How many of you have heard about the region of Emilia Romagna in Italy or know where it is? I bet not many. This area is often overlooked, although many reasons exist for visiting Emilia Romagna.

Everyone traveling from Florence to Venice (or the other way round) goes through Emilia Romagna and its largest city, Bologna. This Italian region is often barely an area of transit, and only a few make a stop on their way to or from


Ferrara Castle
The Beautiful Castle of Ferrara

Too bad, for there are many tourist attractions in Emilia-Romagna. It’s a land full of beauty, charm, and traditions. And if you’re still wondering why you should visit Emilia Romagna, read further.

Emilia-Romagna in a nutshell

Best cities in Emilia Romagna
Bologna, Modena, Ferrara, Ravenna, Parma
Best towns in Emilia RomagnaBrisighella, Comacchio, San Leo, Dozza, Sant’Arcangelo di Romagna
Best Emilia Romagna FoodsParma ham, Parmigiano Reggiano, Traditional Balsamic Vinegar, Culatello,
Must-taste Emilia Romagna CuisineTortellini (best in broth), Lasagne, Tagliatelle al ragù, any Home-made Pasta

Emilia Romagna Map

12 reasons for visiting Emilia Romagna (and add it to your Italy bucket list)

1. A land of authenticity

I’m not going to deny that Tuscany is fantastic. However, the hordes of tourists have partially tarnished its authenticity, at least in the most famous cities and areas. Too many things, for my taste, are shaped to please tourists. For example, the only thought that some people nicknamed a region of Tuscany’ Chiantishire’ makes me shiver. Also, I get suspicious when I read many signs in English at the entrance of some local wineries, meaning that much of the focus is on foreign visitors.

Parma Trattoria I Corrieri

Not so in Emilia-Romagna, where genuineness is deep-rooted, and authentic Italy feels much stronger. That’s particularly true if you travel to a few of the charming smaller towns in Emilia Romagna. When you hop from one city or town to another, it doesn’t take long to see how unique each one is.

Rome, Florence, and Venice are unique and extraordinary. However, it’s tough to beat the crowds, no matter the season, and the flurry can be overwhelming. Most places across Emilia-Romagna are quieter and more enjoyable (unless you go to the Adriatic coast during the July-August peak season, and sometimes Ravenna can be busy).

2. Warm hospitality

Emilia-Romagna has always distinguished itself for its warm hospitality, a characteristic that has not faded away.

Most people in the region are friendly, joyful, and easy-going, and feeling at home is often only a matter of minutes. I cherish this area of Italy because I always feel welcome.

3. Visiting Emilia Romagna means discovering its variety

The Emilia Romagna region has it all: art cities, charming towns, endless beaches, rolling hills, and mountains! Not to speak about the scrumptious food and the luxury cars that were born (and are still produced) in this area.

To mention the best places to visit in Emilia Romagna means making a long list. Indeed, the region is incredibly diverse. There’s so much to do and see that it’s easy to build an Emilia Romagna itinerary that includes many different experiences.

UNESCO Modena, Cathedral
Modena, Cathedral

4. Emilia Romagna cities are spellbinding

While visiting Emilia Romagna, you’ll discover cities of unexpected beauty, each with a unique flair. Furthermore, it’s impossible to introduce the best cities in Emilia Romagna without mentioning a few UNESCO World Heritage Sites, all simply breathtaking.


One of the most unique Heritage Sites is Ravenna, where you’ll discover a complex of eight early Christian monuments. The magnificent mosaics are among the most beautiful works of art I’ve ever seen. Therefore, if you want to add an unforgettable art experience to your Emilia Romagna itinerary, don’t miss Ravenna. I also enjoyed the laid-back atmosphere, watching the locals crisscross the roads on their bikes or gathering at one of the al fresco cafes (weather permitting) for a drink and a chat.

Ravenna Mosaics

I strongly recommend the 3-Hour Guided Tour to Discover Ravenna Byzantine Mosaics and fully appreciate their beauty.


In Modena, you can admire the magnificent early Romanesque architecture of Piazza Grande, the Cathedral, and the Ghirlandina Tower, the city’s symbol. It’s lovely to stroll along the cobblestone streets of the historical center. If you want to discover more than the city’s artistic beauty, take a Balsamic Vinegar Tasting Tour in Modena (tasting included) to learn the secrets of this unique food specialty. That was one of the most fascinating food experiences I ever had in Italy—so much so that I’ve been twice!

Modena Romantic View
Modena Old Town
Modena Old Town


Ferrara is one of the cities that surprised me the most. Although lesser known, the city is a jewel, and it’s not surprising that it was declared a UNESCO WHS for its unique Renaissance architecture and urban planning. I had a wonderful time exploring Ferrara by bike, and it’s without a doubt a city where I’d like to go back and spend a few days.

Ferrara Castle
The magnificent Ferrara castle


Known worldwide for its ham, Parma is a delightful city. The historical center boasts magnificent monuments like the Cathedral and octagonal Baptistery, a unique Romanesque and Gothic architecture masterpiece. Landmarks aside, take a stroll in Via della Salute with its picturesque pastel-colored houses and taste the mouthwatering food at one of the local Trattorias.

Parma and Its colours
Parma and its colors

Parma is the gastronomic center of the Italian Food Valley, and from here, you can visit a Parmigiano Reggiano factory or take a tour combining Parmigiano with Parma ham. There’s no better way to discover the fascinating secrets behind these two delicious specialties.


Bologna, Emilia-Romagna’s capital city, is famous for its University, whose origins date back to the 11th century and is dubbed to be the oldest academic institution in the Western world. Like Coimbra in Portugal, young students are ubiquitous, giving the city a characteristic and lively vibe. I loved walking under the arcades (they cover 45 km, or 28 mi, in the city), getting lost in the tiny streets of the beautiful historical center, sitting with a book at one of the many cafés, and enjoying the laid-back atmosphere.

Bologna Arcades
Bologna beautiful arcades

5. Towns in Emilia Romagna are charming

If you want to discover some hidden gems in Italy and have more authentic experiences, Emilia Romagna won’t disappoint you. There are many delightful towns in Emilia Romagna that are worth visiting. Between the many dotting the region, one truly stole my heart. I fell in love with the colorful little hilltop town of Brisighella and felt pure bliss looking at the rolling verdant hills surrounding it. Brisighella is one of those places where I can go back time and again, always feeling the same pleasure. Furthermore, if you wish to combine Tuscany with Emilia Romagna, it’s possible to reach Brisighella from Florence with the scenic Dante’s train, connecting Ravenna or Faenza to Florence through the Appennine.

The Hills of Brisighella
The Hills of Brisighella

Among the most beautiful towns in Emilia Romagna are Dozza – with the colorful murals decorating the village’s houses -, San Leo, a little gem, and Comacchio, reminding the smaller islands of the Venice lagoon.

6. Trekking Emilia Romagna is a fantastic experience

Although not as scenic as the Alps, the Apennine mountain range provides plenty of beautiful spots. The region offers lots of hiking and biking trails, short or long, easy or demanding. Trekking Emilia Romagna is a fabulous experience. A few years ago, I hiked the St Francis Way from Rimini to La Verna Sanctuary, one of the most popular long-distance hikes in Emilia Romagna, together with the Via degli Dei, the hiking trail connecting Bologna to Florence.

Way of St Francis, Hiking from San Leo to Sant'Agata Feltria
Red Poppis fields in Emilia Romagna

It’s a fantastic way to combine active travel, lovely landscapes, charming towns, and local culture. In any case, whether you’re short of time or prefer to spend just a single day doing outdoor activities, you can walk just one stretch of the trail.

7. Emilia Romagna beaches

Emilia Romagna region is also known for its stretch of the Adriatic coast, with its wide sandy beaches and entertainment for anyone. For that reason, it’s a favored destination by teenagers, couples, families, and the elderly.

I’m not much of a beach bum anymore, but Rimini and Riccione—two of the most popular spots—are linked to my childhood. My father used to bring my brother and me there on holiday so I have many sweet memories. Rimini is a perfect destination if you want to combine the beach with nightlife and lovely excursions. There are many things to do and see in Rimini and its surroundings that don’t necessarily involve the beach!

Rimini - Tiberius Bridge
Rimini, Tiberius Bridge

Anyway, from time to time, I like reliving sweet memories of spending a few days of long walks along the endless water edge, eating delicious typical piadina (a local flatbread that I usually have filled with ham, soft cheese, and arugula), and shamelessly savoring hearty dishes of fresh fish.

8. Home of the Food Valley and a foodies paradise

Few countries in the world can boast such a variety of food specialties and creativity in cuisine as Italy. Furthermore, every Italian region is a land of culinary discoveries. The food of Emilia Romagna is no exception.

Emilia Romagna Food Torta Fritta e Salumi
Torta Fritta e Salumi

Celebrated on Forbes as Italy’s Greatest Gastronomic Treasure, Emilia-Romagna is an authentic foodie paradise. The region is home to unique and delicious products, like Parmigiano-Reggiano and Parma ham. Then, there’s Modena’s Traditional balsamic vinegar, whose production is fascinating. I’m talking about the real thing, not the one sold in most supermarkets. It takes years to produce traditional balsamic vinegar, and you have to taste it and discover how divine it is.

Modena Traditional Balsamic Vinegar

Then, there’s mouth-watering cured meat like Culatello di Zibello, Parma ham, Mortadella, and Coppa. And Lambrusco, the slightly sparkling local red wine, is the perfect pairing with the regional food.

Unsurprisingly, the entire area around Parma is called the “Food Valley.” And the many delicious local products and dishes alone are reason enough to visit.

Visiting Emilia Romagna is perfect for unique Italian food experiences

Perhaps no Italian region allows having as many food experiences as Emilia Romagna. There’s a wide choice, so I recommend a few, among which you can choose depending on your Emilia Romagna itinerary.

– Uncover the secrets of Parmigiano Reggiano and Parma Ham
Guided gastronomic tour with a local
– A must-do is a Guided Balsamic Vinegar Cellar Tour
– If you’re looking at things to do in Modena when it rains, why not a Traditional Home Cooking Class and Meal?
– Discover the city’s delicacies with a Walking Food Tour with a Local Guide
Home cooking class in Bologna at Grazia’s house
– Take a tour of Parma Cheese & Ham Factories, including tastings.

9. Bologna, ideally located to explore Northern Italy 

Not many foreign visitors know that Bologna is one of the main railway hubs in Italy, strategically positioned on the railroad line connecting Milan to Florence-Rome and Venice to Florence-Rome, both passing through Bologna.

The introduction of high-speed trains has significantly reduced the time to travel from one city to another. Thus, Bologna is only 1 hour away from Milan, 1 1/2 hours from Venice, and 35-40 minutes from Florence. These trains are fast but expensive. However, you can save money on high-speed trains if you buy your tickets in advance.

Visiting Emilia-Romagna by train from Bologna is easy since many regional trains connect most of the best spots. Bologna is a beautiful and lively city famous for its porticoes, which cover close to 40 km. Furthermore, you can take many easy day trips from Bologna to the sea, the hills, or other enchanting art cities and towns.

10. Reasonable prices and value for money

Italy is an extraordinary country, but let’s be honest: the most famous spots are pricey when not outrageously expensive. On the other hand, Emilia-Romagna is generally cheaper, and delicious food is easy to find at really fair prices.

Moreover, especially in smaller towns, there are fewer of the usual places for tourists, with lousy food that is too expensive for what it is.

11. The realm of homemade pasta

Sure, pasta is the Italian national dish, and there are so many different types of pasta and ways of cooking it that you could eat it every day for one year and never have it prepared twice in the same fashion.

However, Emilia-Romagna is the realm of homemade pasta – or sfoglia, as they call it there. Tagliatelle, tortellini, and lasagne, to mention only a few, are ‘variations on the theme’ across the region.

Ravioli di Magro
Ravioli di Magro with typical Lambrusco red wine

Preparing homemade pasta is a tradition and pride. It holds memories of past times that are still alive, no matter how the world has changed. Food in Italy is traditionally a family matter, and the loving preparation of tortellini or lasagne was meant for special occasions, gathering family and friends around the table. There may be fewer occasions today, but the tradition is still strongly felt.

My favorites are tortellini in brodo (tortellini in broth) and tagliatelle al ragù. Add to the list lasagna and tortelli di magro (homemade pasta filled with ricotta, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and just a bit of parsley), topped with melted butter and a generous spoon of grated Parmigiano. And I could go on…

12. The region of legendary cars

Ferrari, Maserati, and Lamborghini—these legendary cars were all born in Emilia-Romagna, in an area called the ‘Motor Valley.‘ The same goes for the Ducati motorcycle and other motorcycle brands. Here, the best talents gathered over time and developed unique designs and cutting-edge technology.

Panini Museum, Maserati Cars Collection
Panini Museum, Maserati Cars Collection

There are numerous museums in Emilia Romagna, and if you like cars and design, here are a few you should add to your Emilia Romagnas bucket list:

Beware that in most cases, you’ll have to reach the Maranello Ferrari Museum and the Lamborghini Museum on your own, meaning that you’ll need to rent a car.

If you always dreamed driving a Ferrari, you can experience a Ferrari test drive in Maranello. It’s pricey, but it’s a unique experience, and I loved it!

    Not yet sure why you should visit Emilia-Romagna? Leave a comment or write to me. I’m ready to give you even more reasons!

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    Practical information for visiting Emilia-Romagna

    Emilia-Romagna: Best time to vist

    You can virtually travel to Emilia-Romagna all year round, but there are more advisable times of the year.

    Spring and autumn are the best time to visit the cities and towns of Emilia-Romagna, which can get quite hot in July and August. Winters can be chilly but never so cold to prevent you from a pleasant stroll and enjoying one of the many museums and landmarks.

    The seacoast is very busy from June to the end of August, and since it’s high season, the prices rise. On the other hand, May and September can be lovely, cooler, and less crowded. If you like the sea in winter, as I do, you’ll appreciate the vast, long beaches, where you can walk almost undisturbed. The only downside is that many hotels, restaurants, and cafès are seasonal, so you’ll have limited options.

    Getting to Emilia-Romagna

    By Air: Bologna Marconi Airport (BLG) has direct flights from/to several European cities (Vienna, Munich, Edinburgh, London, Paris, and many more). The airport is very close to the city. In addition, a regular shuttle bus connects Bologna airport to the city center in about 20-30 minutes.

    Check flight timetables and airline deals -> HERE.

    By Train: Bologna is the main railway hub of the north/south train line. The high-speed train allows you to travel quickly from/to Milan, Venice, Florence, and Rome. Check out the timetables and book your high-speed train tickets in advance to get discounted fares.

    Getting around

    By Train:

    A regular train service connects the main cities and most towns of Emilia-Romagna. Check Trenitalia timetables -> HERE.

    By Car:

    Undoubtedly, driving gives you more freedom to visit at your pace and stop along the way as often as you feel. However, driving in the cities is often complicated (narrow roads, pedestrian areas, confusing signs), and parking is a challenge. However, if public transport is not your thing,  check the best rates for car hire -> Book Now your Rental car!

    Where to stay in Emilia Romagna

    There’s a wide choice of accommodations for every budget. From hostels to campings, from cozy guesthouses to luxury hotels.

    Where to stay in Bologna

    • Hotel Metropolitan boasts modern and stylish furniture and a central location in the historic center. The plus: a rooftop terrace overlooking Bologna and the surrounding hills, where you can have breakfast and aperitifs, and enjoy relaxing moments. Ideal for couples who like design.
    • Hotel Corona d’Oro: Classic and elegant, in the heart of the town. The plus: an ancient historical building, a stone’s throw from the famous towers of Bologna. Ideal for people enjoying tradition and elegance.
    • Find more highly rated options in Bologna -> HERE.

    Accommodations in Parma

    • NH Parma: A brand new hotel with contemporary and stylish design and furniture. The plus: 42-inch TVs and a free fitness area. Ideal for modern style lovers.
    • Park Hotel Pacchiosi: A luxury hotel in an ancient building from the early 20th century. The plus is the 10,000 sqm park surrounding the hotel. Ideal for luxury lovers and couples.
    • Find more highly rated options in Parma -> HERE.

    Accommodations in Rimini

    • Grand Hotel Rimini e Residenza Parco Fellini: The most classic hotel in Rimini, with a longstanding tradition. The plus: Grand Hotel Rimini epitomizes the Dolce Vita, as told in Fellini’s movie. Ideal for couples, cinema buffs, and traditions lovers.
    • Houston Suites feature bright and minimal furniture and are near the beach. Most suites have a dining area and kitchenette. The plus: you’ll feel like having your small beach apartment. Ideal for families.
    • Find more highly rated options in Rimini -> HERE.

    Accommodations in Ravenna

    • Casa Masoli: A boutique bed&breakfast in a beautiful historic residence dating back to the 19th century. The plus: the breakfast room is decorated with frescoes. It is ideal for couples who love tradition and uniqueness.
    • Palazzo Bezzi: Tastefully decorated with modern furniture, it is near the mosaics and all attractions. The plus: internal patio, Spa, and wellness center. Ideal for couples.
    • Find more highly rated options in Ravenna -> HERE.

    Where to eat

    You can hardly get wrong in Emilia-Romagna, but there are still a few places that I strongly recommend.


    • Trattoria Anna Maria – Countless pictures and many photos of Italian celebrities hang on the walls of this simple traditional restaurant. Not to miss Tagliatelle al ragù, Tortelloni burro e salvia (hand-made pasta filled with spinach and ricotta and seasoned with melted butter, sage, and a generous sprinkle of Parmigiano Reggiano), and Vitello tonnato (super thin slices of veal covered with a tuna-based thick sauce).
    • Mercato di Mezzo – This indoor market is a must-see in Bologna to see lots of delicacies. It is also excellent for Aperitivo, pre-dinner drinks, and a hearty buffet. If you want to taste something different, order the Lambruspritz, the Bologna version of the famous “aperitivo,” with the typical Lambrusco red wine.
    • Welldone – If you’re looking for a change from Italian food, here you can eat gourmet hamburgers and wash them down with good beer.


    • Alfione Ristorante & Bottega – A traditional shop of gourmet food enlarged to include a lovely restaurant. It’s an exceptional place serving great dishes cooked with excellent raw materials.
    • Trattoria Corrieri –  A longstanding restaurant in the heart of the city. Enjoy gnocco fritto (sometimes called also torta fritta) with Culatello, Parma ham, and other cold cuts, and savor the delicious homemade filled pasta.


    • If you are a Formula 1 fan or love Ferrari luxury cars, chances are you’ll visit the Ferrari Museum in Maranello. Don’t miss having a bite at the iconic Ristorante Cavallino, where every piece tastes Ferrari: photos of famous drivers, F1 paraphernalia, and the ubiquitous prancing horse.

    Emilia-Romagna Map

    emilia-romagna map



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    10 reasons to visit Emilia Romagna


    About Me

    Travel addict and passionate about photography, Simon Falvo started Wild About Travel back in 2009. Leveraging her strong PR background, she developed an extensive knowledge of Digital Communications and Content Creation. Besides travel writing Simon holds workshops and trainings, she collaborated with tourism boards for digital marketing campaigns and participated as a speaker at several events.

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