EMILIA ROMAGNA - WHY GO?
Nicknamed the belly of Italy, Emilia Romagna stretches from the Rimini coast to the borders of Liguria and is the destination for foodies looking for authentic Italian food to enjoy amongst stunning cities and beautiful rolling countryside.
MUST SEE, MUST DO
Foodie mecca Bologna is affectionately known as La Grassa (the fat lady). Spend hours browsing its markets, delis and food halls in the warren of narrow streets beyond the arches of via dell’Archiginnasio. There’s an excellent indoor food hall on via Ugo Bassi, and the daily street market starting in via Clavature is a must.
Be sure to see Le Due Torre – the old leaning towers – and if you have a spring in your step trot up the 498 creaky wooden stairs of Torre degli Asinelli for an unbeatable view of terracotta rooftops and a host of basilicas and towers. Don’t miss Basilica di San Petronio, the city’s grand but unfinished cathedral, and pop into some of the irresistible shoe shops on via Indipendenza.
Rimini has its beaches and nightlife while sleepy Ravenna, home to one of Italy’s top music festivals, is a treasure house of history, monuments and mosaics. Ferrara has its fascinating cathedral, Parma its superb ham and cheeses and Modena a superb and unspoiled centro storico.
Once you’ve had your city fix, head for the hills. The Tuscan-Emilia hills south of Bologna are just the place to get back to nature and unwind. Potter round local markets and medieval villages, go truffle-hunting in season and set off on breezy country treks - you’re within reach of three national parks here.
Visit working farms where Parma Ham, Parmesan cheeses, balsamic vinegar and fine Apennine wines are produced. Go biking, hiking or riding, cosy up by a wood fire and tuck into traditional Emilian specialities like tigelle montanare, tortelloni alle ortiche and torta di riso. And drink a toast to the region’s great gastronomy with a zesty, frothy glass of local frizzante.
MAKE A DATE
Late April – June
Bologna's yearly music festival features everything from Baroque to be-bop.
EMILIA ROMAGNA ROMANCE
People-watch over a bolognaise in the twin squares of Piazza Maggiore and Piazza del Nettuno in the heart of Bologna.
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