Five reasons to visit Emilia-Romagna

While I wait for the restoration of Internet connectivity at my place after returning from Italy, I’m forced to leave all my awesome videos (like this one of the view from the clock tower in Brisighella or this other one of a horse-drawn carriage ride in a nature reserve in Savio) of Emilia-Romagna on my computer, lest I jam up the connection for everyone else in this cafe with large uploads.

I don’t want to be that guy.

Anyway, I’ve been reminiscing about all the great moments I had in Emilia-Romagna as a part of BlogVille. There are so many reasons to visit this beautiful region in Italy; here are my top five.

1. Food

A huge majority of Italy’s most delicious exports originate from Emilia-Romagna. There’s Modena’s balsamic vinegar, the great cheeses of Parma, prosciutto, lasagne, ravioli, tagliatelle al ragù (oddio!), Sangiovese wine and the amazing piadina. Along the coast, fresh seafood is in abundance, often served as a mixed platter of fried goodness. In short, it’s impossible not to get a little grasso here.

That’s Italian for “fat.”

Tagliatelle al ragù at Trattoria Renzi

Seafood platter at l'Amarissimo in Lido di Savio

Piadina at La casina del bosco

2. Fairy Tale Towns

It only takes a short train or bus ride to get from one idyllic town to the next. Many cities, like Pennabilli, Brisighella or Santarcangelo di Romagna offer panoramic views from their highest points. Others, like Verucchio, feature amazing castles that seem to come straight out of fairy tales.

Streets of Santarcangelo di Romagna

Small town in Romagna

Cannon at the Rocca Malatestiana di Verucchio

3. Street Fairs

I was fortunate enough to experience three large town festivals during my two weeks in Emilia-Romagna: Pennabilli’s Artisti in Piazza, the Palio di Ferrara and La Notte Celeste in Bagno di Romagna. During the latter, we met the president of the tourism board of Emilia-Romagna, were interviewed by the Italian press (I responded in Italian, guys!) and were invited on stage in front of the entire town to say hello.

Needless to say, that was one of the greatest experiences of my trip; a huge honor.

Palio di Ferrara Parade

La Notte Celeste in Bagno di Romagna

4. Unbelievable Cultural Attractions

While pretty much all of Italy is a hotbed for culture, Emilia-Romagna offers its own unique offerings. It was in Savignano sul Rubicone where Caesar “crossed the Rubicon,” Ravenna served as the capital of the Western Roman Empire before its decline, and the famous Gothic Line of World War II passed straight through Rimini where a great battle was fought between the Allied and Axis forces.

A favorite of mine was the Basilica di San Vitale in Ravenna. The mosaics were simply breathtaking. Even compared to all the churches I saw in Rome, this one really stood out.

The Basilica di San Vitale in Ravenna

The Basilica di San Vitale in Ravenna

5. The Great Outdoors

I have to admit that nature and active life weren’t high on my list of things to do in Italy, however Emilia-Romagna really offers something for everybody, whether it’s hiking through the Apennines or biking down the official Ferrari race track. My favorite outdoor activity, however, was the grueling task of enjoying a Spritz on the warm Rimini beach.

La dolce vita davvero.

Making a frog or toad (whatever) friend in the Apennines

The Enzo e Dino Ferrari Racetrack in Imola

A Peroni and Spritz on the Rimini Beach