The route of the athletes arrives in Emilia-Romagna for the ninth stage of the Giro d'Italia 2023: we are in Savignano sul Rubicone, a small municipality in the province of Forlì-Cesena, which is located between the gentle hills of the Romagna hinterland and the sea. A curiosity: the only outlet to the sea is that of the hamlet of Savignano a Mare with a tongue of sand of just 240 meters, since it makes it the Italian coastal municipality less wet by the sea.
The city was inhabited by the Romans, in a small settlement that stood at the Compito, a town along what is now the Via Emilia. The Rubicon River, linked to the famous crossing by Julius Caesar to the cry of "Alea iacta est", marked the border between Roman territory and Cisalpine Gaul. The three-arched consular bridge is still there to testify to the presence of the Empire: it is said to have been built in the first century BC, resisting intact for 2000 years, until the bombings of the Second World War. The next reconstruction took place with his original remains. Symbol of the city, it was immortalized in the works of Dante, Pascoli and Boccaccio. Today near the bridge stands a statue depicting Julius Caesar, a copy of the one found in Campidoglio in Rome.
Also worth visiting is the Don Giorgio Franchini Archaeological Museum of San Giovanni in Compito and the adjoining Romanesque parish church, one of the oldest in the area. In the library of the Accademia Filopatridi, established in 1689 and still one of the most prestigious in Romagna, more than 60,000 volumes are preserved, a heritage of inestimable historical and cultural value.
After a stretch in the plain almost totally straight, the athletes finally arrive in Cesena, a Malatesta city in the heart of Romagna. Its origins derive from Umbrian and Etruscan settlements, it was then a Roman colony and lordship of the Malatesta, a period in which it reached its maximum splendor. Since then, it has been the institution of the Biblioteca Malatestiana, the first civic library in Italy that is still active and can be visited, included by UNESCO in the Register of the Memory of the World, the program aimed at safeguarding the documentary heritage of humanity.
Do not miss the Rocca Malatestiana, one of the most impressive in Romagna, with its internal walkways, the visit to the prisons, the exhibition of merry-go-round weapons and the Museum of Agriculture.
Beautiful the millenary abbey of Santa Maria del Monte that houses inside a collection of ex-votos among the richest in Europe and a Laboratory of restoration of the ancient book. Also worth a visit is Villa Silvia-Carducci, home of the Nobel Prize-winning poet Giosuè Carducci, currently home to the only museum dedicated to mechanical music in Italy, Musicalia.
The typical cuisine of Cesena is very varied, thanks to the influences of nearby Tuscany, the Apennines and the sea, but the undisputed queen is fresh pasta: tagliatelle, strozzapreti, maltagliati, passatelli, tagolini, pappardelle and tortelli are just some of the types of pasta that are produced here. Do not underestimate the famous piadina, widespread throughout the region: the most classic among the "street" dishes of the area.