Castelfranco Emilia, Modena

tortellini_1.jpg Castelfranco was founded in 1226 by conquerors from Bologna who gave the central area of the current small village the name Borgo Franco or Castello Franco.

The core of the original settlement, the so-called Forum Gallorum, was probably situated in the area surrounding the current resort of Prato dei Monti. Bordering the nearby city of Modena, this small village suited defensive purposes and played an important role as an outpost. Castelfranco is the only municipality which was not included in the former Dukedom of Modena and Reggio since it belonged to the city of Bologna. This is the reason why Castelfranco is still regarded to be the most Bolognese of the municipalities of Modena.

In 1919, Castelfranco was finally included in the province of Modena, even though it is still part of the Archdiocese of Bologna. The centre of the town is crossed by the ancient Via Aemilia, the current Viale Martiri. It extends across the Po Valley and is famous all over the world since it is punctuated with natural sources of fresh water, the so-called Resurgences.

Known as the homeland of tortellini pasta, Castelfranco pleases both Modena and Bologna, since it is situated halfway between the two cities. Tortellini pasta is said to be modelled on the shape of Venu's navel: every year in the second September week, during the traditional Festival of St. Nicola, the Festival of Tortellino is held here to celebrate the birth of this gastronomic speciality.

Traditional tortellini pasta from Castelfranco Emilia is homemade pasta realized by means of a rolling-pin and often made into broth. Among the numerous initiatives, not to be missed is the ritual of the birth of tortellini pasta, during which famous personalities play the part of the host and the lady surrounded by a fascinating scenario.