home page ivitaly

best italian agri-food products & more

Formaggio di Fossa di Sogliano
Formaggio di Fossa di Sogliano PDO


An act of defence against invading peoples during the Middle Ages resulting in an invention: a cheese matured in 'pits' dug into the rock or tuff.
It is this ripening in pits - which are then like 'wells' - that has created one of the most distinctive Italian cheeses: Formaggio di Fossa di Sogliano.

"Formaggio di Fossa"(formaggio=cheese; fossa=pit) is a hard and semi-hard whole cow's milk, whole sheep's milk, and a mixture ob both: 80% of whole cow's miks and 20% of whole sheep's milk.

SHAPE: This cheese does not have a regular shape, initially is circular, but during the maturing period, they are put inside a pit/well and take very irregular shape, depending on 'contact', weight, pressure of one with the other.

IMPORTANT NOTE: A cheese whose main characteristics of taste and aromas are provided by its particular ripening process.
Anaerobic re-fermentation takes place inside the pit, giving the cheese a very particular and intense flavour rich in herbaceous scents and persistent aromas.
But we taking into account that the final product is influenced by quality of initial cheese then, size and features of the pit, its humidity and temperature, time of ripening.
Besides, the position of cheese inside the pit, contact with others and final, the differences between cow's, sheep's and mixed cheese.

How is it made?

First of all, we want to say that each stage of the production process is controlled by documenting every phase, because, partecipate more figures everyone registrated in special lists: There are the owners of the pits, breeders, producers, portioners, etc. and all is controlled as production quantity, traceability.

The milk - raw or pasteurized - is collected in two daily milkings. If milk is raw must be worked within 48 hours. The process with pasteurized milk takes place after a pasteurization at 71.7 C for 15 seconds.

The coagulation phase is obtained heating milk at the temperature of 30-38C, then calf rennet is added. Then the curd is broken and it is placed in moulds for a manual pressing and for whey draining. At the end, it is salted, either dry or in brine.

The fresh cheese wheel (also called "caciotta") is about 6-10 cm in height and a diameter between 12-20 cm, weight about 500-1.900 grams.

FIRST RIPENING - First phase of maturing lasts from 60 to 240 days in authorised premises.

contact us

Ripening in pit

The Sogliano pits are dug into sandstone rock. The pit must be sanitised burning the straw inside for removing moisture and germs. Then the walls are covered with a layer of about 10 centimetres of straw to insulate it: The straw is supported by a scaffold of vertical reeds, bound by wooden hoops.
Wooden boards are placed on the bottom.

straw and reeds inside the pit


Cheeses are placed in natural cotton bags (with a number, weight and owner's name) and buried in those pit/well until the upper level.
The rounded opening is closed with wooden planks then sealed with sand and chalk.
The pitting begins at the end of August-first days of September; maturing period is about 80-100 days.

Ripening end

Normally the cheeses are removed ("sfossatura" in italian) from the pit on November 25th.

Production area

The Formaggio di Fossa di Sogliano PDO has the origin in Sogliano al Rubicone (FC) but produced in Talamello (RN) also.
However, nowadays is produced in two regions: Emilia-Romagna, within the provinces of Forlì- Cesena, Rimini, Ravenna and in some territories of Province of Bologna; Marche, within the provinces of Ancona, Macerata, Pesaro-Urbino and Ascoli Piceno.

Some pits

Antiche Fosse

Fosse Pellegrini

Consortium of Formaggio di Fossa PDO

The consortium obtained in 2009 the P.D.O. denomination.

P.zza della Repubblica 26
47030 Sogliano al Rubicone (Forl Cesena)



IVITALY is a project of:
Viale Vincenzo Ricci, 303
89029 Taurianova (RC)
P.IVA 02644000800

tel. 0039-3755916804

e-mail: info@ivitaly.com