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Travel to Italy is always a feast for the senses—especially the taste buds—and the Emilia-Romagna region is no exception. This gorgeous part of Northeast Italy is known as the birthplace of longstanding culinary staples such as bologna (its capital city is Bologna) and parmesan (though the versions here are unrecognizable from the crude supermarket imitations your kids love). But look beyond the food and there’s plenty more to discover in Emilia-Romagna, from the area’s amazing art and culture to its history, which encompasses Etruscan, Gaul and Roman influences.

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Get to know Ducati, Maserati and Lamborghini

Not only is Bologna the capital, it’s also home to such luxury car brands as Ducati, Maserati and Lamborghini—all of which offer factory tours. Clearly, this is a city that prides itself in quality and its Piazza Maggiore is historic evidence of that. In fact, its 16th-century Neptune Fountain inspired Maserati’s iconic Trident logo. In addition, while in Bologna, take a stroll through its Old Market to indulge in its many epicurean delicacies, also of incredible quality.

A block of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (Parmesan) at a market stall

Sample Parmigiano-Reggiano, not parmesan

Producing the King of Cheeses is serious business—that is, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. This region’s globally renowned sharp and savory cheese is a commodity which receives loving care throughout every stage of the production process. At 4 Madonne, you can experience the entire process for yourself (as well as viewing a massive collection of Parmigiano-Reggiano undergoing its maturation process). Of course, you can also sample and purchase some of the wonderful cheese at the end of your tour.


Have yourself a buona notte

With all of the walking, shopping and food, you’ll need a place to call home for a good night’s sleep. In Bologna, pick from charming historic hotels such as the Art Commercianti Hotel, housed in an 11th-century building, or choose from sleek, ultramodern properties such the Hotel Novecento. The latter’s central location, sumptuously appointed guest rooms, luxury bedding and high-end bath amenities make it an ideal place to fully reboot.

Aerial cityscape view from the tower on Bologna old town center with Maggiore square in Italy

And Mortadella, not baloney

So, the stuff in your grocer’s deli aisle may say bologna (and inexplicably be pronounced baloney) but you’ll find no sign of it in Bologna. In fact, what most Americans know as “baloney” is a poor facsimile of Bologna’s Mortadella. While in Bologna, experience real Mortadella at Salumeria Simoni where they produce their own flavorful Mortadella.

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Eat your heart out every night

There are plenty of wonderful restaurants in this capital of gastronomy, from avant-garde to steadfastly traditional. However, A Balùs is a unique Bolognese restaurant which specializes in eclectic dishes that entice both meat eaters and vegetarians alike. All of A Balùs’ offerings are amazing, especially its eye-catching desserts.

Have a thrilling culinary adventure at a theme park for food 

For the most part, you’ll notice the meals you enjoy while in Emilia-Romagna are locally sourced. That’s certainly the case at FICO Eataly World, a massive culinary mecca that celebrates Italian food culture. As the largest agri-food park in the world, you’ll be able to enjoy a wonderful farm experience while learning about biodiversity and Italian cuisine. Of course, you’ll also have the ability to sample (and purchase) all sorts of wonderful products that make regional menus so magnificent.

Dark blue Ceiling Mosaic of the galla placidia mausoleum. Built between 425 and 433, this small mausoleum adopted a cruciform plan, in Ravenna, Italy on November 4, 2012

See what Cole Porter saw in this charming town

Even though Ravenna attracts many visitors for its proximity to the Adriatic Sea, it’s also a place that is known for its love of art, notably the “Tetris” iconography evident in some of its architecture. But the pièce de résistance that attracts people to Ravenna happens to be its Mausoleum of Galla Placidia with its intricate mosaic tile work. It certainly seemed to have an effect on composer Cole Porter whose famed “Night and Day” was reportedly inspired by it. In fact, the mausoleum is so impressive, the UN declared it a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. And for those who want to experience thrills, Ravenna is also home to the ever-popular Mirabilandia amusement park.

Rimini Beach during summer

Soak up some sun seaside

A carefree beachside lifestyle can be found in Rimini. This recreational gem of Italy located on the Adriatic Sea boasts an ideal climate for sunbathers and beachgoers. While in Rimini, visit its Arch of Augustus, which was dedicated in 27 B.C.—once you cross its threshold, you’ll find a number of historical buildings along with wonderful shops, bars and restaurants along its narrow streets.

Follow in the footsteps of Federico Fellini

Cinephiles visiting Rimini will be happy to know that this city is the birthplace of award-winning filmmaker Federico  Fellini. And while you can trace parts of his life where he grew up and worked, you can do the same with Tonino Guerra who collaborated with Mr. Fellini and others as a screenwriter for many notable films. While visiting the quaint hillside town of Santarcangelo di Romagna, visit Museo Tonino, a museum highlighting his works not only as a screenwriter but also as an artist and sculptor. This shrine is filled with many of Mr. Guerra’s achievements, including his Golden Globe award!

Spend the night in a national monument

Luxury hotels that withstand the test of time can be hard to find in some cities, but definitely not in Rimini. The Grand Hotel Rimini is a 5-star gem built in 1908 that also happens to be a designated national monument. You may also be interested to know that this hotel appeared in several of Federico Fellini’s films, notably Amarcord. This property boasts its own private beach, thoughtfully appointed guest rooms and suites, a spa and a dining experience that is the talk of the town!

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Tagged: Europe, Italy

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Jason Gordon

Jason Gordon

Jason is executive producer of the multiple award-winning luxury travel series andiamo! UPTOWN (@andiamotv), which airs throughout the U.S. every week on Magic Johnson's Aspire channel.

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