Thermal spas, mountains and culinary delights: a stay in Porretta Terme
Right at the end of the Bologna Apennines, and almost at the border with the province of Pistoia, lies Porretta Terme, in the territory of Alto Reno Terme.
Here, amidst the summit of Monte Piella at 1,500 metres and thermal waters that were already known to the Romans, you will discover a place of exceptional beauty.
From the thermal baths to the mountains
This is not only a thermal spa and holiday resort known for its sulphurous and salso-bromo-iodine thermal waters, prized since Roman times: the town has much more to offer.
Indeed, Porretta Terme is the perfect departure point for nature excursions to the nearby hills and mountain peaks of the surrounding valley. And if the spa treatments and nature trips are not enough for you, why not test yourself on the tennis courts or in the Olympic-size swimming pool in the town.
A stroll through the centre
After a morning of relaxation at the spa, or at the end of a day of hiking, it's time to take a stroll through the centre.
The first port of call is the Church of the Immacolata, also known as the Church of the Friars, which dates back to 1800 and houses one of the world' s most famous mechanical nativity scenes.
A visit to the Church of Santa Maria Maddalena is also recommended.
At the dinner table, steeped in tradition
At the table, the genuine recipes of the past, those belonging to the mountain tradition, take centre stage.
Taste the necci pancakes with chestnut flour, zampanelle crepes and focaccine, as well as the zuccherini montanari (aniseed biscuits) and the famous tortina cakes. Try the chestnut-based Beltaine beer; you will not be disappointed!
Porretta Soul Festival
If you happen to be in the area in July, make a note in your diary of the events of the Porretta Soul Festival, a festival known throughout Europe and entirely dedicated to soul and rhythm & blues music.
It is considered the most popular soul festival in Europe and hosts musicians of the highest calibre.
A trip to the surrounding area
Thanks to its strategic position atop a ridge, the mediaeval village of Castelluccio offers magnificent views and is well worth a visit. Not far from here, just a short walk through nature, is the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Faggio. It dates back to the 18th century and is nestled in a beech forest.
Not to be missed is a trip to Granaglione, a small mountain centre made up of ten different villages arranged in a crescent shape. It is located in the Randaragna valley and is encircled by magnificent woods.
Not far away, you can visit the stone houses of Casa Calistri and Lustrola. Also in the area is Capugnano, where the painter Giovannino and the father of Guglielmo Marconi were born.
A small town, but full of surprises, Porretta Terme will give you more than one reason to want to return.