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Posted in Minoli
22nd January 2021
This week of Fab Fact Friday we are looking at the region in Italy where most of the Minoli Porcelain tiles are produced – Emilia-Romagna Fiorano.
The region is known for its wonderful food, amazing cuisine and technical expertise in all things automotive, not to mention the art and architecture. The Minoli family is originally from Borgo Val di Taro (known as Borgotaro), in the adjoining province of Parma.
It is a truly fascinating part of Italy, perhaps not spoken about in such revered terms as Rome, Tuscany and Venice, but the influence culturally on the worlds view of Italy should not be underestimated.
We start with an overview of the region, then look at the food, the music and of course the motorsports.
A region in north-central Italy that comprises the districts of Bologna, Ferrara, Forlì, Modena, Parma, Piacenza, Ravenna, Reggio Emilia, and Rimini. Bologna being the regional capital. Emilia-Romagna, is one of the 20 administrative regions of Italy, situated in the northeast section of the country.
The name Emilia derives from the Via Aemilia, a Roman road that connected the region from Ariminium (Rimini) in the southeast to Placentia (Piacenza) in the northwest; a modern railway closely follows its route. Completed in 187 BC and named after the consul Marcus Aemilius Lepidus. Romagna originates from Romània, the name of the Eastern Roman Empire given to Ravenna by the Lombards when the western Empire had ceased to exist.
Before the area was integrated in to the growing Roman Empire, it had been part of the Etruscan world and then after that of the Gauls. During the first thousand years of Christianity, trade flourished in Emilia-Romagna, as it is now known, as did culture and religion, thanks to the numerous monasteries within the region.
In the early Middle Ages, the University of Bologna, considered the oldest university in Europe, after been established in AD 1088, and its bustling towns kept trade and intellectual life alive.
The northern section of Emilia-Romagna is a great plain extending from the Po River southeast to Ravenna and Rimini, where the Apennine Mountains are seen down the Adriatic coast. The broad lowland and adequate water supply (from both rainfall and irrigation), make Emilia-Romagna one of the leading agricultural regions of Italy.
Emilia-Romagna is one of the leading agricultural regions of Italy. Wheat, corn, fodder, and sugar beets are the primary crops; vegetables and fruits are also grown in the lowlands and grapes on the Apennine slopes. Livestock is raised and dairy farms are extensive, the region also has a large food-processing and food-packing industry. The manufacture of cars, motorcycles and trucks, farm machinery, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, ceramics, and clothing are all prominent in Emilia-Romagna.
This is a region that is the industrial and agricultural heart of Italy.
Cuisine of the region
Emilia-Romagna is considered as one of the “food-culture” rich regions of Italy regarding its culinary and wine-making traditions. Known for its filled, fresh egg pasta, cappelletti, which is similar to the tortellini from Bologna, but a different size.
Bologna is commended for pasta dishes like tortellini, lasagne, gramigna and tagliatelle which are found in many other parts of the region and Italy as a whole. The Romagna sub-region is known well for pasta dishes like garganelli, strozzapreti, sfoglia lorda and tortelli alla lastra. The classic Spaghetti Bolognese has it’s roots in the Ragu sauce created in Bologna.
The celebrated balsamic vinegar is made only in the Emilian cities of Modena and Reggio Emilia, following legally binding traditional procedures. Parmigiano Reggiano, Parmesan Cheese as it is known here in the UK, is produced in Reggio Emilia, Parma, Modena and Bologna and is much used in cooking and added to pasta dish before eating. The Grana Padano variety is produced in the rest of the region.
The Adriatic coast is a well-known fishing area, however, the region is most famous for its meat products, which includes: Parma’s prosciutto, culatello and Felino salami, Piacenza’s pancetta, coppa and salami, Bologna’s mortadella and salame rosa, Modena’s zampone, cotechino and cappello del prete and Ferrara’s salama da sugo.
Much of this has been captured in the book by Simona Gibellini and Luigi Ottano “Dell’ aceto balsamico e dintorni”…
Although foods from this region have become readily available in British supermarkets, there are speciality shops and delicatessen which specialise in these unique Italian ingredients, such as The Italian Shop in Maidenhead, Berkshire. Food and wine for the Minoli events is supplied by the Sardo family of Italian Continental – the parent company of The Italian Shop.
Emilia-Romagna gave the world one of the most important composers in the history of music, Giuseppe Verdi, as well as Arturo Toscanini, one of the most acclaimed conductors of the 20th century, and the world-famous operatic tenor Luciano Pavarotti.
Ferrari’s motorsports division Scuderia Ferrari was founded by Enzo Ferrari in Modena and operates from nearby town Maranello which is in the Province of Modena. The teams’ colours being red, but the yellow shield is taken from the emblem of Modena. Ferrari’s Formula One team has won 15 Drivers’ titles and 16 Constructors’ titles. The team has also won multiple Le Mans 24 Hours in sports car racing. The most successful Ferrari driver is German racer Michael Schumacher who won five consecutive Formula One titles between 2000 and 2004 with Ferrari, being the first Formula One driver to achieve that milestone. So much has been written about Ferrari, we need not elaborate, but it is now an intrinsic part of the social and economic landscape of the region.
Ducati Corse is the motorsports division of Ducati’s motorcycle company, being the predominant Italian constructor in MotoGP and the Superbike World Championship as well as many other national series, such as British Superbikes. Ducati has won one MotoGP title with Australian Casey Stoner in 2007. Stoner is also the most successful rider for the team in MotoGP, having won 23 Grand Prix in his four seasons.
Ducati have had multiple World Champions Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo race for the team. In 2017, Emilia-Romagna native Andrea Dovizioso finished second in the MotoGP championship for Ducati. The team has frequently had at least one Italian rider in its factory team since its entry into the premier class in 2003 at the beginning of the four-stroke engine era. Its first Grand Prix winner was Emilia-Romagna native Loris Capirossi in the team’s inaugural season. Ducati have also won multiple World Superbike titles with riders such as Carl Fogarty and Troy Bayliss being among title winners. Ducati were dominant in this series for many years, a relatively small yet ingenious team compared to the giant Japanese conglomerates of Honda and Yamaha Modena born and raised Luca Cadalora was a three times world motorcycle champion in two different Grand Prix Classes, with 34 wins for both Yamaha (operated by Giacomo Agostini) and Honda.
The region, much like Oxfordshire where Minoli are based is famous for the automotive and motorsport industries that are based there – too many to name.