On the Road – Distance: 100km I 60mi I Elevation: 1545metres / 6347 ft
We continued in the Apennine foothills skirting east for much of the day as we headed towards our chosen pass over this mountain chain that is more than deserving of our respect. Great culinary destinations surrounded us today such as Piacenza, Parma and Modena. Our destination was the picturesque town of Reggio nell’Emilia where we stayed on the main square in an hotel that has provided hospitality for over 500 years.
We are not in the high Alps but these continuous steep rolling climbs are tough!… the ‘il muros’ just wear you down!
The large town of Reggio Emilia is quite active, and as it is Saturday today, the town squares are full of people strolling or cycling along the cobble stoned walkways and the cafes are full. A lot of beautiful old architecture. This is the birthplace of balsamic vinegar and it tastes simply amazing!
Tasting Notes – Balsamic Vinegar
Only two consortia produce true traditional balsamic vinegar, Modena and neighboring Reggio Emilia. True balsamic vinegar is made from a reduction of pressed Trebbiano and Lambrusco grapes. The resulting thick syrup, called mosto cotto in Italian, is subsequently aged for a minimum of 12 years in a battery of several barrels of successively smaller sizes. True balsamic vinegar is rich, glossy, deep brown in color, and has a complex flavour that balances the natural sweet and sour elements of the cooked grape juice with hints of wood from the casks.
Destination: Reggio Emilia
Reggio Emilia has about 170,000 inhabitants and is the main comune (municipality) of the Province of Reggio Emilia.The inhabitants of Reggio nell’Emilia (called Reggiani) usually call their town by the simple name of Reggio. It’s origins date back to 187BC with the construction of the Via Aemilia, leading from Piacenza to Rimini. In more recent times it has gained renown for the pre school education by the same name that was pioneered in the schools after World War 2.
Unfortunately for Hannibal all but one of his elephants died from the intense cold soon after the battle of Trebbia. However the psychological blow of losing on their own soil sent Rome and its people into a panic. Further to this, the Cisalpine Gallic tribes (Gauls on the Italian side of the Alps) started joining his cause. Hannibal headed south east feeding his army and growing stronger. Rome was gathering its strength too and it wouldn’t be long before they were back in the field.