The History of Piadina Romagnola PGI

The Piadina Romagnola or Piada Romagnola has ancient origins and narrates the story of the people and the traditions of Romagna, the land placed in the northern east part of Italy on the Adriatic cost. Born as a humble food, during the centuries, has become the emblem of the territory of Romagna, evolving its imagine of simple and rustic life into a large consumption product. The term Piada has been officialized by the poet Giovanni Pascoli, who Italianized the word piè from the dialect of Romagna. In one of his famous compositions the poet considers the Piadina as ancient as the humanity, defining it as «Romagna’s national bread» and celebrating the indissoluble link between this type of food and this territory. Its origins, however, are really old.

The first testimonies are traceable in the Etruscan age, when a bread substitute was made in a circular form with rough flours and cereals. The first literary traces are found by Pascoli himself inside Virgilio’s Aeneid, VIII, where the roman poet uses, for the first time, the latin construction exiguam orbem. During the Roman age there are numerous testimonies about the use of bread substitute, realized with rough cereals and combined with different types of cheese. The consumption of Piadina has continued through the centuries until the Middle Age, when the inhabitants of Romagna have started to use the poorest cereals to not being taxed by the nobles and landowners. In 1371 the Cardinal Angelico will note that, between the taxes payed by the city of Modigliana (Forlì-Cesena) to the Apostolic Chamber there were two ‘Piade’.

For hunderd years the Piadina has been chosen as bread alternative for everyday life.

In 1913 Maria Pascoli prepared the Piadina for his poet brother while, in the periodical called Il Palustro, Antonio Sassi was acclaiming Piadina as the original bread of Romagna. Also the crepuscular poet Moretti wrote his poetic version of Piadina: «La Piada era la Piada: era Pane / Stacciava ella ritmicamente sul tagliere candido».

In the second post war period, Piadina Romagnola started to be spread both in the countryside and in the cities as not anymore as a bread substitute but one of its greediest alternatives. From the 70’s, beside the domestic consumption, a lot of kiosks and laboratories begun to appear alongside the Riviera, selling and producing the original handcrafted Piadina Romagnola.

The bread, or rather, the national food of the people of Romagna

(G. Pascoli)

During the years the Piadina Romagnola become an industrial product. The small and artisanal laboratory whose success had grown for decades, started to produce for a bigger and wider market, supplying the Italian and foreign stores. In order to preserve the traditional recipe of Piadina Romagnola, a series of components between institutions and companies working in the field of food production, situated in the suitable areas of Rimini, Forlì-Cesena, Ravenna and Bologna until Sillaro river, have founded the Consortium of Promotion and Defense of Piadina Romagnola PGI which, after years of work, has gained the PGI certification in October 24th 2014 by the EU.

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