From Tortellini to Ferrari: Emilia Romagna offers it all!
Dear readers, after talking about Venice and the Veneto region, today we want to dedicate this blog to another Italian region whose excellent qualities have made Italy famous throughout the world.
If we talk about Ferrari, what part of Italy comes to mind? You haven’t guessed yet? Then we’ll give you two more clues: Parmiggiano Reggiano and Prosciutto di Parma. Guessed right now? That’s right, today we will travel through the beautiful Emilia Romagna.
If you would like to visit this region, know that the main airport is the “Guglielmo Marconi” in Bologna, the capital of Emilia Romagna. Coming from the US, there are no direct flights, but you will have to stop over at one of the main European airports: Rome, Paris, London, Franfurt or Madrid. Maybe it could be an excuse to stop a few days in Rome?!
Bologna is the nucleus, the core from where you can explore all the things you love about Italy: vineyards, castles, leaning towers, Italian food, hilltop villages, beaches, historic cities…
Bologna, the capital, is the seventh most populated city in Italy and boasts a history dating back to the Etruscan period, in 534 a.c. The city became important in the Roman period with the name of Bononia and then established itself as a free city during the Middle Ages. From this last period, in fact, 22 medieval towers remain (originally there were 100) for which Bologna is famous. You know that the city of Bologna has a nickname formed by three adjectives: “la Dotta, la Grassa e la Rossa” (the Learned, the Fat and the Red) La Dotta, because it is the city with the oldest University in the world. La Grassa, due to the large number of traditional recipes. La Rossa, for the color of the red bricks with which it was built.
If you are in Bologna, book a private city tour to discover all its beauties and have your first contact with the local people and its traditions. Nobody, better than a local guide, will know how to make you fall in love with this beautiful city.
Visiting the Emilia Romagna region in Italy is definitely not about the city of Bologna only.
Ferrara: heart of the Italian Renaissance.
With surrounding medieval walls and network of 15th and 16th-century architecture, the city of Ferrara is often called the Heart of the Italian Renaissance. The impressive Castello Estense that defends the city’s historic center is a popular attraction, as are the many Renaissance palaces.
Modena: the hometown of the late and great tenor Luciano Pavarotti.
It’s one of the Emilia-Romagna region’s great gastronomic cities, producer of balsamic vinegar. Beside that Modena hosts the most attractive churches in Italy located in Piazza Grande, boasting a number of fascinating medieval features. Cathedral of Modena is considered a “masterpiece of human creative genius”.
Parma: city of ham.
Is one of the largest cities in the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy and is particularly famous for its prosciutto di Parma and Parmiggiano cheese. From the beautiful Parma Cathedral and the magnificent Teatro Regio, to the interesting Museo Glauco Lombardi and the Galleria Nazionale di Parma, there is something to suit everyone’s tastes and interests! Parma hosts amazing restaurants and cafes that serve its world-renowned foods. If you are a castle lover, Parma and its surrounding will surprise you!
Ravenna: city of mosaics
In Italy is justly known as the City of Mosaics, for several of its religious buildings are decorated with colorful-ornate mosaic panels which are so detailed and bright. Ravenna is lovely, pretty, quintessentially Italian, and a wonderful place to stroll and explore. Don’t leave Ravenna without have tried the “piadina romagnola”.
In this article, however, we will not focus so much on the cities of art and their beauty, but will dedicate it to the excellence of these regions that are famous all over the world.
The fields in which this region excels are three: automotive, food, wine.
Let’s start with the automotive. What other place in the world can boast the belonging of four such famous brands: Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini, Ducati …
If you are a motor lover, in Emilia Romagna you can satisfy your passions and live unforgettable moments in the Italian Motor Valley. Here the motor experiences you can not miss:
Lamborghini Museum. It is divided into two sections: the first is dedicated to an exhibition of models, from historical ones to the more recent ones; the second one is dedicated to themed exhibitions, a space that is rearranged according to the scheduled exhibitions. The Museum also offers, upon reservation, the opportunity to visit the assembly lines of the cars currently in production, a way to breathe in first hand the passion with which they build the Italian super sports car, among the most desired of all time. We also suggest to not miss the special section dedicated to the Lamborghini driving experience, with a brand new driving simulator in which you can enter the role of a real driver and try one of the super sports Lamborghini cars in various challenges and on some of the most famous race circuits.
Ferrari Museum in Maranello lets you experience the dream of the “Prancing Horse”: a unique and engaging journey through the cars that have made the history of motor racing on roads all over the world. At the Ferrari Museum it is possible to board semi-professional Formula 1 simulators and experience the driving sensations usually reserved for professional drivers.
Among the various activities, we suggest two semi-professional driving simulators available to all those who want to experience the thrill of driving a Ferrari Formula 1 single-seater. The museum also offers its visitors the opportunity to take an exclusive panoramic tour by shuttle inside the Ferrari factory.
Now let’s leave the world of cars to enter the world of food and wine. Long known as the home of home made pasta, parmesan cheese, prosciutto, and traditional aged balsamic vinegar, Emilia-Romagna is considered the home of Italy’s best food.
The region of Pasta
Emilia-Romagna is a pasta paradise. Connoisseurs believe that the fresh pasta dough from Emilia-Romagna is smoother and more elastic than in any other region. In particular, the town of Bologna is known to be the capital of filled pasta. Classic tortellini, filled with cheese or meat, can be found in all the provinces of Emilia-Romagna. The shape is supposed to symbolize the navel of Venus. There is also a variant of tortellini, the Cappellacci, which are typically filled with pumpkin or pumpkin with potatoes. In the mountains of Romagna the tortellini may be filled with chestnuts. Bologna is also famous for pasta dishes like Lasagne or Tagliatelle seasoned with the internationally renowned meat sauce called Ragu’ alla Bolognese. And what about spaghetti Bolognese? Forget it! Spaghetti Bolognese is not an Italian dish. It was simply a modified version of what Italians, and especially the inhabitants of Bologna, actually eat. We highly recommend a cooking class in this region, to experience a deeply truly authentic homemade pasta lesson!
The King of Cheese
Parmesan cheese could easily be described as the flavor or Emilia-Romagna, as there is almost no dish that does not call for at least a spoonful of it. Parmigiano-Reggiano is one of the specialties In Emilia Romagna Region. In Europe, it is a protected product with clear guidelines about its origin, ingredients, and how it is made. As Champagne is to France, Parmigiano-Reggiano is to Italy. The Emilia region is literally the home of the King of Cheeses. This cheese can age anywhere from twelve months to three years. It’s healthy, it’s delicious, but it’s also expensive as everything requires so much time and care to be made. Parmigiano Reggiano cheese can only be produced in this part of Italy due the climate conditions. If you have ever wondered how it’s made, we highly recommend a visit to a Parmigiano factory!
Prosciutto di Parma
The producers are only located around Parma, where the mountain air is sweet, dry and aromatic. Perhaps nothing is more emblematic of Parma than its ham, better known as prosciutto di Parma. Famed for its delicate and sweet flavor, sliced paper thin, and aged a minimum of 400 days, it is produced from the hind legs of specially bred pigs in the countryside just outside of the city. Although many people are learning how to make prosciutto on their own, including chefs, Prosciutto di Parma still sets the standard. In Parma, making prosciutto ham is part of an age-old tradition passed on from generation to generation and the methods used thousands of years ago have remained consistent. Delicious on its own, prosciutto is perfect in its simplicity or paired with fresh cheese, like buffalo mozzarella. Whether you decide to pair with something or enjoy it by itself, Prosciutto is always the right choice. We highly recommend a visit to a Prosciutto factory!
Emilia Romagna is certainly famous for its food and drink tradition, but its winemaking culture is fascinating as well, even if not of noble origins. Lambrusco is, without doubt, Emilia Romagna’s most famous wine. It is a red wine whose primary characteristics are sparkle, lightness, and low alcohol content (about 11 percent). Since of poor and peasant origins, Lambrusco is typically served with the local cuisine as hand-made pasta or pork recipes. Another wine for which the region is very famous is the Sangiovese di Romagna, a red wine produced in the east part of Emilia Romagna. The Sangiovese grape from Emilia-Romagna produces wine that matures more quickly and possesses a richer fragrance than Tuscan Sangiovese. This wine is ideal with red meats and aged cheeses as Parmigiano Reggiano. Discover more about Lambrusco and Sangiovese di Romagna having a tour through Emilian’s wineries.
The last, but not least, is the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, a very dark, concentrated, and intensely flavoured vinegar, made wholly or partially from grape must. It is one of the most amazing gourmet goodies a foodie traveler could discover. Only two consortia produce the traditional balsamic vinegar, Modena and Reggio Emilia. The traditional balsamic vinegar of Modena (or of Reggio Emilia) is made from a reduction of pressed Trebbiano and Lambrusco grapes. The resulting thick syrup, called mosto cotto (cooked must), is aged for a minimum of 12 years in barrels. Visit a Balsamic Vinegar factory or “Acetaia” to learn more about traditional balsamic vinegar. It will be a fascinating and tasty experience!
I hope that you enjoyed this insight into the Emilia Romagna region and that you are inspired to learn more or see for yourself! If you enjoyed this blog post, share it with a friend and if you are interested in learning more about travelling to this region or any other region in Italy, please contact us for more information.
Stay tuned for more blogs about other regions in Italy and be sure to click the link below for an example of tours we offer in the Emilia Romagna region.