Questions & Answers
How to arrive by car?
From Bologna: about 1:30 h.
Motorway A14 Bologna-Ancona, towards Ancona, up to the exit sign Forlì. In Forlì take the SS67, in direction of Florence, drive past Castrocaro Terme until Portico (about 35 minutes).
From Florence: ca. 1:40h
Go to Pontassieve, then take the SS67, direction Forlì, via the “Muraglione” pass. It’s a very curvy road.
How to arrive by bus?
From Forlì you take the bus 127 at “Punto Bus”- the bus station just next to the central trainstation to Portico: 1:05 h.
You can purchase a bus ticket at the trainstation kiosk or bar, or (more expensive) in the bus.
Bus 127, Forlì-Portico, time table (Sundays): 6.20, 14.15, 19.15 (But it ends in Rocca S. Casciano, 7 km from Portico, from where we will be happy to pick you up,- as long as you let us know in advance).
Bus 127, Forlì-Portico, time table (Mondays to Saturdays): 6:20, 7:35 (Ends in Rocca S. Casciano, look above), 11:15, 13:15, 13:30, 13:45, 14:15, 16:10 (Ends in Rocca S. Casciano, look above), 18:35, 19:15 (Ends in Rocca S. Casciano, look above).
The school is happy to pick you up from Rocca S. Casciano, when the bus has it’s endstation there (6 km from Portico); we just kindly ask you to advise us in as good time before as possible, to reduce the client’s waiting-time.
Free transfer is furthermore offered by the school every Sunday from Forli trainstation at 17:00 (look below under transfer for more details).
From Florence we recommend to take the train to Forlì via Bologna. There is a more direct bus connection, but especially on Sundays it is rare and you have to change bus at least 2-3 times. Furthermore we only recommend it to people who don’t tend to get car sick, since the road is very curvy.
How to arrive by plane?
Bologna: with the shuttlebus (every 15-30 minutes) to the station (about 20 minutes), then by train up to Forlì (1 hour) and from there (next to the railway-station) with the bus to Portico. – see bus description above.
Firenze: From the airport with the shuttlebus to the trainstation and from there you take the train to Forlì via Bologna. From Forlì you take the bus as described above.
Rimini: From the airport with the shuttlebus to the trainstation and from there you take the train to Forlì. From Forlì you take the bus as described above.
How to arrive by train?
Bologna: with train to Forlì (1 hour). From Forlì you take the bus as described above.
Firenze: we recommend the take via Bologna to Forlì. From Forlì you take the bus as described above.
Every Sunday the school arranges a free transfer at 17:00 from just outside the trainstation in Forlì. If you want this free transfer, please advise the school at least 1 week in advance.
If the transfer is wanted at another time or place than the above mentioned free transfer, then they aren’t costless: transfers from or to Forlì (Euro 60), Bologna and Rimini (Euro 180), Florence (Euro 190). Please advise the school at least 1 week in advance.
What I can find in Portico?
Portico is part of a little municipality and has about 400 inhabitants. Here below you will find a list of some of the shops ecc you can find in Portico.
- I giardini pubblici, the public park, where there is a play ground for the children and where the Summer townparties, organized by the local association the pro-loco, take place.
- The river with a natural Swimmingpool with waterfall, “La chiusa”.
- The farmacy, open from 8:00-12:30 and 16:30-19:30 (Thursday afternoon and all Sunday, closed).
- Town hall of the Municipality of Portico and San Benedetto, where you for example can get your fishing license or find the local Doctor (Dr.Med. Laura Pezzi).
- 2 bars
- The Bank and a cash machine “Cassa dei Risparmi di Forlì e della Romagna”, Via Roma 19.
- The Minimarket “Bendoni”, open from 8:00-12:30 and 16:30-19:30 (Thursday afternoon and all Sunday, closed), via Roma 9, in the historical building of Beatrice Portinari.
- The Albergo Diffuso and restaurant “Al Vecchio Convento***”, Via Roma 7. In the hotel there is also a little shop where you will find tiypical local products as olive oil, wine, marmalade, printed ornaments from Romagna, balsamic vinegar, salt from Cervia, beauty products and ceramics.
- A church.
- The old medieval bridge, Il Ponte della Maestà , from the 13th Century.
- The Butcher, il Macellaio Cappelli, open from 8:00-12:30 and on some afternoons from around 16:30-19:30 (Sunday closed), via Roma 3
- Big Parking lot- for free.
- The post office, open from 8-13:30 Monday, Wednesday and Friday, via Tosco Romagnola 18.
- The baker, open every Morning from 6 o’clock.
- I carabinieri, the local policestation, via Tosco Romagnola 2, Tel: +39 054396 7237.
- Rosanna’s outdoor cafe, open only during Springtime and Summer and early Autumn, where you can drink a coffee or eat one of the typical dishes like the piadine. Always closed on Mondays.
- Tennis court and football field (calcetto-football).
- Beach tennis/beach volley.
- Our Italian language school, Scuola Verde L’Olmo, Piazza Santa Maria in Girone 1.
- The school garden where lessons also are held in the warm period when the weather allows it.
Other shops in the surrounding villages?
In Rocca San Casciano 7 km away from Portico, a village of around 3 thousand inhabitant, there are more shops, for example a big Supermarket (Conad), a fruit- and vegetable store, shops where to buy clothes, a hunting and fishing store, restaurants and a pizzeria; Bella Napoli. And 5 km from Portico, towards Rocca S. Casciano you’ll find a good mechanic.
Every Friday morning there is a tiny market in Portico with a big of vegetables, clothes and stuff in the square in front of the Town Hall.
Every Wednesday morning there is a market in the Central Square of Rocca San Casciano.
Every Monday and Friday morning there is a big market on the Center Square, Piazza Saffi, in Forlì.
Every Wednesday evening, from June to September, there is an evening market in the beautiful central Square of Terra del Sole, 25 km from Portico (The market starts around 8 o’clock pm)…
The village and sourrounding?
Portico, Bocconi and San Benedetto in Alpe, the 3 villages constituting our little municipality with only about a thousand inhabitants, are situated in the Appennine Mountains on the border between Tuscany and Romagna in the Valley of the Montone River. The valley extends from Forlì over the National Park “Parco Nazionale delle Foreste Casentinesi” as far as the pass “The Muraglione” on the Tuscan borderline.
The clean river, the Montone, flows through the valley with an infinite number of little and big waterfalls, and it is the ideal place for young and old ones to take a swim, sunbath or do some fishing.
Along the river you find our little and peaceful medieval villages, where the old traditions like the romagnole kitchen still uphold.
How the local people?
The local people are open and friendly and ready to help or chat, because we see strangers as a welcoming and fresh breath of air in our little world.
Here the people first of all live by agriculture and forestry, or they work in the service trade in the villages or in Forlì. We only have very little industry.
In the wooded hills you can find lots of mushrooms, chestnuts and the precious truffle (White, Black and Marzolo) and in the truffle season (from late September and all Autumn) the school often organizes little excursions with a truffle searcher and his dogs.
Every October and November, in various villages, the Autumn fruits are being celebrated in the so-called “Sagre”, which are kind of traditional harvest and Thanksgiving festivals. Here below, under Truffle searching, you can read more about these Autumn festivals.
In the valley there is a big and varied flora and fauna with many beautiful flowers and trees and wild animals, like rabbits, deer, wild boars and wolves (but you don’t have to be afraid of meeting one of the last two ones when walking in the nature here, since they are very shy).
If you are keen on nature and hiking, then the National Park “Foreste Casentinesi”, only a few kilometres away, is a paradise; here you will find lots of itineraries for both short and long trips for beginners as well as for “advanced” walkers. Just remember to bring a good pair of hiking shoes.
In addition to what you have read here above, we also have to add that Florence is only 75 km away from Portico, Forlì 35, Ravenna 70, The Adriatic Sea 60 km (with Ravenna, Cervia, Cesenatico), Bologna a 100 km away and further below you can read more about these places.
In Portico we are proud of being able to say that we have our own free and totally natural and very very beautiful swimming pool, “La Chiusa”, which is a great place for both children and grown ups. It is situated in the heart of the village, and our river “The Montone” has got the water qality rate D, which indicates that the river belongs to some of the most clean ones. Here you can find a protected and very delicate river shrimp, which can live only in very clean waters. At “La chiusa”, just besides the old upper watermill, the inhabitants of the village meet from late Springtime till September to bath, chat, play, sunbath, relax with a book or to enjoy some watertherapy under the waterfall from the old dike of the mill. Here at la Chiusa young and old ones, women and men, discuss both big and less big themes of life. But also in the nearby villages, Bocconi and San Benedetto, and all along the river and in the National Park you can find heavenly places to relax and go for a cool swim in the river.
Searching for truffles?
Searching for truffles:
From the 20th September to January (depends on the year and the weather, when the season ends) it’s the official white truffle season. The white truffle is the most precious of the truffles you can find and apart from the black truffle, the March truffle also the white truffle is to be found in our hills. We search for the truffles with special trained truffle dogs (not with a pig), since you need to have a very fine nose to find the truffles. The school and the hotel organize excursions for trufflehunting in the afternoons for the students and the hotel guests. You will be needing good warm clothing (waterproof coat is reccomanded) and hiking shoes that may get dirty and wet, if you would like to participate. Even though the truffles are growing fine here, it’s still a precious and expensive merchandise- it’s also called the white gold, because it isn’t possible to coltivate or grow it and because of that the price can vary a lot from season to season depending on the amount of truffle to be found.During the truffle season you can enjoy some delicious dishes in the restaurant “Al Vecchio Convento” , famous for it’s kitchen and dishes with truffles. And if youin the Autumn Season participate in one of the coking courses in the restaurant there is quite a good possibility of preparing one of these truffle based dishes yourself.
Trekking and the National Park?
Very close to Portico we have the National Park “Foreste Casentinesi” which is the perfect place for the tourist who like nature and hiking. But the nature surrounding the Park area, which is a very big area, is also very beautiful and both inside and outside the park you can find a lot of itineraries to explore. We have wolves, golden eagles, wild boars and different types of deers.
There are itineraries for all ages and it’s not necesary to be a professional hiker or to be accompanied by a guide when doing the major part of the itineraries; the only important thing is to bring some good walking or mountain shoes, a map of the itineraries, water and something to eat. And then it’s always a good thing to inform someone about your whereabouts, so you can be found easilier in a worst case scenario. Mobile phones are also good, but there won’t necessarily be coverage wherever you go. And you don’t have to be afraid to meet a wolf, because they are very very timid and almost never seen.
Almost every Sunday (depends on the weather), the school or hotel organizes a hike with a professional guide in the Park which includes a little pic-nic that each one of you bring with you. The classical itinerary we do (but not always, depends on the Season) is in the National Park and goes to the Waterfall l’Acquacheta near San Benedetto. It has a duration of around 4 hs.30 min. and is about 9 km long (out and back).
The school lents out mountainbikes if there are any available. Our bikes aren’t in top condition and a bit old, but you can lend them for free. Our area is great for both racebiking and mountainbiking and specially in the weekends you’ll see lots and lots of Italians on the roads in little or big groups on their bicycles. It’s normally possible to get a guide with you should you wish for such one and Matteo (Cameli- the school director) has always time to telle you where to go or not, advise on difficulty and length etc. if you should prefer to go on your own. In the school and the hotel you can find maps and depliants which describe the routes and itineraries for bikes.
Here is a couple of Matteo’s examples of trips to do in the surroundings:
- Portico-Monte Busca - Rocca San Casciano - Portico; total length: appr. 20 km; duration (breaks included): appr. 1,5 hour. Difficulty: Medium.
- Portico-Dovadola-Predappio-Rocca San Casciano- Portico; length: appr. 40 km; duration (breaks included): appr. 3 hours. Difficulty: Hard.
- Portico-Monte Freddo-Bocconi-Portico; length: appr. 15 km; duration (breaks included): appr. 2 hours. Difficulty: Medium.
- Portico-Monte Valbura-San Benedetto-Portico; length: appr. 28 km; duration (breaks included): appr. 3 Â½ hours. Difficulty: hard.
If you like to go jogging we can indicate some streets to take near the village. During the Summertime we only recommend you to go jogging early in the morning or very late in the Afternoon, since the heat in the middle of the day can be cruel to a person running.