Art Director Loretto Rafanelli

12-16 June 2019 – Porretta Terme (Bo)

Alto Reno Terme has always been associated with water: thermal springs, lakes and rivers, watermills, hydropower. Not by chance, from 12th to 16th June Alto Reno Terme will host the 5th Edition of the National Water Festival, the most important national event committed to the environment protection.

During those three days, under Loretto Rafanelli’s art direction, this valuable resource will thread lectures, performances and contributions by many guests (politicians, writers, artists, scholars and experts) of national and international fame.


This year’s edition will feature an extraordinary premiere: on Wednesday 12th of June at 5:30 pm at the Testoni theatre Prof. Romano Prodi will introduce the event with a statement on topic “Water: everybody’s wealth”. Former President of the European Commission and ex Italian prime minister, from 2008 Prodi is the chairman of a joint UN-AU workgroup for peacekeeping missions in Africa, and in 2012 was appointed special envoy in Sahel – the biogeographic transition belt comprised between the barren desert area and the fertile savannah area – by the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

On Friday 14th of June at 5:45 pm at the Testoni theatre, great artist Marco Nereo Rotelli – renowned for his light installations and his artistic performances across music and poetry – will present the narrative film The water’s light”.

At 18:30 H.E. Matteo Maria Zuppi, archbishop of the Metropolitan City of Bologna, will make his contribution on topic The gift of water”, addressing water both as divine gift and inalienable right which worldwide loss causes migrations and poverty, as already pointed out by Pope Francis in his encyclical “Laudato Si’”.

Saturday 15th at 9:30 am at the Terme di Porretta facility hall will take place the seminar Adjustment strategies to climate change. Some examples within everybody’s reach, curated by Ass. “Fulvio Ciancabilla” and cooperation with the Università Alma Mater of Bologna.

Guided tours starting from 3 pm of the underground thermal springs of Porretta Terme, the historic town centre and the Terme Alte (the raised old thermal facility, now disused).

In the afternoon, three expositions on theme water will open:

  1. “Aqua” – distortion not lie” – by painter Cesare Vezzali;
  2. “Water shots” – curatorship of Regione Emilia-Romagna, Servizio Tutela e Risanamento Acqua, Aria e Agenti fisici;
  3. “Water of the Tuscan Emilian Apennine” – by photographer Luigi Riccioni;

On Saturday night will extraodinarily occur the “Notte Celeste” (i.e. blue night) of the Emilia-Romagna thermal spas. On this occasion, all thermal facilities will be open till late with a range of offerings on topic to share with family and friends.


2:30 pm – “L’Aqua – images and portraits from underwater”. Cesare Vezzali – Fulvia Bassi Gruppo di studi Alta valle del Reno – Nueter edition.

The book gathers the painter’s works representing underwater bodies, either at swimming, diving or over and under water, revealing that this element can distort shapes but cannot lie.

3 pm – guided tours at the underground thermal springs and historic town centre of Porretta Terme.

From 3 pm to 5 pm – 2nd edition of the “Forbidden Waters challenge”

3:15 pm – Andrea Ottanelli and Renzo Zagnoni – “Souterrain de l’Apennin – The Porrettana railway and the Apennine tunnel in two lithographies from the Nineteenth century”, Gruppo di studi Alta valle del Reno – Nueter edition.

4:00 pm – “Bologna beyond GDP”. Gianluigi Bovini. Statistician, Bovini dedicates the present work to the issue of the sustainable development in Emilia-Romagna and in the Metropolitan City of Bologna.

4:45 pm – Luxembourg poet and narrator Jean Portante will tell the wonderful story of a whale – his myth language – from which a concept of writing capable of crossing borders and inspired by water emerges.

5:30 pm – “The city in the second Renaissance”, psychoanalysis and word science journal attended by intellectuals, writers, scientists, public administrators, entrepreneurs and artists, edited by Dr. Caterina Giannelli, word scientist and brainworker, who will talk on topic “How cities are inscribed on water”.

5:30 pm – “Big yellow, big blue” – A for Aqua, Z for Zolfo, entertainment for children age 5 to 11 by writer, poet and mountain librarian Alessandro Riccioni.

6:15 pm – “Enchanted Apennine”. Gianni Fini, Margherita Lollini and Claudio Valgiusti – From series “Notebooks from the Apennine”, Fernandel edition.

Writing, painting and photography in a book about the Bolognese Apennine, by nature quiet and discreet, far from the big tourism cities as well as from art and intellectual destinations. An attempt to bound these three expression forms, three distant worlds, in an harmonic balance, aiming to tell the sour-sweet, harsh and gentle beauty of this land.

9 pm – for the “Notte Celeste”, Cristiano Cremonini on stage “Musica senza confini”, the Italian and international top hits. Music direction: Denis Biancucci.


11:30 am – “Different fish – Chef’s secret sea recipes”. Luca Giovanni  Pappalardo – Bonanno Editore.

The chef tells the story of forgotten fish. Voiceless by their own nature, in these pages they can speak through new and unusual recipes with no scam. It’s about traditional, daring yet affordable recipes. Luca is the chef of restaurant “Pane e Panelle” in Bologna; he writes articles of the newspaper “Corriere della Sera”, is committed to the consumer literacy and to raise the awareness of the variety of fish that populate our waters, either sweet of saline. The chef will challenge writer, poet and mountain librarian Alessandro Riccioni, author of “Mare matto” (Premio G. Rodari 2017), illustrated by Vittoria Facchini – Lapis edition.

2 pm – “Water as health staple” – biologist and nutricionist Dr. Mattia Dalla Verità.

2:30 pm – Marcial arts show by dojo N.B. Karate DO tradizionale of Ponte della Venturina – UISP and FIAM and Ass. “L’Arte del Tai Chi Quan”, instructor Shi Rong Hua.

2:45 pm – “Dell’acqua”. Massimo Donà – “La nave di Teseo” editor.

Musician and university teacher in Theoretical Philosophy, Donà is head of the master class “Wine and food philosophy” at the Università San Raffaele in Milan.

3:30 pm – “Le onde della nostra vita” – “Spirali” edition, edited by Dr. Mariella Borraccino, head of research, who will talk about the theme “Water, sexuality, life”.

4 pm – “Forbidden waters challenge” 2nd edition awarding

4:30 pm – Appointment with Claudio Cicotti about “Migration and poverty, a river of stories through Italy and Northern Europe”.

5:30 pm – “C’era una volta… un bove e una sorgente”. Lilia Mattioli – L’Arcobaleno edition. 

In the second half of the Fourteenth century, the Bolognese mountain and its people undergo a deep social and economic crisis. The old feudal lords go down as the middle class rises; castles and towers collapse, new settlements replace old towns. The plot of this novel is the story of the Marsili family, of Clara and Andrea, simple and poor people leaving their fields and woods in search for a better life on the foreground of exact historic data.

A music and dance party with the Davide Salvi orchestra at the Ponte della Venturina park will close off this Festival’s edition.

The “Piaggiomania” section of the “Gruppo Casio” Ass. sets up the “Vespa Day in the Soul land” on Sunday. 

A wide range of food and wine local products of the Tuscan Emilian Apennine can’t miss on the festival days can’t miss (polenta, necci, tigelle e castagnaccio). Meals will be provided by the Borgo Capanne, Boschi, Casa Boni, Casa Calistri, Corvella, Porretta Terme Pro Loco and by the Olivacci Ass.  Oyeah Ass. will be in charge of the preparation of special drinks and cocktails made with local products and of an original arts&craft market.