by Giovanni Nicola Ermini

Parco Naturale San Bartolo regional park is nestled between the towns of Pesaro and Gabicce Monte and is widely considered one of the most picturesque regions of the Adriatic coast. Starting in Cattolica, towards Pesaro, the road along the coast is located among pine groves and vineyards all the way to the top of Colle San Bartolo. Located some 200 meters above sea-level, the view from the top is absolutely breathtaking with the sea disappearing on the horizon, its turquoise coloured waters melding into the baby blue of the sky. Its pine trees are perched steeply on rocky cliffs. Whereas broom trees sprinkle the green landscape with patches of yellow.

The coastline here is all cliff, stretching high up, creating steep precipitous walls that plunge into the deep blue sea below, with its rocky hard-to-reach beaches that differ greatly from the resorts of Emilia-Romagna. Just beyond the coast, towards Montefeltro, Colle San Bartolo stretches out smoothly into a mosaic of farm land.

The regional park features one of the highest levels of biodiversity in all of the Adriatic region and boasts rich flora while protecting the habitat of fauna such as roe deer, wolves, dormice, and migratory birds. In this stretch of uncontaminated nature with its marvelous little towns such as Gabbice Monte Florenzuola di Focara, Casteldimezzo, Baia Vallugola and Santa Marina, balance between man and the Earth reigns.

This border region between the Church of Ravenna and the Church of Pesaro, belonging long ago to the Malatesta noble family of Pesaro and Rimini, still feature their walled fortifications and castles, the balconies from which one might have first intercepted enemy ships approaching and whose lighthouses guided ships in the night.

Legend has it that the crystal waters of Vallugola, which can be reached by crossing the thick forests of the bay, guard the ancient missing town of Valbruna an ancient Roman town that is said to have been a docking place for Greek ships and disappeared under the sea on account of Poseidon’s rage. However, the legend still lives strong today for several artifacts have been found including fragments of columns, statues and vases, making Vallugola a dream-land for scuba divers and archeologists.

This lush coastline, guarded by Castello di Gradara castle, is home to great treasures and ancient dwellings, the most important of which include Villa Caprile and Villa Imperiale, historic residences of Dukes and Emperors and famous artists, and constitute a veritable theatre for ancient history. So take a moment to enjoy a glass of wine on a vineyard on Colle San Bartolo while the light Adriatic wind blows.