Ever thought of visiting the most picturesque, historic region that Italy has to offer? Look no further than the famous Italian northern region of Emilia Romagna and let yourself be totally immersed in the culture this beautiful place has to offer. Emilia Romagna is the home of Enzo Ferarri, Luciano Pavarotti, The Ducati Brothers and the artist Parmigianino. The region takes you back to the old time of Italy, nothing like the frantic fast paced experience the major cities like Rome have to offer. It part of northern Italy which comprises the regions of Emilia and Romagna. Bologna is the region’s capital. The region covers an area of 8,666 square miles with about 4.4 million inhabitants. Also one of the wealthiest and most developed parts of Italy, Emilia Romagna has the third highest GDP per capita in all of Italy. The city of Bologna ranks among the highest in Italy by the quality of life index. Home to the oldest university in the world it is no wonder why this region is as rich culturally as it is financially.
The area has as a history as far back as Ancient Rome. The name Emilia derives from the Roman road connecting Rome to northern Italy, which was completed in 187 BC, named after the consul Marcus Aemilius Lepidus. Romagna derives from Romania, the name given to the Eastern Roman Empire applied to Ravenna by the Lombards when the western empire had ceased to exist and Ravenna was an outpost of the east. Pre empire times, it was part of the Etruscan and Gaul civilisations. During the first thousand years of Christianity, the region was a trading, cultural and religious centre. The University Of Bologna, arguably the world’s oldest university in Europe kept the town bustling to ultimately be at the height of the intellectual revolution that was called the renaissance. With a sordid and unstable political history, such grand figures like Matilda of Canossa, seigniories such as the Este of Ferrara, the Malatesta of Rimini were just a few of the many nationally recognized individuals to be from this region.
Facts And Anecdotes
Geographically, most of Emilia Romagna is flat, as most of the Po plains encompass its regions. Gentle hills strewn the southern edge of the plain, gently rising higher the further south until the break at 2,000 meters. The city of Piacenza is usually the westernmost fringe of the region, though in reality it officially stretches until the boundary with Piedmont and Liguria. The central part of Emilia Romagna is the richest harvesting swathe of region. The fertile countryside produce abundant harvests of many of the foods that the area is renowned for such as Parma ham and other cured meats like salami or mortadella and the birthplace of Parmesan Cheese. The wide extensive fields of the eastern section are mostly treeless and wheat farms abound the landscape. Though part of one general region, Emilia and Romagna do have distinctively different histories. Emilia was mainly formed of a series of independent duchies, while Romagna was for most of its history under the Papal State. Coupled with distinct cultural identities, there are many ways to distinguish the individuality of each area. Many causes for dispute are as a result of properly pinning where Emilia begins and Romagna ends. Most identify the Sillaro River as the border between, running just to the east of the capital Bologna. More so the distinction is more a question of character than Geography. Pull up at any house and ask for a drink; while they give you water signifies you are still in Emilia, when you are given wine you are now in Romagna.
Famous People From Emilia-Romagna
Enzo Ferrari – Italian motor racing driver and entrepreneur and founder of the Scuderia Ferrari Grand Prix motor racing team and subsequently the Ferrari automobile company. Born on the 18th of February in Modena Italy, his birth certificate interestingly recorded him at the 20th. This was as a result of a heavy snowstorm which prevented his father from registering his birth for 2 days. That is why his death was made public 2 days after by his request on the 16th of August, 1988.
Bernardo Bertolucci – Writer, Director, Producer. Known for films of a colourful visual style, Bernardo Bertolucci was born in Parma, Italy in 1941. He received the academy awards for such films as, Before The Revolution, and the critically acclaimed The Last Emperor.
Giorgio Armani – World famous Italian fashion designer, particularly noted for his men’s wear. Born 11th July 1934, he is best known for his clean, tailored lines. He formed the Armani company in 1971 and by 2001, was acclaimed as the most successful and influential designer Italy produced with an annual turnover of $1.6 billion and a personal fortune of $8.5 billion.
Things to do in Emilia-Romagna
Bologna – The capital of Emilia Romagna, Bologna is the ideal place to base yourself and decide where to next around our beautiful province. As Italian cities go, Bologna is often overlooked but there are many interesting things to see and do in this city which traces its roots back to 1000BC. Historically it has been one of the few Italian cities which refused to be run by one family. It is home to the tallest leaning tower in Italy. Porticoes appointed as world heritage sites, give you a glimpse into the ancient world still marvellously preserved today. Bologna is also the gastronomical capital of Italy so let your taste buds go wild in the home of parmesan cheese and Parma ham. Home to the western world’s oldest university, Bologna will intrigue and astound you.
Cars – Emilia Romagna is the automotive capital of Italy. You cannot help but get caught up in everything cars while here. We are home to some of the finest, most luxurious cars ever built. Names like Lamborghini, Ducati and Ferrari all boast their factories here, because from the founders to the workers, they were all born here. Ducati is from Bologna, Lamborghini in Ferrara and Ferrari in Modena are all wonderful excuses to also take in the sights of these beautiful cities. Why not take a tour of the racing museums or for the ultimate thrill take a spin on the track in a Ferrari.
The Maranello hills – Take a bike tour through the open Italian countryside. See ancient castles, vineyards and olive groves as you traverse through the rustic side of the province. In the land of rolling hills and gorgeous scenery, you will have the opportunity to taste balsamic vinegar, visit ancient dungeons and drink an aperitivo.
Al Brindisi – Located in the renaissance town of Ferrara. Al Brindisi is the oldest Osteria in the world as stated by the guinnes book of records. A vibrant drinking place from as far back as 1435, this inn is synonymous with fine wine and amazing truly Italian cuisine.
Rimini – Once a popular beach town for many German tourists spending their holidays basking in the sun. It has over the years become more of a local Italian beach destination for many. It is an amazing beach and nice alternative to the bustling and crowded Italian Riviera. Famous Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini retired here for good reason. Rimini has a beach that’s stretches for miles down the Adriatic. For a relaxing escape from it all, look no further than the renowned Riminiterme Spa. Go for a walk down the waterfront promenade and be spoilt by the many gelato stands that decorate with the many umbrellas to form a truly Italian mosaic of nostalgia and culture.
Comacchio – Known as the Venice of Emilia Romagna, Comacchio is a town built on 13 different islets connected by waterways and towns, so it is not as crowded as Venice but just as beautiful. It is an area known for eel fishing and the cuisine is masterfully reflected as such, with many variations of eel dishes abound in the restaurants. A tour of the fisherman’s museum showcases the town’s history and dedication to the hard work they did at the turn of the century.
Ravenna – Many of the most spectacular, and important, mosaics in Italy are in one city in Emilia-Romagna: Ravenna. Since Ravenna was (briefly) the capital of the Roman empire after the empire had become Christian, the city’s churches and mausoleums were decorated with the most opulent mosaics possible. Many are still well-preserved today, and just as spectacular as they were in the 6th and 7th centuries.
Renaissance Style – When you picture Italy you imagine gorgeous domes, winding medieval streets, and graceful palaces. Emilia Romagna has all that to offer and more. Modena still has many buildings that date back to the 10th century, including the extra ordinary Duomo, the 17th century ducal palace and town hall just to name a few. Ferrara, in independent duchy, became one of the best known cities in Italy by the 15th century and remains circled today by some of the best preserved walls in Italy. Both are world heritage cities. Bologna also flourished wonderfully during the renaissance, with many artist coming from the Bolognese schools such as Annibale Carracci, Domenichino and Guercino. The town still has its medieval towers and Renaissance palaces. Not to mention Parma with its Roman style duomo, gothic churches and graceful Renaissance palaces and theatres, is worth a visit on your stay.
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