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Cesena -


Sunday 16  June 2024 137km Altitude gain 2.000mt

Total time: 3:16:16 Withdrawals: 14

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Closing stage of the Giro Next Gen 2024. There is an initial wide loop of around 70 km through the hills of Cesena (Longiano, Sogliano sul Rubicone, Strigara) followed by four laps of a 17km circuit with the ascent of Bertinoro.
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The last 3 kilometres are all either slightly downhill or completely flat to the line.

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Cesena, city of the Malatesta, historic and elegant, with the intense and tasty flavours of tradition: you can choose a typical Romagna restaurant, a bistro, an osteria or try street food. In fact, the International Street Food Festival was born in Cesena in 2000 and has become a regular and very popular event.

The street food par excellence is the piadina romagnola, known as “la pida” in dialect: rigorously hand-mixed and rolled out with a rolling pin, often prepared in the characteristic kiosks, and accompanied by different fillings such as squacquerone, a typical fresh and creamy cheese, with rocket, or by local cold cuts. The crescione is an elaboration of the piadina: it’s folded in half and stuffed before cooking. The one with herbs is the most common, but there are many types.

Crescione and piadina are cooked on the teston or teglia (“teggia” in dialect), a red-hot terracotta or cast-iron griddle.

In Cesena the traditional first courses pastas are prepared with eggs (tagliatelle, lasagne, passatelli asciutti or in broth, tagliolini, maltagliati), or without eggs (strozzapreti, pappardelle in broth). Stuffed pasta such as tortelli or cappelletti is the dish of choice for the most important festivities such as Christmas.

Cesena fruit and vegetables, then, are a national pride. Crops include peaches, apricots, plums, Romagna strawberries, kiwis, apples, pears, and several characteristic varieties of cherries. Vegetables include potatoes, green beans, peas, lettuces, chicory, turnips, tomatoes, giant Romagna thistles, and violet Romagna artichokes.

Some of these crops are still in full production, while others are now local or niche products such as the Romagna shallot that has obtained the PGI mark.

Wines and Beverage

On the table in Cesena, as in the whole of Romagna, there can be no shortage of wine, significantly called “e’ bé” in Romagnolo dialect, meaning “the drink” par excellence. Among the reds, the well-known Sangiovese Superiore and Cagnina, a very sweet wine, to be drunk young, especially with typical autumn products such as roasted chestnuts. Among the whites, Albana (both sweet and dry), Pagadebit and Trebbiano are the stars of the barrels, cellars and hills of Cesena.

Points of Interest


Commissioned by Domenico Malatesta Novello, Lord of Cesena, it was completed in 1454. It holds two absolute records: the first civic library in Europe and the only example of a humanist monastic library that has remained intact in all its parts. The library owes its design to Matteo Nuti. It strikes the visitor from the splendid walnut portal leading to the three-nave basilica interior. The eleven bays house the 58 plutei (desks) used to store the 340 valuable codices, many of which are adorned with fine miniatures. A jewel that has remained incredibly unchanged for almost six hundred years. Opposite the Sala del Nuti is the Sala Pïana, which houses the books owned by Cesena’s Pope Pius VII Chiaramonti and, among other codices, fifteen splendid choir books.

Since 2005, the Malatesta Library has been one of only ten Italian monuments in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register.


It is located in the oldest city centre of Cesena, on top of the Garampo Hill. It is surrounded by the Parco della Rimembranza, dedicated to the fallen soldiers of the First World War.

Built starting in 1380 and completed in 1480, it is one of the most imposing fortresses in Romagna.

It is characterised by its majestic bulk, its panoramic ramparts, its evocative internal walkways, and a fortified citadel in the courtyard, consisting of a “male” (donjon) and a “female”. Inside you can visit the Museum of the History of Agriculture, the ancient prisons, and the exhibition of jousting weapons.


High and visible from all parts of the city, reached via the picturesque Via delle Scalette, the thousand-year-old Benedictine abbey was built in the 11th century on the site of Bishop Mauro’s tomb.

The basilica houses one of the richest collections of ex-votos in Europe, and the imposing dome painted by G. Milani is remarkable. The abbey also houses an important Antiquarian Book Restoration Workshop.


In 1874, the 18th-century villa became the property of Countess Silvia Pasolini Zanelli, who made it the salon of Romagna culture. A place of the heart of Giosuè Carducci, Nobel Prize Italian poet, whose bedroom is still intact, the Villa houses the Musicalia Museum, the only one in Italy entirely dedicated to mechanical musical instruments, and is surrounded by a Talking Literary Garden.


Built by Andrea Malatesta around 1400, it was named Piazza Maggiore. It is overlooked by the Town Hall, the Rocchetta di Piazza with the Nuti Tower and the Venetian Loggetta.

Of particular note is the Masini Fountain, a late Mannerist jewel made of Istrian stone and completed in 1591, still one of the symbols of Cesena.


In addition to the Basilica del Monte and the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, there are many other churches of great interest in Cesena: in particular, the Church of Santa Maria del Suffragio, the Church of San Zenone, the Church of Sant’Agostino, and above all the Church of Santa Cristina, a neoclassical jewel reminiscent of a miniature Pantheon, designed by famous architect Giuseppe Valadier at the behest of Pope Pius VII Chiaramonti.



Founded by the Romans in the 2nd century BC along the route of the Via Emilia, Forlimpopoli is located at the crossroads between the roads connecting Forlì with Cesena and the Apennines (with the Casentinesi Forests National Park) to the Adriatic coast.

Frequented since the Middle Ages by pilgrims heading to Rome, it features several notable monuments, such as the splendidly preserved Rocca Ordelaffa, which houses an Archaeological Museum (with important Roman artifacts, including mosaics and amphorae) and the Verdi Theater, a small gem of late 19th-century architecture, the Collegiate Church of St. Ruffillo, whose origins date back to the 6th century and which preserves several Renaissance masterpieces (such as the figurative arches of the Zampeschi, lords of the city), and the Church of the Servi, built in the mid-15th century, where one can admire works by Palmezzano and Modigliani as well as a rare 16th-century organ. The convent complex of the Church of the Servi also hosts the Casa Artusi Foundation, the first Italian study center dedicated to home cooking in the name of the great gastronome and author of “The Science of Cooking and the Art of Eating Well.”


“In this territory rich in monuments and natural beauty,” observed Gianfranco Bolognesi, “a true ‘mosaic’ of typical products and dishes is presented to the eyes of gourmets and lovers of good cuisine, where the rustic flavors of the Apennines coexist with the aromas of sea fruits and the rich tastes of the plains.”

“In the cuisine of the Forlì area, where the spirit of Pellegrino Artusi seems to linger, the new and the old, tradition and creativity, merge into a timeless classicism.”

With the exception of cured meats—exceptional are those of ‘mora romagnola’—there are few appetizers in the cuisine of the Forlì area: herb crescioni cooked on a stone, crostini with chicken giblets or with truffles or mushrooms, and—above all—the piadina, cooked on a terracotta pan and filled with squacquerone cheese or ham. And then the soups: passatelli, cappelletti, manfrigul, maltagliati with beans and pork rind, mushroom soup, truffle soup, and the ancient-flavored tardura.

But pasta is the true cornerstone of Romagna cuisine: handmade, rolled with a rolling pin, cut into a myriad of different shapes, enriched with imaginative fillings and sauces, with strong flavors: tagliatelle, tagliolini, pappardelle, lasagna, ravioli, tortelloni, garganelli, strichetti, cappelleti pie, canoli. Among the typical dishes, we remember baked rabbit and chicken, stews with potatoes, eggs with truffles, game and wild game, lamb chops, breaded lamb ribs, sausage in sauce, veal and guinea fowl roasts, vegetable flans with giblets, and the inevitable grilled meats with pork, beef, and lamb. A brief ‘jump’ to the coast, a few dozen kilometers from Forlimpopoli, to enjoy the various specialties of bluefish, pasta with clam and mussel sauces, boiled mantis shrimp, Cesenatico fish soup, mixed fried fish, squid and shrimp skewers, cuttlefish with peas, Adriatic fish grill, etc. And then the cheeses, from soft squacquerone to various fresh or aged pecorino cheeses, goat cheeses wrapped in vine leaves, and the splendid ricotta from shepherds.

Last but not least, classic zuppa inglese, ciambella and bracciatelli, fruit tarts, tortelli with savòr, rice and lemon cakes, chestnut pie, and wild berries.

Wines and Beverage

“Do you want to know where the border between Romagna and Emilia is? Go from house to house and ask for something to drink… If they offer you wine, you’re in Romagna; if they give you water, you’re in Emilia.” This saying clearly illustrates the importance that Romagnoli attribute to wine, so much so that the verb “to drink” in the Romagnolo dialect is synonymous with the word “wine”: “e’ bè.”

Wine in Forlimpopoli is, first and foremost, as Gianfranco Bolognesi always wrote, “the one obtained from the vineyards of the Montone, Rabbi, Ronco-Bidente, Bertinorese valleys and that small patch of land that is Modigliana in the Marzeno valley where the first Sangiovese crus were born. A magical rectangle of ancient land and precious soil that produces wines with an unmistakable aroma and a warm, sensual flavor. From the first hills of Massa, Castrocaro, and Ravaldino in Monte to Predappio, the cradle of Sangiovese with its floral and fruity aromas of violet and raspberry, through Meldola, Forlimpopoli, the birthplace of Pellegrino Artusi, a milestone in Italian gastronomic literature, to Bertinoro, draped with precious vineyards, famous for its Albana (the first Italian white wine to boast the prestigious DOCG) sweet and passito, the Forlivese also boasts the DOC of the white Pagadebit and Trebbiano and the sweet red Cagnina, followed by the name Romagna. Expanding vineyards of cabernet, merlot, nebbiolo, Montepulciano, chardonnay, and sauvignon that contribute, alone or in part, to the new DOC Colli della Romagna Centrale.”

Points of Interest

Hometown of Pellegrino Artusi, Forlimpopoli is especially known for its festivals dedicated to the world of taste, from the carnival rite of Segavecchia in mid-March to the Artusian Festivals at the end of June. In both cases, the entire historic center transforms for 9 days into an extraordinary uninterrupted sequence of market and dining areas, theatrical stages, and entertainment opportunities for all ages. But Forlimpopoli is worth a visit all year round to discover extraordinary places such as:

  • The imposing 14th-century fortress that overlooks the town’s main square, one of the best-preserved defensive complexes in all of Romagna. Built on the ruins of a Romanesque cathedral, with which it has established a unique dialogue, it houses both the Archaeological Museum, in the ancient cellars, and a theater, in the original Hall of Festivities on the first floor.
  • Casa Artusi, the first Italian cultural center dedicated to home cooking, which daily promotes food culture through courses and conferences, hosts an up-to-date specialist library, and preserves documents and utensils from Artusi’s Florentine home. The conference room is within the Church of the Servi itself, characterized by its elliptical hall and the display of important Renaissance paintings (especially by Palmezzano and Modigliani).
  • The Basilica of San Rufillo, dating from the 6th to the 8th-9th century AD, which preserves Renaissance canvases by Longhi and Menzocchi and the two extraordinary tombs of the lords of Forlimpopoli.
  • The deconsecrated Church of San Nicola, with its daring 18th-century dome, which today houses a refined restaurant.
  • A Museum dedicated to Motorcycles, particularly historic Guzzi bikes (with over 50 pieces), as well as the history of the Lambretta and Ducati.
  • The BRN Village, the first village in Italy entirely dedicated to bicycles, with free admission, which hosts 6 special tracks and the largest pump track in Italy on 7 hectares.
  • The rationalist-style building of the Spinadello Aqueduct, a few kilometers from the historic center, but already immersed in the Natural Oasis of the meanders of the Ronco River, which serves as an exhibition venue for environmental shows and provides access to the Park of the Ronco Meanders, a true treasure chest of biodiversity spanning 230 hectares.

Finally, not to be missed among the temporary but recurring annual events:

  • The summer open-air cinema series inside the Rocca Ordelaffa (which boasts the largest screen in Romagna).
  • The historical reenactment of the celebrations for the return from France of Brunoro II Zampeschi in the mid-16th century, held on the second weekend of May.
  • The two festivals dedicated to popular music, both in the summer and both of national importance. The first is held in the first half of July, dedicated to the didgeridoo, and the second, in the second half of August, is dedicated to popular music in all its forms.

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