Blue cheese and radicchio gnocchi in San Leo

San Leo is a small town (population 3,000) in the Italian province of Rimini, in the Emilia-Romagna region. We visited this town as part of our trip to the Marche region of Italy. San Leo was previously part of the Pesaro-Urbino province in the region of the Marche until August 2009 when it joined Emilia-Romagna (following a 2006 referendum).

San Leo was a real jewel. It’s rumoured that it could become a UNESCO world heritage site, with its impressive fortress perched atop a rocky cliff and two romanesque churches (the Cathedral of San Leo with its byzantine bell tower and the church of Santa Maria Assunta).

In this amazing setting we had one of our best meals of the vacation at a restaurant called “Il Bettolino” (Via Montefeltro 4, San Leo, 61018 PU). While others at the table had various dishes of fresh egg pasta (almost orange from the eggs), I had fluffy-as-clouds gnocchi with blue cheese and radicchio. The combination of bitter, salty and sweet was beautiful, and the radicchio still had enough crunch to contrast the texture of the gnocchi.

In addition to the fantastic food, we had impeccable service from the teenaged waiter who could have been waiting at any 5-star restaurant in Paris or New York.

So if you’re ever in the region, San Leo and Il Bettolino are no-brainers.

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