, where in the 11th century San Romualdo stood before founding Camaldoli.
Known in the Roman era as a land of markets and later as a castle belonging to the Guidi di Dovadola counts, the village of Portico di Romagna preserves in its urban layout the characteristic medieval division of three distinct levels reflecting the social and political hierarchy.
The highest portion with the castle, the church and the Palace of Justice which was once the seat of political, military and religious power. In the intermediate area, along Via Roma, there were the manor houses and notaries from the 13th and 14th centuries and the noble families of Romagna and Tuscany who sheltered here from the hostile climate of political struggles. They also include Folco Portinari, Beatrice's father.
Finally, the lower level, by the river, was reserved for vertically built houses of the plebeians and craftsmen.
The pedestrian paths connecting the three levels of the village have survived the changes of modernisation and contribute to the visitor's image of a characteristic town that stands out in the green valley.
An overview that can be admired from the fascinating bridge, built on a single arch over the River Montone. But above all, it is a feature that emerges during the Christmas holidays when the country becomes an open air show of nativity scenes of every shape, scattered in the most charming and remote corners of the old town: statues lying on window sills, undercover , on the benches, drawn on the facades of the houses or placed within wire cages.
The tradition of setting up outdoor nativity scenes is renewed year after year among citizens of the village, to the point that Portico di Romagna has been called "The Town of Nativity Scenes".
The name Portico di Romagna dates back to the Romans who set up the portico for the market here. The coat of arms of the commune with the elm tree recalls an ancient medieval tradition: when by statute in 1384 it was established that the local magistrate had to go to the square, where an elm once tree stood, to read the laws to the people.
At the top of the town are the ruins of the castle with the Portinari tower, once a castle tower of Count Guidi, the church, the clock tower of the fifteenth century and the Palazzo della Podestà with the coats of arms of the Captains of Florence.
Among the palaces of its historic centre we find the Palazzo Portinari (XII century) in Florentine style with balcony and loggia, Palazzo Traversari with a tomb dedicated to the Camaldolesi General Ambrose dei Traversari, known for directing the councils of Ferrara and Florence in the 15th century.
There are numerous possibilities for excursions along the paths of Monte Busca and the Tramazzo valley or through the Passo (pass) Serra.
Autumn floods the air with scents, colours and flavours, celebrated during the feast of the forest and typical handicrafts, an event that fills the country with gastronomic and handicraft stands between paintings and photography and live music exhibitions.