Emilia Romagna is an Italian region north of Tuscany, roughly between Florence and Venice. With its forest-clad mountains, endless beaches along the Adriatic coast, historic towns such as Bologna, Modena, Parma and Ravenna, world-famous automotive industry (think Ferrari, Ducati and Lamborghini), colourful festivals and terrific cuisine, Emilia Romagna has a lot to offer visitors. Despite its numerous attractions, the region remains relatively off-the-beaten-path for many visitors to Italy. Its many UNESCO World Heritage sites are easily accessible and at some sites, you may find yourself admiring the region’s rich cultural and architectural heritage with practically no one around.
I recently had the opportunity to spend one unforgettable week in Emilia Romagna. One week was way too short – that only means I’ll have to return soon – but what a week it was! My trip started in Bologna, easily one of my favourite cities in Italy.
Read about things to do in Bologna.
With this fabulous city as my base, I travelled throughout the region by train to the historic towns of Ferrara and Ravenna. Ferrara, itself a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a historic town that’s famous for its 14th/15th century palaces, the Este Castle (with its stunning frescoes) and its Romanesque Cathedral.
Ravenna turned out to be a true gem! I totally fell in love with this gorgeous town, most famous for its impressive mosaics.
Read about things to see in Ravenna.
One day, a limousine came to pick me (and Claudia) up for a private tour of Modena and the nearby Ferrari museums. We toured in style, visiting the stunning Casa Enzo Ferrari Museum (the home of the founder of Ferrari) and the Ferrari Museum in Maranello. We also strolled around the historic centre of Modena, the home of balsamic vinegar, and had a fabulous lunch at Ristorante L’Erba de Re, a Michelin-star restaurant in the heart of the town.
Check out this two-day itinerary of Modena.
The next day, we headed for the Adriatic Coast where we spent the afternoon enjoying the sun and the surf at Milano Marittima, a favourite haunt for Italy’s jet-set.
Later that day, we drove down the coast to Rimini to join the fun at La Notte Rosa, the Italian Summer New Year’s Eve Party along 110km of beaches! Everyone wears something pink and food and cocktails are pink! At midnight, we were treated to a spectacular fireworks show that lit up 110km of the sky above the coast!
The next day, we took the bus from Rimini to the independent republic of San Marino, one of the smallest and oldest republics in the world. The town is a beautiful maze of cobblestone streets filled with boutiques, restaurants, quirky shops and museums. The views of the surrounding countryside and the Adriatic coast were simply breathtaking.
Read about my visit to San Marino.
Needless to say, I had a brilliant week in Emilia Romagna. I’ll say this to anyone visiting Italy: “Don’t miss Emilia Romagna!“.