With this stage we resume the historical and main route. The route progressively leads first to the hills, then to the mountains, until it crosses the Apennines and enters Tuscany. You walk along paths, dirt roads, dirt roads. The route partly follows the ridge, partly the valley floor: in front of you the majesty of the Apennines in the distance.
From the SS 9 (the historic Via Emilia) you can choose between two beautiful and evocative routes: one more naturalistic, the other more historic, but both lead us to Meldola. From Piazza Saffi, taking Corso della Repubblica, after crossing Piazzale della Vittoria, and following Via Roma or Via Emilia, you reach the Church of Ronco; those who had already arrived at the Ronco hamlet leave from here.
TO VISIT: near Ronco, after a few kilometers towards the sea, there is the town of Forlimpopoli, with its restored castle and town hall. It is the homeland of Pellegrino Artusi, singer of true Romagna cuisine. There is also an excellent Hospitality Institute.
At the roundabout in Ronco, before the church, go down to “Ronco Lido” and climb up the embankment of the Ronco river, with its meanders immersed in luxuriant vegetation, typical of the humid Mediterranean maquis, with lots of game and varied fauna. Ford the Rio Sanguinario, a canal that collects the waters of the airport located nearby. Then you come across some lakes, old sand quarries, now used for sport fishing and environmentally recovered. There is also an excellent golf facility. After the third lake there is a construction site for processing aggregates which can be avoided by crossing the river on an iron footbridge. Then you take a cart track and then the embankment again up to the crossroads with the SP 37. On secondary asphalted roads you then reach the Terme di Fratta.
TO VISIT: from here you can also visit Bertinoro, a town rich in history, famous for its gastronomy and enology. Thus we arrive in Piazza della Libertà, where there is the Town Hall and the Hospitality Column. The square is a terrace on the plain and you can see the entire Adriatic coast. In Bertinoro, the Rocca, the Interreligious Museum and the University are important. The route is 3.5 km long.
From Fratta you pass near the parish centre, now the seat of the Civil Protection of Bertinoro, an information and emergency point also for walkers. Then climb the ridge on the right ridge of the Bidente Valley. It is a gravel road, very panoramic on the plain and on the coast, which can be seen in the distance. You walk among vineyards and villas. There is also an educational farm where you can admire the equipment and ancient technologies for breeding silkworms and the silk industry. Then you descend on the road to Teodorano and arrive in Meldola, crossing the Ponte dei Veneziani. After the bridge, if you want to visit the center of the town, take Via Giordano Bruno.
SAN MARTINO VARIANT: (recommended for cyclists). From Piazza Saffi you pass the ancient gate and Rocca di Ravaldino and use the Via dell’Appennino cycle path up to San Martino in Strada, a locality mentioned by the Monk Albert in his Annales. Going further, take Via delle Caminate, go under the ring road. Then you go up the hills taking the Strada di Scardavilla (Monastery and Bosco di Scardavilla) You then go down towards the Ronco valley and, having passed the ring road under the road, you enter the center of Meldola, in the beautiful Piazza Orsini. Going south, towards the Apennines and leaving Meldola, you meet again the stretch of the Via Romea Germanica that comes from Fratta Terme. This variant section (from Forlì to Meldola) is 15 km long. From Forlì to Ronco it is 4.3 km. The Ronco-Meldola section is 16.2 km long.
From Meldola, take the Strada Rimbocca/Cà Baccagli (Davide Drudi institution), up to Strada del Mezzo. Continuing we reach the center of San Colombano. Cross it and then descend again on the Bidente river (note: it is the same Ronco river that takes the name of Bidente upstream of Meldola).
ENVIRONMENTAL VARIANT ON THE RIVER: (note: to be avoided in case of flooding of the river). Very naturalistic variant that runs along the river. After Strada Ca’ Baccagli, do not take the Strada del Mezzo but go down to the river which you follow up to Via Montescovo. Not suitable for cyclists.
We then reach Gualdo, on the SP4 where we have to pay attention to the traffic. After a while you return to the river bank, on a gravel road that leads to Cusercoli.
Note for cyclists: In Borgo Sisa it is better to take the SAN MARTINO VARIANT: Borgo Sisa, Via Cavedalone, Forlì centre, Corso Diaz, Via dell’Appennino, Scardavilla, Meldola centre, Strada del Mezzo, San Colombano, Via Montevescovo, Gualdo centre, continue on SP 4 up to Cusercoli and then Cusercoli center. Or the main route from Borgo Sisa to Ronco and then towards the center of Forlì, to then take the VARIANTE SAN MARTINO towards Meldola.