I have a strange theory about autumn… The real New Year doesn’t start on 1st December, but on 1st September, when all the festivals and the lightheartedness of the long summer days are gone, and autumn sneaks slowly in.
So, it becomes the perfect time to make a long list of resolutions, planning new things to do, and making promises for yourself and the others that will last until the following summer: the gym, the English course, the cooking class, the next journey, the piano lessons or even some yoga, and the promise to try to be more open and available to the others.
In autumn, the winter and its coldness are still a distant future.
The weather is relatively mild, but the first long-sleeved shirt starts to appear, as well as the first evening wind-jackets, while the world all around us starts dressing new bright and fiery colours, and what we eat has different nuances and flavours.
With the last rays of the sun shedding their warm light on everything they touch, autumn becomes the perfect season for an outdoor day-trip.
Emilia Romagna has fortunately but the choice of possible places you can see with your own eyes in autumn, and – why not – even taste. “Sometimes, the real treasures are right under your nose”, my grandma used to say. And so, let’s find out together some new destinations you could visit during the autumn months.
IN THE BEAUTY OF VAL TIDONE
The first outward journey could be Val Tidone, a land between Emilia and Lombardia scattered with castles, sanctuaries, fortresses, but also with a wide offer of typical dishes and perfumed wines.
The hills all around offer incredible views with bright colours, shaped by the regular rows and vineyards of the several wineries, where you can go and taste the products of this area and some of the best wines in Italy, such as Gutturnio, Ortugo and Malvasia.
It’s a valley that you can enjoy on foot or by bike, going along the unmissable Tidone Footpath that sides Tidone Brook for more than 69 km – from the mouth to the spring.
In its centre, Rocca d’Olgisio is the oldest fortress in the area of Piacenza; it is an imposing fortified complex that stands on a steep cliff, from whose walls you might get an incredible view of Milan and its skyscraper on the clear sunny days.
AMONG THE VILLAGES OF THE CONCA VALLEY
About 90 km of streets, up and down the hills, is what awaits you if you go to the valley of the river Conca, with its number of little villages and suggestive landscapes. How do you visit it? That’s up to you! You can go by car, by bike, or just walking along one of the tracked itineraries.
Many visitors are amazed by the beauty of the countryside and its landscapes. Here, the sea is always a sight and the mountains, even the most distant ones, stretch – one after the other – to some of the most beautiful villages in Emilia Romagna: San Giovanni in Marignano, Saludecio, Mondaino, Montegridolfo, Montefiore Conca. Some of these places boast very particular features, such as the Onferno Caves.
It’s a valley made of villages all to discover, but most of all, it’s a valley made of landscapes, to enjoy and taste.
AMID THE COLOURS OF FORESTE CASENTINESI
Walking along the paths of the Casentinesi Forests National Park, you can breathe deeply the air of autumn.
It’s in this time of the year that century-old woods of larches, chestnut, and beech trees shed for a few weeks – the best period is between the end of October and the beginning of November – colouring the landscape all around with thousands of yellow, red, orange and golden tones.
This is an amazing time to go trekking, hunt for mushrooms, go for a horse ride, and discover all the little villages of this area sited between Romagna and Toscana, where the time seems to have stopped. There are so many places to visit and live, like experiencing the deep mysticism of the monastery and hermitage of Camaldoli, or doing an amazing stroll next to the pond of the dam of Ridracoli, or even hearing the roar of the Acquacheta Waterfalls, and discovering the suggestive village of Hermits and Campigna forest.
A rich calendar of events known as Autunno Slow, celebrates autumn in all its amazing features, giving a choice of walks, workshops, exhibitions, photography lessons, feasts, tastings, and many other special initiatives not to be missed.
ON THE BANKS OF CALAMONE LAKE
If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life, you ought to visit Ramiseto and spend some time on the banks of Lake Calamone (aka Ventasso Lake), in the heart of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines.
It’s a little jewel nestled at a 1300 height asl, surrounded by wide forests of beech trees and conifers that reflect their thousands of colours in the cold lake water.
It’s a highly recommended Sunday destination that doesn’t end by the lake but continues up to the peak of Mount Ventasso, walking until reaching its 1727 m. height.
From its top, it is a real wonder: blooming grasslands with orchids and tulips, a first glimpse of the sea in the distance, the lake under you and the tops of Cusna and Alpe di Succiso in front of the view, already catching the sight of the Apennines and the Alps not far away.
IN THE LAND OF MODENA CASTLES
In the province of Modena, between the countryside and the Apennines, Emilia Romagna hides to the world a tiny little treasure of culture, food and drink tradition, and events. In this area of only a few square kilometres, different communities, old villages and thousands of stories build a unique mosaic that deserves a visit.
Vignola, Spilamberto, Montalbano, Savignano sul Panaro, Castelvetro di Modena, Castelnuovo Rangone, the Sassi di Roccamalatina Regional Park are some gems that constitute this strip of land that is known as “Terra dei Castelli”, literally the “Land of Castles”.
The soft blanket of autumn colours with its red and orange tones the round hills of vineyards of this area, from which is produced the well-known Lambrusco Grapparossa.
Cover photo by Nacchio Brothers.
Davide Marino was born archaeologist but ended up doing other things. Rational – but not methodic, slow – but passionate. A young enthusiast with grey hair
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