Guide to Emilia Romagna
A land of warm hospitality, artistic beauty, enchanting villages and famous beaches
The perfect harmony between cities of art, medieval villages, plains, mountains and sea in two once distinct regions, now bound by the art of “good living”.
Emilia, whose name comes from the ancient via Consolare Emilia built between 189-187 BC by the Roman consul Marco Emilio Lepido, includes the provinces of Piacenza, Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Ferrara and Bologna. The entire region brims over with cultural vitality, offering a wealth of galleries, museums, libraries and important theatre, music and art festivals. The region went through a cultural heyday when Parma and Piacenza were a duchy (1545 to 1859), as the palaces of Compiano, Bardi, Torrechiara, the medieval towns and villages and the castles such as Castell’Arquato, Vigoleno, Fontanellato and Tabiano testify to this day. A visit to the Parma area, whose most famous son is Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901), is an absolute must for art lovers. Parma itself captivates its guests with its Romanesque Cathedral, the Antelami’s Baptistery and the National Gallery housing one of Italy’s most outstanding art collections. Another essential destination is Bologna, with its intact historical centre full of countless architectural jewels and museums of all different types, with its typical magnificent red buildings and pillared entrances dotted throughout the whole city, surrounded by art and craft shops and workshops, earthy bars and cafés and markets.
Romagna, made up of the regions of Ravenna, Rimini and Forlì-Cesena, is very much a place of the sea. Its name dates back to the fifth-century region of ”Romània”, indicating Ravenna’s role as part of the Western Roman and Byzantine Empires. And it was the Byzantines who brought the art of mosaic design to a unique highpoint in the area, in their very individual mix of symbolism and realism. Despite the beauty of neighbouring Ravenna, visitors should not forget Rimini. In the old San Giuliano quarter, one can trace the atmosphere of days gone by, and the city itself is still haunted by the spirit of the magical filmmaker Federico Fellini, who was born here. The region also radiates a special charm along the coast between Ravenna and Cattolica. Indisputably, this stretch of coast magically attracts the most foreign tourists – no wonder, with its long, sophisticated sandy beaches and hip clubs. The many different theme parks nearby (such as Mirabilandia in Ravenna, Aquafan and Oltremare in Riccione, Fiabilandia in Rimini and the aquarium in Cattolica) are also a great attraction for families. The region really does have something very special to offer for everyone.
Frequently called the culinary centre of Italy, it is also a magnet for gourmets and lovers of fine food. Just think of delicious tortellini, ragout, Parma ham, air-cured Culatello ham, Grana padano and Parmigiano Reggiano cheeses and mortadella ham are some of the delicacies that have made Emilia and the province of Parma, considered Italy’s “Food Valley”, famous all over the world. Delicacies to be savoured with a good glass of red Sangiovese or Lambrusco wine.