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Introducing Emilia Romagna

By Sean Mahon

Posted: 29th January 2015 15:18

Fast cars and great food.  These are two of Italy’s most famous exports, but incredibly, few realise that they hail from the same birthplace.  The region of Emilia-Romagna, stretching from the Apennine Mountains to the Mediterranean Sea, is said to be the home of both the engineering excellence and the culinary brilliance that Italy prides itself on.  So if you’re looking for the best spaghetti Bolognese or want to test drive a brand new Ferrari (yeah, right) then forget Rome, Venice and Florence.  Emilia-Romagna is the only place you need to be.

Though a quiet, unassuming region, Emilia-Romagna is probably at the mercy of jealousy from every other town and city across Italy – sure, Italian cuisine is good wherever you go, but it’s never going to quite live up to the food found in Emilia-Romagna.  The region is, in particular, famous for Bolognese sauce, Parma ham, prosciutto from Modena and pancetta from Piacenza.  Parmigiano Reggiano cheese is another favourite, matured for roughly two years in order to achieve the perfect, smoky taste.  But it’s the pastas of the region that really shine.  The city of Bologna is the origin of tortellini, tagliatelle and gramigna and nowhere else can you enjoy a pasta dish of such high calibre. 

It’s hardly surprising to learn that Bologna, the connoisseur’s capital of Italian food, is nicknamed ‘La Grassa’: The Fat One. 

When you’ve eaten your fill, it’s time to turn your attention to cars.  The town of Modena might be home to a quaint, Renaissance centre but it’s also the revered birthplace of Ferrari.  If you’ve never had the chance to get behind the wheel of one of these powerful beasts then enjoy the next best thing with a trip to the MEF-Museum Casa Enzo Ferrari; this futuristic gallery is a must for anyone who appreciates beautiful cars and cutting edge technology. 

Nature is king in Emilia-Romagna, with numerous national parks and reserves open to visitors wishing to get close to the land and explore the region’s natural highlights.  Depending on how adventurous you’re feeling (or how much spaghetti you’ve eaten) you can explore the scenic delights from the saddle of a bike or horse, or head down the lazy Po River in a kayak.  For the more laid back travellers, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy an afternoon of pampering at one the region’s top spas in Tabiano, Porretta or Bagno –no one said Emilia-Romagna was just for the petrol heads. 

Emilia-Romagna has plenty of highlights to entice visitors, but each city and town is still full of hidden gems just waiting to be discovered, so eat, drink and accelerate your way through the region and embrace the very best of Italian life. 

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