[Emilia-Romagna Villages] Premilcuore: a nugget of history in the hills
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This week, we’re exploring a beautiful village in Tuscan Romagna on the north-western slopes of Mount Arsiccio in the upper reaches of the River Rabbi valley, just 30 miles from Forlì: Premilcuore. Built around its castle, the village shows its medieval origins, with old townhouses and period art, but it’s at its most beautiful in its leafy glades and turquoise waters. Then there are several nature rambles that you can take in the Casentinesi Forests Park. Premilcuore is also an Orange Flag village in recognition of its warm welcome and well-organised tourist services, while the characterful and well-preserved historic centre nestles in a natural setting of great beauty.
According to legend, Premilcuore was founded by a Roman centurion fleeing from Emperor Caracalla, who held him responsible for stirring up a rebellion. The Roman exiles devoted themselves to farming, sheep in particular, and they soon formed the nucleus of a community.
The village was controlled by the Guidi family, Counts of Modigliana, from the early 13th century until 1330, when it entered the estates of the Church. The pope gave it to Amerigo Manfredi da Marradi in 1372, only for the Florentines to take it 3 years later. They retained control for several centuries, apart from an interlude when the village was seized by Catherine Sforza. Premilcuore became part of the Italian state in 1859 and has been in Forlì province since 1923.
What to see
Premilcuore is set in some lovely country. The Casentinese Forests Park has some gorgeous spots to explore, such as Urlante cave and Sega waterfall, a harmonious blend of greenery and the blue waters of the river.
Premilcuore is home to the Museum of the Fauna of the Romagna Apennines, and the clock tower and Palazzo Giannelli are worth a good look in the picturesque old centre.
Premilcuore also has some interesting bridges, in Nuovo bridge and Gorgolaio bridge.
What to do
Summer: What better way to beat the heat than jumping in the springs at Urlante cave after a healthy yomp in the hills!
Autumn: Mengozzi mill is an attractive spot amid the falling leaves, just a short walk away in Fiumicello. This working water-driven mill has recently been refurbished and certainly makes an impressive sight.
Winter: The Museum of the Fauna of the Romagna Apennines is a fascinating place to explore all the secret sights and sounds of the forest. Wolf, deer and numerous diurnal and nocturnal bird species are just some of the creatures that you can meet if you go down to the woods today.
Spring: Nature is beautiful all year round, but the Casentinesi Forests National Park is especially lovely in the spring, whether you love trekking or photographing the flora and fauna.
Summer: The first week of August is a regular date for the Premilcuore boar festival, with food stalls serving a tasty array of traditional boar dishes.
Autumn: The village celebrates its patron saint on November 12, with St Martin’s fair, a traditional event with food and fun for all the family.
Spring: May 24th marks the Festa dell’oratorio del Mogio when soldiers’ wives, mothers and sisters came to pray for their loved ones’ safe return from World War I. Those who came back would celebrate that date forever.
Here is the full calendar of events.
Food and Wine
If you like your food, you’ll love Premilcuore. The restaurant menus are positively groaning with wines, cheeses and cold cuts as well as interesting recipes that meld the Emilia-Romagna and Tuscan traditions. You must try the burriche, a Jewish sweet or savoury ravioli dish that arrived in Emilia-Romagna many centuries ago and has become part of the Italian repertoire. Discover the other local recipes.
Pilgrim paths and walking trails
Premilcuore lies on the Assisi Way, at the start of stage 3 from Romagna into Tuscany. The Romagna portion is about 45 miles out of a total of over 180. The route begins in Dovadola, at St Anthony’s sanctuary deep in the countryside, and leads you on an inner journey to contemplate St Francis’ teaching amid the tranquillity of nature. Best avoid midsummer or midwinter, though.