The Valmarecchia Valley is a valley of central Italy nestled between the regions of Tuscany, Marche and Emilia-Romagna, as well as the Republic of San Marino. This unique piece of land, located primarily in Badia Tedalda has long been considered a place where borders meet and people and things converge, from the war-faring dukes of long ago to the artistic and sensitive poets by the likes of Dante, Tonino Guerra and Ezra Puond. When you set foot in this lush valley you quickly forget about the rolling plains of Emilia-Romagna, immersing yourself in abounding untouched nature where the Marecchia river winds through escarpments and rocky hills, levelling out only once it gets to the mouth of Rimini. It is impossible not to be amazed by the rich greenery here where the colours of the earth meld into the colours of the trees, leaving us with a perfect balance of nature.
The river, that gets its name from that of the valley itself, starts deep in the brush of the Alpe della Luna massif a staggering mountain that looms some 1453 meters above sea-level located in the heart of a nature reserve home to deer and eagles. The massif, on the other hand, gets its name for its shape that extends in a sort of semi-circle of 250 meters giving way to a rock wall called the “Ripa della Luna” in Italian a smooth surface on which the moon can bounce back as if mirrored back onto itself.
Its forest of century-old beech wood trees and holly is shockingly peppered with smooth, barren slabs of rock, giving us a rich puzzle of colours. One might easily become completely absorbed by the valley’s rolling hills and mountain tops that stretch down towards the sea. Slowly, calcium-rich rock and limestone typical of the Apennine Mountains transform into marl and clay-rich sandy soils upon which lies a multitude of towers, fortresses and old hamlets a true testament to the strength of the Montefeltro and Malatesta noble families.
This region is home to some amazing spectacles of nature such as the “Roccia di San Leo” and the Titano massif in San Marino. So beautiful is the valley that it has frequently been the protagonist of several works of art including most notably those of Piero della Francesca who chose the valley as the focal point of some of his most emblematic and famous pieces.
It is an area that, in its untouched nature and authenticity, is still home to tradition and old sayings. Still today the valley-dwellers say that when Mediterranean southwesterly winds kiss the mountain tops you can smell the aromas of pine and hear the sounds of distant cowbells. It is home to delicacies such as the truffle and the “Formaggio di Fossa”, a long-aged cheese that it is celebrated and savoured on Saint Catherine’s day, where it is pulled out from the rocky trench in which it is aged for 100 days. Valmarecchia valley is home to ancient legends and fables, the most famous of which are the legends of Azzurrina and Alpe della Luna.