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Slow Tour in the area of Maranello

Don’t miss Ferrari Museum, the castles of Spezzano and Formigine and local food

We are in Emilia, in the area of Modena, a land of good food and ceramic industry, but very famous for a global recognized brand: Ferrari.

Ferrari Museum

A “must” for all fans, who they can find legendary models, thematic rooms, insights into the Ferraris that have made the history, as well as projections of films and Formula 1 simulators. A few steps from the Museum, in via Enzo Ferrari, there are the Sports Management and the Establishments. If you hear a rumble as you travel along the streets of Fiorano and Maranello, it will most likely come from the track: the track runs over 3 km, with 14 bends and a chicane. Near the entrance, a monument commemorates the legendary driver Gilles Villeneuve: the street where the track is located today is dedicated to him.

Curiosities:

  • 4000 employees work for Ferrari.
  • Approximately 10,000 Ferraris are produced each year, all personalized
  • You can choose from dozens of colors, except one that is absolutely forbidden: pink.
  • Ferrari is forced to reject many of the requests it receives every year.
  • Waiting time: about 12 months.
  • Every day 25 to 35 Ferraris leave the factory, ready to be delivered all over the world.
  • The “Enzo” model is one of the most admired cars by fans of the brand. To get it, Ferrari itself contacted the customers, selecting them from among some V.I.P. and people who already owned or had owned a total of five Ferrari models.

Formigine Castle

Moving a few kilometres from Maranello, it is possible to reach Formigine, a town of 34.000 inhabitants, south of Modena, famous for its Castle which overlooks the central square, Piazza Calcagnini, and which is an important city cultural center, which hosts numerous events every year, due to its centrality with respect to the territory. It is a medieval castle built in 1201, in whose park are still visible the archaeological remains of the ancient church of S. Bartolomeo and some burials. The park is an oasis in the historic center.

Formigine Castle Park
Formigine Castle Park

Our guide took us up to the Clock Tower, strictly one at a time due to the slightly “dated” and creaking stairs, but very suggestive. In the Castle, it is also possible to visit the “Room of the Errant Castle”, a treasure that is revealed through three-dimensional sounds and images, transporting us from reality to dreams, where stories, legends and fairy tales seem to come to life. Every year, on 24 August, on the occasion of the feast of the patron Saint of the city (San Bartolomeo), these images are projected on the walls of the Castle, and it is an unmissable spectacle for all the inhabitants.

Spezzano Castle and Museum of Ceramics

Inside the Spezzano Castle you can find the famous “Sala delle vedute”: frescoed around 1596 by Cesare Baglione, court painter of the Farnese family, it portrays the domains of Marco III Pio of Savoy and his wife Clelia Farnese. It represents 56 countries part of the state of Sassuolo. Elegant country residence dating back to the thirteenth century, it is now home to the Museum of Ceramics which tells the production techniques, from prehistory to today, through reconstructions of experimental archaeology of objects, tools and kilns, interactive settings and installations.

Salse di Nirano

From Castello di Spezzano, by bike or by foot, along a 4-kilometer path, you arrive at the Salse di Nirano. It is a spectacular geological phenomenon of pseudovulcanic cones, formed by emissions of cold mud, produced by the rising to the surface of salt and muddy water, along faults and fractures in the ground. The name “Sauces” depends on the high salt content of the muddy waters, the origin of which is linked to the presence of the sea that occupied the present Po Valley until about a million years ago. It has 13 paths equipped and accessible to all (including people with disabilities).

Terme Salvarola

After a day discovering all these beautiful places, what could be better than giving me some well-being, surrounded by a majestic park? At the ancient Terme della Salvarola all the classic thermal treatments are available, while the Balnea Wellness Center is equipped with thermal pools at different temperatures, gyms and sensorial beauty treatments. Classic treatments and oriental massages are available, but very famous and pleasant is also the grape massage, which I was lucky enough to try, and whose properties have been known since ancient times: the territory is in fact a source of inspiration for the Terme della Salvarola that combine the beneficial properties of their thermal waters (used by the Romans, by Matilde di Canossa and by the Este family) with local excellencies (grapes, cherries, pumpkin).

Terme Salvarola (Salvarola SPA)
Terme Salvarola (Salvarola SPA)

Food

Modena is world famous for its flavors and for the art of good food. Many traditional recipes were born out of misery and the availability of a few basic kinds. These traditional recipes have been rediscovered and are offered in restaurants. In addition to the classic tortelli and tortellini, the fried gnocco is very popular, for example, but also the crescentine cooked in traditional tigelle.

Curiosity: are they called tigelle or crescentine? – The term “crescentina” actually indicates this dough of flour cooked in small discs. The tigelle are instead the small circular terracotta supports used to cook the crescentine around the fire. Crescentine is then cooked on tigelle, but over the years this term has replaced the real name of the food.

Balsamic Vinegar

We could not leave without having tasted what has been the symbolic product of Modena since the eleventh century: balsamic vinegar. For centuries, its production (in the dry attic vinegar factory inherited from generation to generation) was the prerogative of large families, but also of humbler families, with a destination limited to domestic use or, at most, to the gift of prestige.
In 1967, on the occasion of the San Giovanni fair, the town of Spilamberto launched a competition among producers. The interest increased and so, in 1969 the “Consorteria dell’Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale” was born, with the aim of promoting and supporting initiatives aimed at the production and enhancement of this product. The unique characteristics are the result of an aging period that can range from 12 to 25 years and beyond, a time in which the grape must ferments, matures and ages in increasingly smaller barrels, which can be of various types. The most used woods are: chestnut, mulberry, cherry, ash, juniper, locust and oak.

Curiosity: the real traditional balsamic vinegar can only be sold in the bottle designed for the Consortium.

Wine: Lambrusco

Lambrusco is a red wine that goes beautifully with all dishes of the Emilian cuisine: appetizers, first courses (tortellini, lasagne, tagliatelle), main courses (cotechino, zampone), desserts (for which the sweet version is preferable). The DOC Lambrusco wines of the area are: Lambrusco di Sorbara, Lambrusco Salamino di S. Croce and Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro.

Emilia food: Lambrusco wine
Emilia food: Lambrusco wine

CÀ DEL RIO – Restaurant and Resort

It is not just a restaurant, but much more: it is a farm with its own production of jams and wines, as well as a beautiful resort in an extremely pleasant and comfortable location. The restaurant area was converted from an old stable and the hotel consists of spacious and elegant rooms, distributed in the two buildings, for a total of 25 beds. Nature surrounds the structure, equipped with a large car park and a playground for children. Fields of cherries, vineyards and animals surround Cà del Rio, which also offers the possibility of renting the location for ceremonies and events, as well as the opportunity to fly over the beauties of the Modena area aboard a helicopter, or for the more romantic ones, to a hot air balloon (I personally have already put it on my list of things to do at least once in a lifetime!)

You can fly over the Formigine Castle, the Fiorano circuit, the Ghirlandina di Modena. You can book by calling Cà del Rio, which in collaboration with the Aeronautical Club of Sassuolo, will organize this wonderful experience lasting at least 10 minutes (cost € 60 per person).

Sabina Gordi

Italia Slow Tour Ambassador

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