Bridge of Tiberius (Ponte di Tibero) In Rimini. Where you can still see of the original road of Via Emilia.
Construction of the bridge began during Agustus’ reign and was finished in 20 AD under his successor Tiberius
Rent a car and take off on an adventure!
The best way to explore Emilia Romagna is to take a road trip along the Via Emilia.
I am starting off in Emilia Romagna because it’s where I’ve spent the most time. A region rich in history, culture, beautiful scenery, and world-class food, it is a place that EVERYONE should visit! Emilia Romagna boasts 13 different UNESCO world heritage sites which include the towns of Ferrara, Modena, and Ravenna. There are medieval castles, vineyards, artisan cheese producers, balsamic vinegar cantinas, Roman bridges and roads like the Via Emilia.
Beautiful countryside of Emilia Romagna between Sassuolo and Modena.
Why Via Emilia?
Because the Romans knew what they were doing. The road first underwent construction in 187 BC and has proven to be a testament to Roman craftsmanship; Considered one of the most beautiful roads in the world, the Via Emilia spans the region of Emilia Romagna from west to east beginning in Piacenza and ending in Riccione. Click here to see a map.
A road trip along the Via Emilia is the best way to explore the enchanting region of Emilia Romagna because it is simply the best way to enjoy everything that Emilia Romagna has to offer. The 260-kilometer road has dozens of smaller roads all leading to charming towns; from Ravenna to the medieval village of Bobbio, there is something for everyone. Even though, the trains connect the major Italian cities, I recommend opting for a car on this part of your Italian vacation because many small towns are unreachable by train. Cars also allow you to personalize your adventure and explore off the beaten path into the beautiful Italian countryside. In Emilia Romagnia, you never know when you might stumble across a local cheese maker or a centuries-old prosciutto business offering samples of the best Prosciutto di Parma you’ve ever had.
Ponte Gobbo (the humpback bridge) in the small medieval town of Bobbio
Let’s get serious and talk about the FOOD
I don’t want to give the impression that Emilia Romagna is only about the food; you will discover there is culture and beauty everywhere. But, with that being said, the food is so unbelievable!
For any foodie out there planning a trip to Italy, carving out time to visit Emilia should be on your shortlist. “Emiliani” (those from the region) are the inventors of Parmigiano Reggiano, prosciutto di Parma, lasagne, tortellini, balsamic vinegar, gnocco fritto, Piadine, lambrusco, barbera and sangiovese wines. Emilia Romagna has the #1 restaurant in the world, Osteria Francescana (Lets hear it for MODENA!) and 22 other Michelin star restaurants. All these thing as possible because of the balance of specialized agriculture, tepid weather, and northern cultural influences provides a unique profile to the dishes of the region, which highlights the importance of home-made, hearty meals. Basically, it’s comfort food for Italians.
Hopefully all this talk about the deliciousness of Emilia’s food has you packing your bags. It certainly has made me hungry and homesick. Tonight, I’m making Lasagne! (Click here for my lasagne recipe) if you feel inspired.
A trip to Mercato Albinelli in Modena is a MUST! This place deserves its own blog post!
How do I get started?
Planning a road trip through Emilia Romagna can be a bit overwhelming because there is just so much to see and do. I’ve outlined some points to get you started.
- First, I would go to the official Emilia Romagna tourism website. This is an invaluable resource! The website features a Via Emilia road trip itinerary and an interactive map of Via Emilia where you can click on different points along the way. There are also a bunch of other itineraries for any interest you may have. My favorite is the 48 hour Itinerary dedicated to tortellini! Click here to see the Via Emilia road trip itinerary.
- Figure out how much time you want to spend
- Divide you time between culture and food+Wine
- Depending on the amount of time you have to spend on this part of your trip and where you plan to visit, I suggest to stay in one or 2 places and use them as a home base. There are lovely Agriturismi (BNBs), hotels of every comfort level, and AIRBNB is great in Italy. My preference is to stay in a little boutique BNB in the lush countryside or rent a house somewhere in the middle.
- If possible try and see these towns… Bologna, Parma, Modena, Ferrara, and Ravenna. Hopefully you can fit them all in.
- Check back in to the Blog. Over the next few weeks I will be featuring information about where to eat, visit and what to see in each of these towns.
Stay tuned for more detailed posts on how to explore Emilia Romagna.
I hope this is enough to get you dreaming of a trip to Italy. Keep a look out for more info in the coming days and as always, if you have any questions or want to share a story of your trip through Emilia, leave a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!
Have a great day!