Emilia Romagna - Travel Guide and Tourism Information for Emilia Romagna, Italy

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Emilia Romagna, Italy

Provinces: Bologna, Forlì, Ferrara, Modena, Piacenza, Parma, Ravenna, Reggio nell’Emilia, Rimini

Half of Emilia Romagna territory is formed by the Apennines; the other half is a large plain, which reaches to the Adriatic Sea. The coastline is flat and sandy, with a typical lagoon and marshy area, named the Valli Comacchio.


One of the oldest cities in Italy and the site of Europe’s oldest university.

It’s a charming town, due largely to the imaginative use of brickwork. A total 45km of arcades flank many of the streets, and a 3.6km stretch leads all the way out of town to the hilltop Basilica di San Luca. Piazza Maggiore - the town's main square, and the adjacent Piazza del Nettuno were built in the 13th century and form the heart of the city.

The squares are lined with splendid Romanesque and Gothic structures including the church of San Petronio, Palazzo Re Enzo and the Palazzo Comunale.

The famous Neptune Fountain, the symbol of the city, was built in 1566 and is located at the centre of Piazza del Nettuno. The Basilica of San Petronio is one of the finest examples of Gothic buildings in all of Italy.

The church was built in 1390 as a symbol of freedom after decades of foreign occupation. Above the central doorway are some exquisite carvings of scenes from the Old and New Testaments together with a beautiful carving of a Madonna and Child. The Basilica also has some 20 chapels filled with art treasures.

The Two Towers / Le Due Torri are among Bologna's most recognisable landmarks, and have become a symbol of the city. In the 12th century, the noble families of Bologna raised over 100 towers across the city. The towers were regarded as status symbols - the more powerful the family, the taller its tower was. About 20 or so of these medieval towers survive today, but the Asinelli and the Garisenda towers are the most famous. The Asinelli tower is the taller of the two (325ft). This tower can be climbed and offers a spectacular and panoramic view of the red-tile roofs of Bologna.


Sometimes referred to as the ‘Capital of Mosaics’, between the sixth and eighth centuries Ravenna was the principal centre of Byzantine civilisation in Italy. The city’s former importance is recorded by a profusion of early Christian and Byzantine monuments decorated with stunning mosaics, notably the splendid Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, the octagonal Basilica di San Vitale, and the churches of San Apollinare Nuovo and Sant’Apollinare in Classe, the Arian Baptistry or Battistero degli Ariani, the Orthodox Baptistry or Battistero Neoniano, and the Chapel of Sant'Andrea, all of which are UNESCO-listed World Heritage Sites.


The city’s main attractions are: the Church of the Santa Maria della Steccata, apparently built using Bramante's original plan for St Peter's as a model. Inside there are frescoes by several 16th century painters, notably Parmigianino. Visit the mustard coloured Palazzo del Governatore and the beautiful Lombard - Romanesque Duomo, dating from the 11th century. It hosts an earlier work by Parmigianino in its south transept, painted when the artist was a pupil of Correggio - who painted the fresco of the Assumption in the central cupola. Finished in 1534, this is among the most famous of Correggio's works.

The beautiful octagonal Baptistry in sugary pink Verona marble, encircled by a band of sculpture and topped off by some slim turrets. The Spezieria Storica di San Giovanni Evangelista, at Borgo Pipa, a thirteenth-century pharmacy that preserved its medieval interior. Parma's biggest monument is the Palazzo della Pilotta, surrounded by a vast green lawn. Started for Alessandro Farnese - Pope Paul III - in the 16th century, this building was almost destroyed by WW II bombing, though it's been rebuilt and now houses a number of Parma's museums: the Galleria Nazionale, the Teatro Farnese and the Museo Archeologico Nazionale.

Across the river from the Palazzo della Pilotta, the Parco Ducale is a set of formal gardens laid out in the eighteenth century around the 16th century Palazzo Ducale. Just south, the Casa di Toscanini is the birthplace of the composer who debuted in the Teatro Regio here.


During the Renaissance, the local aristocratic families built here over fifty Palazzi, with elegant porticoes and grand gateways. The most imposing of them is Palazzo Farnese, in the town centre – the mansion where the local rulers used to live, now housing a unique carriage museum. But Piacenza also has wonderful churches, such as the Santuario di Santa Maria di Campagna, where pope Urban II proclaimed the first crusades in 1095. Or the church of San Sisto, founded by Benedictine nuns in the year 874, where Margherita Farnese (1522-1586) was buried. A copy of Raffaello’s “Madonna Sistina”, originally commissioned for this church, hangs over its high altar. The original painting was sold by the Benedictine monks to the king of Poland in 1754, for 10,000 sequins; today it is the main piece of the Dresden Museum.


(known to the French as ‘Faience’) is renowned for its majolica pottery. An excursus of the history of Faenza’s achievements in the field of ceramics can be seen at the wonderful International Pottery Museum (Mic, or Museo internazionale delle ceramiche). Visitors from all over the world come here to see its several sections and rooms: Faenza pottery, Italian and foreign schools, classical collections of Attic, Etruscan and Roman pottery, a section of ancient pottery from pre-Columbian, African and Oriental civilizations and a precious gallery containing pieces by contemporary artists such as Picasso, Matisse, Chagall, Melandri and Burri. In Faenza 60 art workshops (where you can watch craftsmen and craftswomen moulding and painting) are still working today, in addition to several special schools training technicians for pottery factories all over the world, international events, exhibitions and meetings.


The Cathedral, whose building began in 1099 , is known as one of the absolute masterpieces of European Romanesque style. It is an impressive building with a beautiful facade, covered with statues. Cobbled Piazza Grande is the heart of the town. It is framed by the Ghirlandina tower, 87 metres tall and the L-shaped 17th-century town hall or Palazzo Comunale, which takes up two sides of the piazza and actually incorporates several medieval buildings. Museum Palace (Palazzo dei Musei) is in nearby Piazza Sant'Agostino. Don’t miss the Galleria Estense, which was the private picture collection of the old lords of Modena. It is one of the most important Italian galleries, containing works by Bernini, Velasquez, Correggio and El Greco. Palazzo dei Musei also houses several municipal museums: a Medieval and Modern Art and History Museum, containing paintings and sculptures dating from the Middle Ages to the modern age, an Archaeological Museum and an Ethnological Collection.


“Ferrara, City of Renaissance and its Po Delta” have been inscribed in Unesco’s World Heritage list. The heart of the town are its medieval piazza and Cathedral, whose facade is a harmonic mixture of Romanesque and Gothic styles. The Cathedral contains several remarkable paintings by artists such as Guercino and Bastianino. The Este Castle is the real symbol of the city. Its was founded by the Este family in 1385. Its basic structure is typically medieval, but the style of its balconies and Venetian roof-terraces is typical of the 16th century, when the castle was turned into a magnificent ducal residence. Palazzo dei Diamanti is one of Ferrara’s most splendid palaces. The first floor houses the National Gallery, while many internationally renowned exhibitions are held at the Modern and Contemporary Art Gallery on the ground floor. Palazzo Schifanoia was also built for the Este family. It was intended to be a place where the entire court could enjoy themselves and relax. Its frescoes are wonderful examples of Renaissance art: the finest rooms are the Sala degli Stucchi, with its beautiful frescoed ceiling decorated with golden stucco, and the famous Salone dei Mesi.


The old provincial capital is also known as “the home of the Italian flag”. On the 7th of January, 1797, the delegates of the Cispadane Republic decided the green, white and red Cispadane Standard or Flag to become universal. This flag became the symbol of Italy as a whole after 1848. Today the Museo del Tricolore housed in the Town Hall, in Piazza Prampolini, hosts several objects and documents dating back to the Risorgimento. Visit the Basilica Beata Vergine della Ghiara the Basilica di San Prospero and the Bianello Castle in nearby Quattro Castella.
FORLI’ might be a surprise for visitors coming here by chance, possibly from a nearby sea resort. But it is well worth discovering this town – little by little, you will find it is full of art treasures, such as the outstanding Civic Gallery (Pinacoteca Civica).


A seaside resort renowned for its lively party scene, with numerous nightclubs on the beach through summer. This town has 227 lidos, a 15 km long sandy beach, over 1,000 hotels (281 of which are open all the year), 4 theme parks and over 30 discos. Yet, you can also have a stroll in the old town. Rimini, the Roman Ariminum, is an over 22-century-old town with a rich historical and artistic heritage. It can boast works of art dating back to the Roman Empire, such as the Augustan arch (Arco di Augusto) and Tiberius bridge (Ponte di Tiberio), or to the Renaissance, such as the Malatesta Temple (Tempio Malatestiano), Sismondo castle (Castel Sismondo) and the Municipal Museum. These art treasures deserve a visit – although most of the millions of tourists coming to Rimini seem to prefer lying on the beach.

Emilia Romagna, Italy - Travel Guide and Tourism Information
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