Introduction to Emilia Romagna: A Journey along the Via Emilia

The Via Emilia is an ancient Roman road that leads along the entire region of Emilia Romagna. The road is the thread that connects all of the diverse natural and cultural landscapes of the region, from the sunny beaches of Rimini to the historic art city of Piacenza.

Overview

The Via Emilia, which was first commissioned by Roman consul Marco Emilio Lepido in 187 BC, connects the many gems of the region to discover. From the 10 famous art cities of the region, to the untouched landscapes of the Apennines mountains and the Po River Delta. The road passes through the Motor Valley, the heart of Italy’s luxury car industry as well as Emilia Romagna’s Food Valley, known for being one of the most unique and celebrated food and wine regions in the world. Emilia Romagna has even more to offer with its vast network of thermal springs and spas, its successful industrial sectors as well as pristine 110 km of coastline along the Adriatic Sea.

Art and Culture

With a history dating back over 1 million years, the art cities of Emilia Romagna are known for their diverse architecture, important museums and spectacular UNESCO monuments. The cities themselves are living monuments to Italian excellence and Italian design.

Each art city has their own distinctive features, Rimini, Ravenna and Faenza have their famous mosaics and ceramics known all over the world, Cesena has the Malatestiana Library, Bologna with its 47 km of porticos and its University, Parma, Modena, Ferrara have the glories of their impactful history, Reggio Emilia was the birthplace of the Italian flag and Piacenza has its palaces and ancient courts.

These cities of art, could also be called cities of music as they have been the birthplaces of many of the world’s musical geniuses, from Giuseppe Verdi, Arturo Toscanini to Luciano Pavarotti. Many forms of art have emerged from the region including dramatic arts, with the region having over 100 theaters (one of the highest densities in Europe), as well as cinema and painting.

The Via Emilia was the home of great screen masters such as Federico Fellini, Michelangelo Antonioni, Pierpaolo Pasolini and Bernardo Bertolucci, and of painters such as Guercino, Carracci, Guido Reni and Giorgio Morandi, and poets and writers of the caliber of Ludovico Ariosto, Giovanni Pascoli , Cesare Zavattini, Leo Longanesi, Tonino Guerra and many others.

Food and Wine

The Via Emilia serves as a great guide through the typical food and wine of Emilia Romagna. The region has 44 DOP and IGP products as well as 50 DOC and DOCG wines, with many of these authentic ingredients being used in typical dishes offered by Michelin-starred restaurants, taverns and street food kiosks. Some of these typical recipes include Romagnola Piadina, Piacentini, which are small flour dumplings served with bean sauce, Tagliatelle with Bolognese meat sauce and Modenese fried gnocco.

Along with the restaurants, the region is also home to many producers, Consortiums, and culinary institutions that have played a big role in Emilia Romagna’s gastronomic tradition. Casa Artusi, one of most famous culinary institutions in Italy is located in Emilia Romagna along with the Alma di Colorno which is the International Cooking School run by Maestro Gualtiero Marchesi, located near Parma, which was named the Creative City of Gastronomy by UNESCO.

Motor Valley

The Emilia Romagna region is home to many of Italy’s most famous car brands, the region is nicknamed Motor Valley because it is unparalleled in the world for the cars and brands that originate from the area. Along the Via Emilia you will find some of Italy’s most iconic car brands including Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini, Pagani, Ducati, De Tomaso, Dallara, and Morini. The region is host to many car shows and exhibitions, as well as the stages of the Moto GP and the Superbike Championship for motorcycling.

Fashion

The Via Emilia is also known for some iconic clothing brands such as Giorgio Armani, Max Mara, Blumarine and Alberta Ferretti. The region also has a “shoe district” found in San Mauro Mare, located in the Romagnan Riviera, with brands such as Sergio Rossi, Vicini and Giuseppe Zanotti.

Sports and Relaxation

Along the Via Emilia there are 24 thermal spring spas, offering state-of-the-art treatments thanks to facilities with thermal pools, large parks and springs with waters with therapeutic properties. The region is also a great place for outdoor sports, in the Apennines between Emilia Romagna and Tuscany, there are over 300 km of slopes, 3000 km for cross-country skiing, 14 snow parks for snowboarding fans and many trails for snowshoeing and dog sledding. In the summer hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing and horseback riding are popular in the region. Cycling enthusiasts are spoiled in Emilia Romagna, which is the Italian region with the most biking in the country. To accommodate, there is no shortage of hotels specialized in welcoming cyclists, with workshops equipped for bicycles, specifically designed menus for caloric intake, guides with suggested tours.

A few miles from the Via Emilia, here is the charm of the Po Delta, to be discovered by bike, along 120 km of bike paths, or on horseback. There are many things to discover in the area including bird watching, crafts and typical food and wine. Just a few kilometers down Via Emilia to the south you will find Romagna Riviera, with its 110 km of golden beaches, 15 amusement parks (the highest concentration in Italy), over 3,000 hotels, 1400 beach resorts, relaxing spas,, and many places for the whole family.