Sunday, November 15, 2009
Tales from the "Bassa" (Flatland)
I used this post of a few days ago to make it the 'starting point' for the current monthly reportage which will cover, as you may have guessed from the title, the landscapes and the cuisine of the flatlands stretching from Bologna to Ferrara: the 'Bassa'.
There are so many stories to tell about these places, as well as images to show, we start right outside Bologna, where we immediately meet one of the protagonists of this tale: the river Reno.
Reno rises in the mountains between Bologna and Pistoia and it ends its mountainous stretch near the lock of Casalecchio di Reno. From there its course is inextricably linked to the human history of these zones. In fact, its course was changed by men for centuries, both for reclaiming land from marshes, formerly it didn't flow into the Adriatic Sea but in some wetlands south of Ferrara, both for navigation and agriculture with numerous canals that were built since the Middle Ages (the first sources about Canale Navile date from the twelfth century but is believed that it have been dug prior that time).
We meet Reno just off Calderara di Reno (sorry for this name repetitions, but as you will understand, the name of the river in the topography is a sign of the importance that it had for the area), in Longara.
Here we find a beautiful church dating from the XVIII century, built by the architect-priest G.B. Baroni, but near from here also a natural oasis where you can go right on the banks of the river.
The atmosphere is magical and strange at the same time there: in this flat region trees are usually few and sparses, but here the scrub is thick and all the time you can hear waterfowles cry. There is also a path for an easy walk which crosses the stream and allows to continue the journey on the opposite bank of the river toward Trebbo di Reno.
We continue instead along the road following the left bank of the river and passing through the village of Castel Campeggi where there is this a beautiful votive shrine.
The fields that lie on the plains around Bologna are dotted with these little votive shrines for the most part dedicated to Our Lady, thanking for (or requesting) protection from storms and flooding.
Even today, most of them are well tended and is rare to find one without fresh flowers or abandoned.
The reportage will continue in the forthcoming post where we will talk about food!
(to be continued... here I will insert the links of the next posts of the reportage, come back to check!)
The other articles of the reportage: Tales from the "Bassa" (Flatland):
Traditional Sourdough Pork Fat Bread: the "Coppia Ferrarese"
Quinces and Plums Preserve
Fruit Preserve Filled Pastries (Raviole Bolognesi)
Tales from the "Bassa" (Flatland) (part II)
Tales from the "Bassa" (Flatland) (part III)
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