Brisighella, one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, is an ancient medieval and thermal village certified with an Orange Flag by the Italian Touring Club
thanks to its beautiful landscapes and environments, nestled within the Parco Regionale della Vena del Gesso Romagnola park, in the Tuscany-Romagna Apennines, along the ancient Faenza Road that connects Florence-Faenza-Ravenna (which today can also be travelled by train). Three rocky peaks characterise this road, the famous three hills, upon which stand the Rocca Manfrediana fortress (fourteenth century), the Sanctuary of Monticino (eighteenth century) and the mighty Clock Tower (nineteenth century).
Its origin dates back to the eleventh century when Maghinardo Pagani Da Susinana, Lord of the area, had a defence tower built in 1290 on the rocky spur where the clock tower stands today to monitor trade from Ghibelline Romagna towards Guelph Florence. Throughout his long military career, Maghinardo fought on the Guelph Florence side in the Campaldino battle of 1289, in which Dante Alighieri also notoriously took part; but then he was a champion of the Ghibellines of Romagna for a long time, in alliance with the Ordelaffi of Forlì. This is why it seems possible to say that he was a Guelph in Tuscany and Ghibelline in Romagna. This contrast irritated the Supreme Poet a lot. In Canto XXVII of the Inferno Dante refers to him, without specifically naming him, as the Lord of Imola and Faenza, and stigmatises his political conduct, considering it contradictory:
«Lamone and Santerno still are led by the young lion whelp of the white lair
who, with the changing seasons, changes bed»
(Dante Alighieri, Inferno, Canto XXVII, 49-51)
In the early fourteenth century the territory was passed to the hands of the Manfredi family of Faenza, who remained in charge of the city until the end of the fifteenth century. In 1500 Brisighella was conquered by Cesare Borgia, and later, between 1503 and 1509, it became part of the territories governed by the Republic of Venice.
Up high, a Fortress, a Church and a crenelated Tower watch over the town as if guarding it. Brisighella reveals itself in the glimmer of the gypsum that surfaces and shows itself in the pastel colours of the houses in the historic centre and coming alive in the festivities that involve you, as a guest, in an unforgettable experience. In Brisighella you can’t miss out on a journey along the Antica Via del Borgo (Ancient Village Road), also called the Via degli Asini (Donkey Road): what makes it unique in the world is that it is a raised road that runs basically enclosed in a row of buildings. You should also see the Parish Church of San Giovanni in Ottavo, or the Parish Church of Thò. Moving onto the Three Hills, the Rocca Manfrediana fortress was built in the fourteenth century by the Manfredi family, Lords of Faenza, to then pass into the hands of the Venetians. The Clock Tower stands on the peak of one of the three hills. The third hill is dominated by the Sanctuary of Madonna del Monticino, built in the eighteenth century. As you leave the village and immerse yourself in the charming surrounding territory, you can visit the Grotta Tanaccia, one of the most beautiful caves of the Parco Regionale della Vena del Gesso park: its landscapes, the result of karst phenomena, can be visited year- round with the exception of the period in which the bats go into hibernation.
Brisighella also offers gastronomic wealth. Its specificity, however, is greatly linked to the products of a territory that is still largely unspoiled and ecologically intact.
The reigning product is “Brisighello” extra virgin olive oil, which boasts a European DOP certification. We also can’t forget the cheese cured by aging in the gypsum caves, the meat of Mora Romagnola (an ancient breed of indigenous pig), the meats of the Romagnola cow breed, the forgotten fruits (including the Fox Pear), PGI Romagna Peaches, Nectarines and Apricots and, finally, the Moretto artichoke, typical of the ravine area. Excellences of the region’s wine production include the typical indigenous grape varieties of Romagna, in particular the Sangiovese DOC and the Albana di Romagna DOCG (the Passita version is excellent) which give rise to extremely high quality products.
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