A great route for your next road trip...
The Via Emilia — one of the oldest and most fascinating roads in Italy — follows the old Roman road through the region of Emilia Romagna from the towns of Piacenza to Rimini.
Dating back to 187 BC, the same road is now a modern highway (SS9) touching upon each of the region’s nine provinces (Bologna, Ferrara, Forli-Cesena, Modena, Parma, Piacenza, Ravenna, Reggio Emilia and Rimini) — each one with its own distinct character and culture. Even the breads differ from region to region!
Up for a road trip? Whatever your interests, you’ll find many attractions along the Via Emilia that meet your fancy. Here are just a few:
Rimini: For film buffs
Federico Fellini, one of the most influential filmmakers of his time, grew up in the port city of Rimini on the Adriatic and later died there. A Fellini walking itinerary (http://www.riminiturismo.it/en/visitatori/scopri-il-territorio/itinerari-e-visite/itinerari-storici/fellini-itinerary) pays homage to the famous director and to many of the locales that inspired his movies, including Amarcord perhaps his greatest film. The Fellini Museum (Museo Fellini) (http://www.rimini-tourism.com/en/rimini-attractions/museums-and-galleries/fellini-museum.html), located in the historic center of the city, celebrates Fellini’s life.
Bologna: For food enthusiasts
Most Italians would agree that Bologna is the destination city in Italy for food enthusiasts. The ancient medieval Quadrilatero market (http://www.bolognawelcome.com/en/home/live/shopping/store-categories/markets/the-old-market-in-the-quadrilatero) in its historic center houses butcher shops, fishmongers, bakeries and delicatessens. Bologna is the home of mortadella, the cured meat that changed its name to baloney when it came to America. The university town is also centrally located near small farms and factories that produce PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) or PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) products like Prosciutto di Parma, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale. The city offers many opportunities to learn Italian cooking (including local specialties like tortellini pata) in places like the Culinary Institute of Bologna (CIBO) (http://cookingclassesinbologna.com).
Cesena: For book lovers
Recognized by UNESCO as a World Memory Site, the Malatestiana Library in Cesena was the first public library in Europe. Annexed to a monastery, it was created by Franciscan friars in the 15th century who built the structure and commissioned the books, many of which were penned by hand. Malatesta Novello, a wealthy Cesena nobleman, financed the project. Inside, the geometric interior design is typical of early Renaissance architecture with original furniture and old books chained to the desks. The setting looks untouched by time.
Ravenna: For art lovers
Once the seat of the Roman Empire until the 5th century and then the seat of Byzantine Italy until the 8th century, Ravenna is known throughout the world for its colorful Byzantine mosaics. Some of the best examples of early Christian art can be found in its orthogonal-shaped Basilica of San Vitale (http://www.turismo.ra.it/eng/Discover-the-area/Art-and-culture/Churches_-baptisteries/Basilica-of-San-Vitale), founded in 540. A total of eight monuments in the city have been designated World Heritage Sites.
Modena: For car buffs
Called the “Land of Motors,” (http://www.emiliaromagnaturismo.com/en/motor-valley) Modena is home to many famous automakers such as Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini, and De Tomaso. One not-to-be-missed attraction in Modena is the Museo Enzo Ferrari (http://museomodena.ferrari.com/). In addition to the many original sport and racing cars exhibited at the futuristic museum, the story of Enzo Ferrari’s 90-year life is told on 19 oversized projector screens. Of course, anyone in Modena will want to pick up a bottle of the famous Balsamic vinegar produced here. This year, Massimo Bottura’s restaurant in Modena, Osteria Francescana (http://www.theworlds50best.com/list/1-50-winners/Osteria-Francescana), topped the list of the world’s best restaurants.
IF YOU GO