The delightful locality of Bertinoro is located on a hill 247 m above sea level, between Forlì and Cesena, 3 km from the Via Emilia. Classic example of a medieval village, due to its dominant position of the plain below, it was awarded the title of balcony of Romagna and the City of Hospitality; the Column of the Rings is its effective symbol and emblem.
The town centre was originally set around the fortress built supposedly about the year 1000.
Along the charming panoramic road of the Grape Harvest we arrive in Piazza della Libertà with the Column of Hospitality where, in the olden days, whoever left their horse attached to a ring of the column was welcomed by the owners of the ring.
The column named also of the Rings dates back to 1300 and tradition has it that it was built at the request of Guido del Duca and Arrigo Mainardi, two 13th century noblemen of Bertinoro who decided to put an end to the ongoing disputes between wealthy and noble families of the time who vied to offer hospitality to every stranger who went to stay there. As at that time there were no media, pilgrimage was the only opportunity to become aware of what was happening in the rest of the world. The Column of Rings was, therefore, a brilliant solution since each ring corresponded to one of the twelve affluent families of Bertinoro and the stranger, arriving in the village, tied his horse to one of the rings, identifying the house that would give him hospitality. The first Sunday of September, even though today there is no lack of news media, the Hospitality Festival is represented according to the ancient ritual: twelve families hang on each ring an envelope containing their names. Twelve Official Guests, chosen by a Special Commission, are invited to each take an envelope from the column and for the whole day they are the guests of the family or restaurant named in the envelope.
On the Freedom Square – piazza della Libertà stands the Cathedral, with three bramantesque style aisles leaning against the Town Hall because it was thought that the latter was in a precarious state of stability, it was not destroyed however.
The Town Hall of Bertinoro dates back to the middle ages, it was built in 1306 by Pino degli Ordelaffi, to become the Governor’s residence and seat of civil power and, as such, it has witnessed all the political and administrative affairs.
Travelling along the Via Frangipane we arrive at the Medieval Fortress which, thanks to its privileged position, has always been one of the most feared defensive buildings and a safe haven. In 1177 emperor Frederick Barbarossa dwelt in the castle with all his court and his militia and subsequently it became the home of famous personages such as the Sforza and the Borgia families until 1584, when it became the Bishop’s residence.
Currently, the medieval fortress hosts an extraordinary museum dedicated to monotheistic religions: Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, a splendid example of dialogue between different cultures, with works by Giacomo Manzù and Rembrandt. The fortress is remembered also for its past, splendid during the Lordships of Mainardi and Guido del Duca just as Dante recalls.
Bertinoro is also the headquarters of the Wine and Food Tasting Trail of the Forlì-Cesena hills association and boasts a large number of top quality vineyards and wineries.
In order to enjoy the culture of the territory we recommend a visit to a wine producer for a tour of the vineyard, the production process and for wine tasting with appetizers and local products.
INFORMATION ABOUT THE GUIDED TOUR
Starting point: strada della Vendemmia
Arrival point: the medieval fortress.
Entry to the Interreligious Museum: 4.00 euros, reduced 3.00 euros (not included in the cost of the guided tour)