An Introduction to Emilia Romagna, Italy

Emilia-Romagna nestled among the Apennines, the mouth of the Po River, and the Adriatic Sea on the east. Famous for its hospitality and gastronomy, Emilia-Romagna is the perfect holiday destination thanks to its varied landscapes and historical-relevant cities. Emilia-Romagna has really something for everyone!

Things to See & Do in Emilia Romagna

The destination not to miss in Emilia-Romagna is Bologna. Affectionately referred to as “la dotta, la grassa, la rossa” (literally “the learned”, “the fat”, “the red”), these epithets represent the three central characteristics of the city. Home of the oldest university in Italy, the capital of indulgent food, and a city in Italy with a historical past centered around revolutionary anarchists and communists, Bologna is full of things to discover.

The historical center is adorned by beautiful portici (arched entrances), which have recently become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Don’t miss a visit to the Two Towers, Piazza Maggiore, the Basilica of San Petronio, and the Sanctuary of San Luca – reachable by walking the longest portico in the world.

Not far from Bologna, there is the town of Dozza, gorgeous with its medieval fortress towering over the streets and walls decorated with amazing murals.

Ferrara is a city full of history. Reigned by the dynasty d’Este, the city’s glorious past is still evident in its buildings. The Estense Castle is the symbol of Ferrara. Another must-see is the Palazzo dei Diamanti, with its unique shape made from over 8,500 marble blocks. Modena is another not to be missed place in Emilia-Romagna. Magnificent architectures and noteworthy museums make Modena a perfect holiday destination if you love art and history.

The Cathedral, with its Ghirlandata Bell Tower, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the Galleria Estense, are absolute must-sees. The city also houses the remains of Dante Alighieri, one of Italy’s greatest poets.

Emilia-Romagna is more than art and culture! The Riviera Romagnola, the region’s southern coast, is the place to be if you are looking for a beach vacation and lots of fun. Riccione is one of Italy’s most popular summer destinations, especially for nightlife lovers. The main site of the Movida is Viale Ceccarini, the main street full of clubs, restaurants, and shops, which leads directly to the sea and its beaches.

Rimini is the epicenter of the Riviera Romagnola and the region’s social life hub. But Rimini is not only beaches and fun! There are many attractions of historical interest, such as the Malatesta Temple, where Giotto’s wooden Crucifix is. Another fun city to hang out in? Milano Marittima!

Emilia-Romagna is also a great holiday spot for those who love the outdoors. Located on the ridge of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines, you can find the National Park of the Casentino Forests, which mountains are perfect for trekking enthusiasts.

Secret Gems of Emilia Romagna

The Grotta Urlante in Premilcuore is a natural gem in the heart of Emilia-Romagna, immersed in the natural landscape of the National Park of the Casentino Forests. The course of the river Rabbi forms a waterfall that fills the depressions between the rocks until it pours under a stone bridge of the seventeenth century. The noise generated by the water and amplified by the natural acoustics is what confers the cave its name (“screaming cave”). Inside the cave are two large pools where you can swim and dive. After enjoying the river waters, take a walk to see the suggestive Sega Waterfall and the smaller Seghina Waterfall.

Food & Drink of Emilia Romagna

The culinary tradition of Emilia-Romagna has very old origins, and its main ingredients have very rich flavors – such as pork, used in many recipes.

A popular appetizer in Emilia-Romagna is crescentine, made from a dough of flour, salt, water, and fat, then fried in oil. Also called gnocco fritto, they are eaten with soft cheese (such as stracchino), prosciutto, or mortadella, a Bolognese classic. Mortadella is a big sausage with pork meat mixed with fat cubes, pepper, and pistachio.

Emilia-Romagna’s worldwide-known recipe is ragù, the pasta sauce made with tomatoes, ground meat, onions, and carrots. The best way to enjoy ragù is with homemade tagliatelle or lasagna (another dish everyone likes).

When it comes to pasta shapes, Emilia-Romagna has a lot to offer. Don’t miss eating tortellini, an egg-based pasta filled with a mix of meats (among which mortadella), nutmeg, and Parmigiano Reggiano.

Piadina Romagnola is the perfect dish for a quick lunch break. This typical dish is a sort of thin focaccia prepared with wheat flour, lard, and yeast and served with various fillings.

The two most famous wines in Emilia-Romagna are Lambrusco and Sangiovese, both red wines that perfectly complement the region’s traditional dishes.

Ciao, I’m Celia, your travel advisor in Italy! I'm a professional travel writer and itinerary designer. I share my local insights and knowledge with travelers looking to go beyond the ordinary. Ask a question or request a custom travel itinerary. Contact me.
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