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Emilia Romagna day 1: Bagno di Romagna Featured

The best part about being a travel agent is having to pre-test experiences for my clients. As Italy is my #1 destination, I spent five glorious days in the Italian countryside- mostly in Emilia Romagna. Emilia Romagna is widely regarded – by Italians- as the gastronomy capital of Italy. As food in Italy is amazing everywhere, it's hard to imagine how fabulous it is in this particular region. You'll just have to plan a trip (or take my word for it!)

Italian Countryside
I flew into Bologna and was picked up by my colleague, Riccardo. The hour and a half drive to Bagno di Romagna was breathtaking and even though I was SO jetlagged, I trudged through to not miss out on the gorgeous landscape.

Bagno di Romagna

Riccardo is a great guide; throughout the drive he was telling me tidbits about Italian life that only a local would know, like that fresh spaghetti is really only eaten in Naples. I felt like Anthony Bourdain in No Reservations!

Hotel Tosco Romagnolo

We arrived in Bagno di Romagna in mid afternoon just in time to grab a quick lunch at my hotel, Tosco Romagnolo. Despite having visited Italy before, I still had many misconceptions of the country and its people. Unlike Spain, Italians have relatively strict hours for meals. Arrive for lunch after 2 and you might be SOL.

bagno di romagna street Bagno di Romagna clothes

After lunch, I had some free time. I probably should have slept. Instead, my giddiness overcame me and I took a walk through the little town. My hotel stood on end of the main street. The cobblestone streets were lined with typical small town European buildings- some dating back to medieval time. In the main square was a stone church.

Bagno di romana church Bagno di romagna midieval

Hotels in Bagno di Romagna specialize in spa holidays due to the presence of thermal waters from Mount Comero in the nearby Casentinese National Park. My room even had a Jacuzzi! After the long flight, the spa was a welcomed activity. I enjoyed a massage at the hotel in one of the treatment rooms. The room was huge and unlike anything I've ever seen before. It was set up for a couple with two massage tables, a shower, private steam room and a large tub where you could take a joint Jacuzzi. It was the size of ¾ of my New York apartment. The strangest part of the room was the giant movie screen posted on the wall. When the massage began, the lights dimmed and a star-like pattern illuminated from the ceiling. The screen began to glimmer with relaxing images timed to typical pan-flute music.

Bagno di Romagna Spa

I felt revitalized after my massage, just in time for dinner. Italy is littered with Michelin restaurants. For months, Riccardo had been telling me about how the Michelin restaurants in the countryside differed from the fancy hotel $300 plus theatricals in the cities. They are less expensive, more casual. We met in the lobby to dine at Pret a Porter, one of the hotel's restaurants. The restaurant was very traditional Italian in its décor- very Godfather-eque. I would never guess this was a Michelin restaurant, though it may be more obvious during high season when the city is livelier. That's kind of what I loved most about it; so unassuming, so local-fancy. I felt like I was in the real Italy.

Pret a Porte calamari Pret a Porte Noodle Dish

The food was incredible; modern twists on classic dishes. My favorites were a creamy calamari dish and a brothy noodle dish which is typical to the area. By the main dish, I was stuffed. Riccardo explained that chefs get offended when you don't finish your plate because they think you don't like your food. Not wanting to upset anyone, I did my best. By the end, I was thankful my bed was only an elevator ride away.

Read 2071 times Last modified on Wednesday, 16 December 2015 18:07
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