10 Places to Visit in Emilia Romagna

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Martí Micolau

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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Italy is rich in beauty, you know. But Emilia Romagna collects some wonderful ones. In these parts you can easily pass by learned Bologna, at most playful and charming Ravenna. Everything in this region seems to recall a past charm, not yet lost. Our ranking on 10 places to visit in Emilia-Romagna shows you some of the most interesting places to discover.


  1. Bologna
  2. Ferrara
  3. Modena and Maranello
  4. Rimini and the Romagna Riviera
  5. Parma and the castles of the Grand Duchy
  6. Romagna hinterland: San Leo, Santarcangelo, Verrucchio, Montegridolfo
  7. Ravenna and Mirabilandia
  8. Salina of Cervia
  9. Piacenza and the Rivalta Castle
  10. Republic of San Marino
  11. User questions and comments

1 - Bologna

That Bologna is a wonderful city we don't have to remember it. Ideal for a cultural weekend, this city is known for being the seat of one of the oldest universities in Italy. In Bologna, good food is a constant and the nightlife has nothing to envy to the great European cities.

A must see there Tower of the Asinelli, for which advance purchase of the entrance ticket is recommended, Piazza Maggiore, the fountain of Neptune e the Basilica of San Petronio. To make sure you don't miss any of the Bolognese musts, we recommend this interesting walking tour of the center.

2 - Ferrara

Ferrara is located about 50 kilometers north-north-east of Bologna. It is a medieval city, once completely walled up today one of the less celebrated Italian pearls. It has a very strong historical character, thanks to the presence of beautiful architectures such as the Palazzo dei Diamanti, the Villa Boccaccini and above all the Estense Castle, a true symbol of the city.

If you want to enjoy the city center in all its splendor, visit it on foot, even better if accompanied by an expert guide, who will point out unique details and tell you secrets and curiosities.

3 - Modena and Maranello

Modena undoubtedly deserves the presence in the list of places to see in Emilia-Romagna.
It is a beautiful city where art and culture come together, thanks to the presence of numerous magnificent architecture and noteworthy museums.
First of all, let's talk about the Cathedral and the Ghirlandina Bell Tower which stands on Piazza Grande, obviously Unesco Heritage, but we are also talking about museums such as the Estense Gallery, the Civic Museum of Art, the Museum of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy and the Museum of Figurines.

Finally, for all lovers of 4 wheels, we recommend a visit to the nearby Enzo Ferrari Museum.
The myth of the Cavallino is transversal, spanning eras and generations. In Maranello you will discover the charm of a timeless icon, admiring the Monument to the Prancing Horse, the trophies of a thousand battles and some spectacular vintage cars.
If you have little time at your disposal, you can book in advance a 1-day gastronomic tour between Modena and the Ferrari museum departing from Bologna, during which you will taste some delicious typical specialties.

4 - Rimini and the Romagna Riviera

Rimini is too often underestimated. It offers much more than beaches and nightlife, just think of the many attractions of historical interest such as the Arch of Augustus, the Tiberius Bridge, the Domus del Chirurgo and the Malatesta Temple.

But that is not all, it is also a family-friendly city, thanks to places like the colorful Borgo San Giuliano (with its murals dedicated to the genius of Fellini) and above all the theme park Italia in Miniatura, where you can admire over 270 italian monuments reproduced to scale. To save time, we recommend purchasing the entrance ticket online.

Obviously Rimini it is known for being the epicenter of the Romagna Riviera, as well as the hub of social life in the entire region. From June to September, nightclubs and bohemian life go crazy. For a summer holiday by the sea, the top destinations of the Riviera are Rimini, Milano Marittima, Cesenatico, Cattolica and especially Riccione, in the latter there is the well-known Oltremare park (buy the entrance ticket online).

5 - Parma and the castles of the Grand Duchy

Among the most beautiful monuments of Parma there are certainly the Baptistery, the Certosa, the Palazzo Ducale and the Teatro Regio. These are just some of the attractions in Parma, authentic pearls for a city that has a lot to offer.
But beyond the city center, it is equally important to explore the surroundings, or the territories once belonging to the Duchy of Parma, where you will discover the castles of Bardi and Torrechiara, the Labirinto Fontanellato and the Terme di Tabiano.

To tell the truth, the whole region is full of medieval castles, but Torrechiara Castle is certainly the most exciting of all. Renaissance and Middle Ages blend perfectly in this building, inside which it is possible to visit a gallery full of precious paintings.

Finally, Parma is also known as gastronomic tourism destination, therefore we suggest a tasting tour to discover two local excellences such as Parma ham and Parmigiano Reggiano.

6 - Romagna hinterland: San Leo, Santarcangelo, Verrucchio, Montegridolfo

The Romagna hinterland is also one of those territories strongly steeped in tradition and history, thanks to the many medieval villages perched on the hills.

Among the most iconic are San Leo, in whose fort the mysterious adventurer and esotericist known as the Count of Cagliostro was imprisoned.
Equally fascinating are the villages of Montegridolfo, surrounded by olive groves and located along the "Strada delle hills di Romagna", and Verrucchio, awarded with the prestigious Orange Flag of the Italian Touring Club for its tourist-environmental qualities. We also point out Santarcangelo di Romagna, whose underground caves were used as a refuge for the population during the Second World War.

Finally, an honorable mention is due to two other pretty villages not far away, that is Brisighella and Dozza, two of the most beautiful villages in Italy.

7 - Ravenna and Mirabilandia

Historically, Ravenna is the most important city in the Emilia-Romagna region. Not surprisingly, since 1996 its monuments are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ravenna is known as the "Capital of Mosaics", which you can admire in the Basilica of San Vitale, in the mausoleum of Galla Placidia, in the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, in the Neoniano Baptistery and in the Battistero degli Arianisi, finally in the nearby Basilica of Sant'Apollinare in Classe
The city truly offers everything: museums, theaters, infrastructure and art. And most important of all, good food and nice people. To enjoy a complete and exciting experience, we recommend the purchase of a thematic tour between mosaics and gastronomy, including tastings of local products.

In the territory of Ravenna, and precisely in the hamlet of Savio, it is also found mirabilandia, number 1 amusement park in Italy. With its surface of 850.000 square meters, it is ideal for families. In addition, the property is full of restaurants, shops, spectacular attractions and offers a wide range of services. If you are traveling with children, it is an unmissable stop on your trip.

8 - Cervia salt pan

There is room for some beautiful natural landscapes within our list of the must see in Emilia-Romagna. The Salina di Cervia is the southern gateway to the Po Delta Park, an area of ​​inestimable naturalistic value. Hundreds of animals live here, including flamingos, black-winged stilts, avocets and other protected species. The Salt Pans extend 827 hectares 1600 km from the sea and still produce about 50 quintals of salt per year.

Naturalistic and historical trails are available, all departing from the Salina di Cervia Visitor Center, open from March to November. Among the various activities, you can make guided walks both during the day and at sunset (cost of € 6,00), ed boat excursions (€ 10,00) also with the "night stargazing" option (€ 12,00).

9 - Piacenza and the Rivalta Castle

The city of Piacenza is a fairly large and busy center, although it is now surrounded by an urban agglomeration, it has retained an attractive historic center with both medieval and renaissance buildings to admire.
The flagship is the Piazza dei Cavalli, dominated by the Gothic Palace, a beautiful th century palace built in marble and red bricks. Piazza del Duomo, where it stands, is also worth a visit the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and Santa Giustina, the main place of worship in the city. Finally, take advantage of the visit to admire the Rivalta Castle, an imposing fortified complex located in the nearby town of Gazzola.

10 - Republic of San Marino

San Marino is the fifth smallest nation in the world, one of only three to be completely surrounded by a single country. Despite being an independent state, it has an area of ​​about 16 square km and is inhabited by just 30 thousand people. In practice it is little more than a small village perched on the mountains of great historical charm, thanks to its three medieval towers, and other interesting architectures such as Palazzo Pubblico.

Plan your stay: how to get there and where to sleep

Getting there is very simple, all cities are served by trains. For those arriving from afar, there are three airports, in Rimini, Parma and Bologna, the latter being the main one and best connected to the rest of Italy (flights from € 39,00).

For the classic holiday on the Riviera, you can choose to stay in Rimini, Riccione and Milano Marittima if you are looking for fun, or Lido di Savio and Bellaria Igea Marina if you are looking for relaxation and traveling with your family.

If you want to tackle a "cultural" itinerary, we recommend that you base yourself in Bologna, Ferrara and Ravenna, to then visit some beautiful villages such as Bobbio, San Giovanni in Marignano and Montefiore Conca. Recommended accommodations from € 59,00 per night.

For a gastronomic itinerary, take the wine route that connects Piacenza to Modena, through Parma, and Reggio Emilia, tasting wines such as Gutturnio, Lambrusco and Pignoletto and specialties such as Parma ham, Parmigiano Reggiano, piadina and even tigelle, lasagna, tortellini and tagliatelle. Suggested accommodations from € 61,00 per night.

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