It all started in December 2017 when my mum told me : “Ire, you need to check out this new place on our Reggio Emilia hills! It’s called Borgo Cadonega, it’s super cool, just 20 minutes from home… And it even has a restaurant and a spa!”.

So my boyfriend and I ventured on the Emilia Romagna hills and after a 20 minutes drive from Reggio Emilia (our hometown) we immersed ourselves in a weekend of pure relaxation.

Borgo Cadonega is an ancient village sophisticatedly renovated and turned into a beautiful Italian hotel + cozy Spa + innovative restaurant. 

I had already explored my region, Emilia Romagna, last year (you can find the road-trip story here), but I had never focused on the hidden beauties of my own province, Reggio Emilia.

Needless to say that I fell in love with this Relais, immersed in the quiet hills of Emilia, which allows me to switch off whenever I want to “escape” from my hectic, busy life.

Since we worked really well together in December, Mauro (the super director of Borgo Cadonega) and Roberto (the owner) contacted me to coordinate the Blog Tour we organized for 1-2 March 2018 where we invited the bloggers MiPrendoEMiPortoViaClosetteVivien BassViaggioVeroInViaggioDaSola, and TheGlobbers to discover the ancient mansion.

I will here introduce you to the various parts of the Borgo, so you can get a better sense of its beauty and diversity!

Borgo Cadonega Relais

An ancient, noble structure meets modern design and creates a unique Hotel

The Relais features 9 comfortable and suggestive rooms: 9 real gems, enriched with ancient stone walls and wooden beams but equipped with a modern and innovative interior design.

A few of my favorite rooms are indeed the suite “Piccionaia”, the Junior Suite “Il Castello” and “I mammelloni”, but all of them are intrinsically unique.

Borgo Cadonega Spa: Luxury Relax

The only Spa in the entire Reggio Emilia hills area


The Spa is a real gem in the heart of our province, the ONLY ONE on the hills of Reggio Emilia.

Very close to the main structure, it was once a barn. It is now divided between a ground floor where we find sauna, steam bath, multi-sensorial showers and relaxation area (just a heads-up, the tea served here is highly addictive ;), while upstairs we find a Private Spa with Jacuzzi and tropical shower with a direct view on the park, as well as the massage cabins.

For three times during these winter months, I was lucky enough to find myself in the sauna while out there was snowing. The peace I felt was indescribable.

Federica, the Spa Manager, is extremely competent (other than completely hilarious) and I truly trust her knowledge, experience and incredibly soft hands; we just finished setting up a draining and regenerating program for my legs (which feel very heavy after years of weightlifting). I will let you know how it’ll go;)

You can follow me on my Instagram Stories to watch all the behind the scenes of my everyday life.

Borgo Cadonega Restaurant: Luxury dining

Innovative Italian Gourmet Cusine

The cusine at Borgo Cadonega is extremely ground-breaking, a real breath of fresh air in a “culinary panorama” like ours in which it seems like we can’t betray the typical cappelletti-tortelli-lasagna recipes without committing a crime 😉

Chef Andrea Fanti is originally from Viterbo (believe me, you’ll be able to tell from his accent!), and has brought from Lazio a great group of young guys who cook with a lot of love and dedication. In particular I must mention Chiara, the young pastry chef, who with her dessert Mont Blanc has delighted my palate (too addicted to salty treats) so perfectly. Chiara, you rock.


Everything in the Cadonega kitchen is own-produced: from pastry to fresh bread, from ginger sorbets to Lambrusco mousse. There is an absolute attention to the research of raw materials and new cooking techniques.

Needless to say the dishes are surprising and truly delicious. Cadonega has become my favorite restaurant around Reggio Emilia and I truly recommend it.

External custumers are welcome too 🙂

The menu has just been renovated and the dishes that struck me the most (believe me I’ve already practically devoured all the new courses several times) are undoubtedly:

–  Entree: Beef tartare, beetroot, goat cheese and leccino olive powder.

– First Course: Risotto vialone nano, Parmigiano 24 months, salted zabaione with lambrusco and balsamic vinegar spheres.

– First Course: Potato gnocchi with chestnut flour, guanciale, pecorino cheese and lemon.

– Dessert: “Mon BLANC cherry” White chocolate mousse, cherry gelée, crunchy cocoa and amaretto.

borgo cadonega

If you are near Reggio Emilia and you miss this restaurant, you’re crazy 😀

Just saying.

The Ancient Mill of Borgo Cadonega

Before heading out, don’t forget to take home some stone-ground flour!

Something truly special about Cadonega – what I would definite the ultimate gem and surprise from the Borgo – is its family-run ancient mill, known both by locals and external visitors, where flour is still stone grounded.

Ulderico Aldini, an over 90-years-old funny and kind gentleman, still spends every day grounding at the mill, full of energy and passion for its craft. Thank you so much for gifting me with a kg of bio flour! My grandma and I made some super yummy bread with it 🙂


Guys, what can I say? I’m such a big fan of this place. I think I’ll start organizing buses from all over the world just so people can see it. And I hope you got all my enthusiasm from this article!

I would like to immensely thank the director Mauro Dellandrea for trusting me, Federica for being the funniest Spa Manager I ever met, and chef Andrea Fanti for bringing a new wave of freshness into our territory cuisine.

I’m sure we’ll meet again soon. You won’t easily get rid of me Borgo Cadonega 😉

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