Emilia-Romagna is an Italian region north of Tuscany (map), 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.

My itinerary in Emilia-Romagna

We stayed in Bologna for 3 nights and went on half-day trips to the historic towns of Modena and Ferrara by train. We then drove to Ravenna, spent a night there and continued to Rimini where we spent 2 nights.

Bologna – 3 nights

I 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.

I loved strolling around Bologna, with its stunning porticoes which provide a welcome shade, especially in the summer!
Locals enjoying gelato in the shade under the porticoes.

Read about things to do in Bologna.

Ferrara – day trip

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.

The formidable Este Castle in Ferrara.
Large mirrors in the Castle showcase the frescoes on the ceiling.
The cathedral in Ferrara.

Modena – day trip

One day, a limousine came to pick us 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.

Touring in style in our limousine+chaffeur! 🙂
Inside the futuristic Casa Enzo Ferrari Museum.
One of the many amazing Ferraris at the Ferrari Museum in Maranello.
A fab lunch at L’Erbe de Re in Modena!

Check out this two-day itinerary of Modena.

Ravenna – 1 night

Our next destination was Ravenna, less than a 2-hour drive away from Bologna. Ravenna turned out to be a true gem! I totally fell in love with this gorgeous town, most famous for its impressive mosaics.

The Piazza del Popolo
what to see in ravenna photo
The stunning dome of the Basilica di San Vitale.
The Empress with her flowing robes has inspired many artists over the centuries, amongst whom, Gustav Klimt.

Read about things to do in Ravenna and the UNESCO World Heritage sites in Ravenna.

Adriatic Coast – 2 nights

From Ravenna, we headed for the Adriatic Coast, also known as the Riviera Romagnola, where we spent 2 nights in Rimini. Our first stop was Milano Marittima, a favourite haunt for Italy’s jet-set.

The beach at Milano Marittima.
And we had a terrific seafood lunch at the beach.

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!

La Notte Rosa!
La Notte Rosa!

Read more about the best places in Emilia Romagna to visit


San Marino – day trip from Rimini

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.

Breathtaking views from San Marino.

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!“. Read about things you must do in Emilia Romagna.

Note: my visit to Emilia Romagna was part of the Blogville project, a collaboration between the Emilia-Romagna Tourism Board and iambassador.

8 Responses

  • Hi Trish,
    Bologna is a good base as it’s a major train hub. I can recommend the university neighbourhood (between the main piazza and the train station) – that’s where we had the Blogville apartment last year. Bologna is compact, thus very walkable. You can find more Emilia-Romagna tips on the Blogville website:
    They’re not accepting writers at the moment but no harm in trying via the website. 🙂


  • Hi Keith!

    I’m going to Emilia-Romagna for a few days in May after a week in Siena and Florence. I think I want to stay in Bologna, and take day trips to Modena and Parma (and judging from how you raved about it, Ravenna shouldn’t be missed!). Would you have any recommendations which neighborhood is ideal to stay at in Bologna (or anywhere fun and local within Emilia-Romagna, for that matter?). I find that not a lot has been written about Emilia-Romagna and I want to get there before it becomes so mainstream. :). I keep up a blog as well and it would be an experience to write for Blogville EM, except I don’t think they’re accepting writers at the moment. True?


  • […] …Casa Enzo Ferrari Museum (the home of the founder of Ferrari) and the Ferrari Museum in Maranello. We… One of the many amazing Ferraris at the Ferrari Museum in Maranello. A fab lunch at L’Erbe de Re in…See all stories on this topic […]

  • Nice place.. Awesome architecture.. Amazing photos.. Thanks for sharing…

  • Hi Noel,

    It sure is a stunning region and relatively off-the-beaten-path. I highly recommend exploring Emilia Romagna. I absolutely loved it!


  • What a beautiful area, I’ll be making sure to visit some of these places in fall while passing through Venice, thanks for sharing these.

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