In this blog post, we’ll cover all the must-do activities in Emilia-Romagna, even some hidden gems and Instagram-worthy spots.
Let’s get started.
Immerse Yourself in the Cultural Heritage
Venture into the splendid city of Bologna and explore its historic center, where you’ll find a wealth of architectural and cultural landmarks that showcase the city’s rich history. You will find wonders like the iconic Two Towers and Piazza Maggiore.
Wander through the medieval town of Ferrara, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and admire its impressive Renaissance architecture, including the impressive Castello Estense and the beautiful Palazzo dei Diamanti.
Experience the timeless charm of Ravenna, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, known for its exquisite Byzantine mosaics.
Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Basilica di San Vitale and the Mausoleo di Galla Placidia, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The combined ticket for the main sites costs €9.50, granting access to the Basilica of San Vitale, Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, and more.
Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna
Marvel at the masterpieces housed in the Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna, which houses an extensive collection of Italian Renaissance paintings, as well as other masterpieces from various artistic periods.
This prestigious art gallery showcases works from the 13th to the 18th centuries. Admission is €6 for adults, while visitors under 18 and over 65 enjoy free entry.
Explore the Galleria Estense in Modena, home to a remarkable collection of art, including paintings, sculptures, musical instruments and decorative arts from the Este family’s private collection.
Entrance fees are €4 for adults and €2 for those aged 18-25, while visitors under 18 can enter for free.
Museo della Città
Visit the Museo della Città in Rimini, an intriguing museum that delves into the city’s rich cultural heritage.
This museum showcases the city’s history through fascinating exhibits, including ancient Roman artifacts, medieval art, and contemporary installations.
Tickets cost €7 for adults and €5 for students, with free admission for children under 14.
Delight Your Palate with Gastronomic Delights
Indulge in authentic Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese in Parma, the birthplace of this world-renowned delicacy. Visit local cheese factories for a guided tour and tasting experience.
Traditional Balsamic Vinegar
Experience the unique flavors of traditional balsamic vinegar in Modena, where it has been produced for centuries. Join a guided tour of a balsamic vinegar factory.
Prosciutto di Parma
Relish the renowned Prosciutto di Parma, a mouthwatering cured ham. Take a guided tour of a prosciutto factory to learn about its production process and enjoy tastings.
Embark on a food tour in Bologna and discover the iconic pasta dishes of the region, such as tagliatelle al ragù, tortellini, and lasagna, which showcase the rich flavors and culinary heritage of Emilia-Romagna.
Embark on a wine-tasting tour in the beautiful countryside of Emilia-Romagna, sampling local wines like Lambrusco, Sangiovese, and Albana, while enjoying the stunning landscapes and picturesque vineyards.
Restaurant recommendations in Emilia-Romagna
Osteria Francescana (Modena) – This three-Michelin-starred restaurant, helmed by Chef Massimo Bottura, is consistently ranked among the world’s best restaurants. It offers a modern take on traditional Italian cuisine with innovative dishes and exceptional service.
Trattoria La Buca (Zibello) – Located in the heart of Parma’s countryside, this family-run trattoria is well-known for its homemade pasta dishes and its signature dish, Culatello di Zibello, a prized local cured ham.
All’Osteria Bottega (Bologna) – This intimate osteria in Bologna is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. The menu features classic Bolognese dishes made from fresh, high-quality ingredients, with an emphasis on traditional recipes and techniques.
Ca’ de Ven (Ravenna) – Housed in a 15th-century building, Ca’ de Ven offers a unique dining experience that combines local cuisine with an extensive selection of regional wines. The rustic atmosphere and warm hospitality make it a popular choice for both tourists and residents.
Ristorante Il Cardello (Cesena) – Set in a beautifully restored historic building, Il Cardello serves contemporary Italian cuisine with a focus on regional flavors and seasonal ingredients. The elegant setting and attentive service make it an ideal choice for a special occasion or romantic dinner.
Antica Corte Pallavicina (Polesine Parmense) – This Michelin-starred restaurant is part of a charming estate near Parma, offering refined dishes inspired by local traditions. Guests can also visit the property’s famous culatello aging cellar and enjoy a guided tasting of their renowned cured meats.
Remember to check the opening hours and reservation policies of each restaurant before planning your visit, as they may vary depending on the season and local regulations.
Dive into Natural Beauty
Relax On The Beach
Relax on the sandy beaches of Rimini and enjoy the vibrant beach culture, complete with lively beach clubs, seaside promenades, and various water sports activities.
Access to most beach areas is free, but renting sun loungers and umbrellas may cost around €10 to €20 per day, depending on the season.
Explore the charming fishing village of Cervia, where you can stroll along its picturesque harbor, where you can admire the colorful boats and indulge in fresh seafood at local restaurants.
Po Delta Regional Park
Discover the hidden gems of the Po Delta Regional Park, a unique ecosystem boasting a rich biodiversity of flora and fauna, ideal for birdwatching, cycling, and boating.
Entrance to the park is free, while guided tours or boat trips may range from €10 to €30 per person.
Explore the rolling hills of the Emilia-Romagna countryside and its vineyards, where you can sample local wines and learn about the region’s winemaking traditions.
Experience the beauty of the Apennine Mountains, an ideal destination for hiking or biking enthusiasts, taking in breathtaking views and encountering diverse wildlife along the way. Trails are generally free to access, while guided tours or bike rentals can vary in price depending on the provider and duration.
Cascate del Dardagna
Visit the stunning Cascate del Dardagna waterfalls for a refreshing adventure, where you can marvel at the cascading waters, enjoy a picnic, and take a dip in the natural pools. Be prepared for a moderate hike to fully appreciate their splendor.
Engage in Enriching Experiences
Experience the exhilarating atmosphere of the Mille Miglia vintage car race in Bologna, where you can admire classic cars and enjoy the festive ambiance along the race route. This event is held annually in May.
Watching the race is free, but attending exclusive events or parties may require purchased tickets.
International Balloon Festival
Join the International Balloon Festival in Ferrara, usually held in September, and witness a sky full of colorful hot air balloons, creating a magical spectacle for visitors of all ages.
The event is free to attend, but booking a hot air balloon ride will cost around €200 per person.
Festival del Prosciutto di Parma
Participate in the Festival del Prosciutto di Parma, held every September, and celebrate celebrate the local culinary heritage with tastings, live music, workshops, and cooking demonstrations.
Discover the art of Italian filmmaking with a guided tour of the famous Cinecittà Studios in Rome, exploring iconic film sets and learning about the history of Italian cinema.
Take a cooking class in Bologna and learn the secrets of traditional Emilian cuisine, mastering the art of making pasta, ragù, and other regional specialties.
Traditional Ceramics Workshop
Engage in a hands-on experience at a traditional ceramics workshop in Faenza, where you can create your own pottery pieces under expert guidance and learn about the rich history of ceramic art in the region.
Workshops can range from €30 to €80 per person, depending on the length and materials provided.
Uncover Historic Sites
Basilica di San Vitale
Visit the Basilica di San Vitale in Ravenna, renowned for its stunning Byzantine mosaics. This UNESCO World Heritage Site features exquisite artwork that has captivated visitors for centuries and showcases the city’s significant role in early Christian art.
Discover the archaeological site of the Etruscan Necropolis in Marzabotto, providing insights into ancient civilizations. Wander through the ruins and learn about the Etruscan people, their culture, and the significance of their burial practices.
Take a guided tour of the impressive Ducal Palace in Modena, a magnificent example of Renaissance architecture.
The palace, once the residence of the Este family, now houses various museums and galleries, allowing visitors to delve into the region’s artistic and cultural heritage.
Wander through the historic town of Cesena and explore its well-preserved Malatestiana Library, one of the oldest public libraries in Europe.
Marvel at the library’s collection of ancient manuscripts, stunning frescoes, and unique architecture, which has remained unchanged since the 15th century.
Festa di San Geminiano
Attend the Festa di San Geminiano in Modena, a lively celebration honoring the patron saint of the city. Held annually in late January, this event features religious processions, market stalls, and various cultural activities that showcase the city’s rich heritage.
Palio di Ferrara
Join the Palio di Ferrara, a thrilling horse race held in the historic center of Ferrara. This exciting event takes place every May and is accompanied by medieval-themed parades, flag-throwing performances, and other entertaining activities that transport you back in time.
Experience the vibrant Notte Rosa (Pink Night) festival in Rimini, held each summer. This 24-hour beach party features music, fireworks, and entertainment along the coast, drawing crowds from all over Italy and beyond to celebrate life, love, and summer on the Adriatic Riviera.
Celebrate the famous Tortellini Festival in Castelfranco Emilia, where you can indulge in various delicious tortellini dishes. Taking place annually in September, this gastronomic event showcases the region’s culinary heritage and allows visitors to sample some of the best homemade tortellini in Italy.
Participate in the Grape Festival (Sagra dell’Uva) in Dozza, a charming event held in September that celebrates the region’s winemaking heritage. Enjoy wine tasting, traditional music, and grape stomping as you immerse yourself in the festive atmosphere and appreciate the beauty of this picturesque village.
Explore Charming Villages
Visit the picturesque village of Brisighella, known for its medieval architecture and olive oil production. Wander through its charming streets, visit the ancient fortress, and learn about the region’s famous extra virgin olive oil at local mills.
Explore the enchanting town of Bobbio, nestled in the Trebbia Valley. Famous for its medieval bridge and abbey, Bobbio offers a delightful mix of history, natural beauty, and tranquil atmosphere that attracts visitors seeking a peaceful retreat.
Discover the colorful village of Comacchio, characterized by its charming canals and historic buildings. Often referred to as “Little Venice,” this quaint village is perfect for leisurely strolls along its waterways and exploring its rich architectural heritage.
Wander through the medieval village of Dozza, renowned for its vibrant murals adorning the buildings. This unique open-air gallery showcases the works of both local and international artists, turning the village into a living canvas that celebrates art and creativity.
Explore the hilltop town of San Leo, home to a majestic fortress offering panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. The town’s rich history, beautiful architecture, and stunning vistas make it a must-visit destination for travelers seeking an authentic Italian experience.
Emilia-Romagna is a captivating region that offers a wealth of experiences for travelers to enjoy.
From its stunning natural landscapes and historic sites to its vibrant festivals and enriching activities, there’s something for everyone to discover in this charming corner of Italy.
Whether you’re indulging in the region’s culinary delights, uncovering ancient history, or immersing yourself in local culture, Emilia-Romagna promises an unforgettable adventure.
So pack your bags, brush up on your Italian, and get ready to explore the wonders of Emilia-Romagna – a true gem of Italy that awaits your visit. Buon viaggio!
What is the best time of year to visit Emilia-Romagna?
The best time to visit Emilia-Romagna is during spring (April-May) and fall (September-October), when the weather is pleasant, and tourist crowds are smaller.
How do I get to Emilia-Romagna from major cities in Italy?
Emilia-Romagna is well-connected by train, bus, and car from major Italian cities like Rome, Milan, Florence, and Venice. Bologna, the region’s capital, serves as a central transportation hub.
Are there any vegetarian or vegan-friendly restaurants in the region?
Yes, Emilia-Romagna has a growing number of vegetarian and vegan-friendly restaurants, especially in larger cities like Bologna and Modena.
What are some lesser-known attractions in Emilia-Romagna?
Some lesser-known attractions include the medieval town of Brisighella, the Castle of Torrechiara, and the Labirinto della Masone, a maze made of bamboo plants.
Can I visit a Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese factory and see the production process?
Yes, many cheese factories in the region offer guided tours for visitors to learn about the production process and enjoy cheese tastings.
Are there any guided tours available to explore the historical sites?
Guided tours are available for many historical sites and attractions, including walking tours, bike tours, and specialized themed tours.
What are the top wine regions in Emilia-Romagna?
Top wine regions in Emilia-Romagna include Piacenza, Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, and Bologna, known for producing wines like Lambrusco, Sangiovese, and Albana.
Are there any local festivals or events happening during my visit?
Check local tourism websites or ask your accommodation provider for information on festivals and events happening during your visit.
Can I rent a bike to explore the countryside?
Yes, many towns and cities in Emilia-Romagna offer bike rental services, allowing visitors to explore the picturesque countryside at their own pace.
Are there any spa or wellness resorts in Emilia-Romagna?
Emilia-Romagna is home to several spa and wellness resorts, particularly in the areas around Salsomaggiore Terme, Castrocaro Terme, and Riolo Terme.
Are there any UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the region?
Yes, Emilia-Romagna has several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the mosaics of Ravenna, the Cathedral of Modena, and the historic center of Ferrara.
Can I take a day trip to neighboring regions from Emilia-Romagna?
Emilia-Romagna’s central location makes it easy to take day trips to neighboring regions like Tuscany, Lombardy, and Veneto.
What are some traditional dishes or local specialties I must try?
Traditional dishes in Emilia-Romagna include tagliatelle al ragù, tortellini, lasagna, piadina, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
Are there any family-friendly activities or attractions in Emilia-Romagna?
Family-friendly activities in the region include visiting theme parks like Mirabilandia, exploring nature reserves like Po Delta Regional Park, and attending kid-friendly festivals and events.
What are the best shopping destinations in the region?
The best shopping destinations in Emilia-Romagna include the Quadrilatero area in Bologna, the designer outlets near Parma and Modena, and local markets in various towns and cities throughout the region.