Emilia-Romagna: Italy’s Bucket List Tourist Spot for Food Lovers

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Emilia-Romagna, a region in northern Italy, should be on every food lover’s must-visit list.  For an unforgettable travel experience follow Via Emilia, an ancient Roman route in Emilia Romagna that connects cities rich in art, culture, history, sports cars, and world-renowned food and wine.

This easy-to-navigate highway starts in the northern section of Emilia Romagna connecting some of Italy’s most amazing sights with unique gourmet experiences.

Emilia-Romagna: Italy’s Bucket List Tourist Spot for Food Lovers, francine segan, the three tomatoes

Array of Emilia-Romagna Foods


Bologna is nicknamed La Grassa, “the Fat One,” because of all its amazingly rich delights like impossibly tiny tortellini, belly-button shaped filled pasta, which tradition dictates should be small enough so that at least 7 fit in a tablespoon.

Bologna, regarded as one of the Italy’s most beautiful cities, has a network of 25 miles of medieval portico lined streets and skyline dotted with medieval towers erected as status symbols for their owners. While of the original 100 only 20 towers still exists, one of them is the tallest leaning tower in Italy. Bologna is one of the world’s best -kept secret travel destinations. With many days worth of cultural sights, churches, museums and streets to explore and enough enchanting food for a lifetime’s worth of gourmet memories.

Photo 1- Array of Emilia-Romagna Foods, the three tomatoes

Bologna’s famed tortellini, so small that at least 7 can fit on a tablespoon


A UNESCO World Heritage site, Ferrara is filled with architectural delights thanks to the city’s progressive Ercole d’Este noble family who attracted great Renaissance artists, musicians, and architects. Some of the most lovely buildings are the Castello Estense, a 14th century fortress complete with iconic subterranean dungeons and fish-filled moat with drawbridge and Palazzo Diamanti, “Diamond Palace,” designed by built in the late 15th century but with a most modern play of angle and proportion.

Emilia-Romagna: Italy’s Bucket List Tourist Spot for Food Lovers


Ferrara is host to the world’s oldest continuous Renaissance Festival, dating back to 1259, an annual tradition with donkey and horse races through the historic center of the town.  For a real taste of the Renaissance, while in Ferrara try pasticcio alla ferrarese, Ferrara’s famed savory-sweet macaroni pie, made according to a centuries old recipe at Cusina e Butega. The pie’s dough, which is slightly sweet with hints of sugar and lemon zest, is filled with a rich meat sauce combined with creamy béchamel accented with aromatic nutmeg.

Emilia-Romagna: Italy’s Bucket List Tourist Spot for Food Lovers

pasticcio alla ferrarese, sweet and savory pasta pie


This utterly captivating medieval town has an astonishing eight UNESCO Heritage mosaic monuments dating to the 5th and 6th century .

Ravenna is the perfect place to try passatelli, classic rustic pasta of the Romagna section of Italy made with breadcrumbs, instead of flour, and seasoned with Parmesan cheese, lovely hints of lemon and nutmeg. Their name derives from “passed through” as they are extruded through a metal device with holes that give them their characteristic rough texture.

Emilia-Romagna: Italy’s Bucket List Tourist Spot for Food Lovers



Forlimpopoli, a enchanting hill-town, is the birthplace of Pellegrino Artusi, author of Italy’s most famous book on food “The Science of the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well.” Casa Artusi, http://www.casartusi.it/en, a cooking school and museum dedicated to Artus is the an ideal place to learn to make one of Italy’s most popular hosts a yearly food festival.

Forlimpopoli Artusi Food Festival, every June

Casa Artusi yearly food festival


Cesena, a charming medieval city south of Bologna, is a UNESCO site of the Europe’s first public library, the completely preserved intact 15th century stunningly lovely Malatesta Library.

After exploring Cesena’s unique charms be sure to experience the fascinating savory chocolate pairings created by Chef Rocco Angarola at Osteria Michiletta (Via Strinati, 41) using cocoa beans from plantations he personally visits.

Photo 7-Cesena's UNESCO library

Cesean’s UNESCO library


A visit to Modena’s Ferrari and Maserati sports car production facilities and wonderfully informative museums offers a unique view of modern, sleek hand-craftsmanship of the highest order. It’s even possible to schedule a test drive, like the Ferrari Red Experience that includes five laps around a race-track with an instructor! For more information:

For another kind of craftsmanship be sure to taste the area’s famed Balsamic vinegar, a dense condiment made from the boiled-down grape must that is the stored and transferred from year to year into a series of at least five different barrels made with aromatic woods like juniper, chestnut, mulberry or cherry. The resulting deeply flavorful, naturally sweet vinegar, aged for at least 12 years. Visit one of the area’s producers of Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena, like Acetaia di Giorgio,

Photo 8-Balsamic vinegar

Balsamic vinegar


Parma is a gourmet lover’s city famed for it’s Parmesan cheese and Prosciutto. A highlight of visiting this entrancing town is the chance to see how Parmigiano-Reggiano, the real Parmesan, is made. A two-hour tour, includes free tastings and is free of charge. To schedule email: sezionepr@parmigianoreggiano.it

Photo 9-Parmigiano Reggiano

Parmigiano-Reggiano, the “King of Cheese”

For more info:

For more information on Emilia Romagna Region and on Via Emilia sights, visit: www.emiliaromagnaturismo.it  and www.visitviaemilia.it/

Where to stay: 


Hotel Commercianti, V

Via De Pignattari 11 – Bologna


Best Western Premier Milano Palace,

C.so Vittorio Emanuele II, n.68 Modena


Hotel Annunziata,

Piazza della Repubblica, 5, Ferrara




The most unique B&B imaginable, with whimsical décor and a zoo with exotic animals including zebras!

B&B de Charme – Ca’ BEVILACQUA

Via Santa Croce 5607, Bertinoro





  • Francine Segan

    Francine Segan, James Beard finalist and author of 6 cookbooks, can be found throughout NYC giving fun talks and cooking demos. She’s a regular at the 92nd St Y, Eataly’s cooking school, Chocolate Show, and New York Times Travel Show. Her specialty is Italy and her latest books are Pasta Modern: New & Inspired Recipes from Italy and Dolci: Italy’s Sweets . She has appeared on numerous TV programs including Today Show, Early Show and Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood. Peek at www.francinesegan.com for more info on her books & upcoming talks Visit Francine at: www.francinesegan.com

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