Ciao bella Italia! To our surprise, Emilia-Romagna is still quite a Italian insider tip. Sure, you know Bologna, Parma or Rimini. But away from the big cities, Emilia-Romagna hides one or the other medieval jewel that you didn’t even have on your radar.
We were on our road trip through the Emilia-Romagna. Romagna not only a bit speechless in view of the scenic beauty and the impressive places and sights.
Perhaps you are planning a road trip to Italy and would like to also get to know Emilia-Romagna? Wonderful! In this blog article we provide you with all the information and helpful tips for your round trip.
1. Emilia-Romagna: First travel tips at a glance This is what awaits you on a road trip through Emilia-Romagna World-famous cuisine: Parmesan, Prosciutto di Parma, Balsamic vinegar and tortellini. All these specialties come from Emilia-Romagna. There is probably no other region in Italy that is regarded as a culinary Mecca as much as Emilia-Romagna. Medieval Villages & Towns: The abundance of places worth seeing in Emilia-Romagna is impressive. From large cities (above all Bologna, Parma, but also Ravenna and Ferrara) to tranquil, medieval villages such as Dozza or Verucchio, everything is there. Honestly, we were initially overwhelmed by the sheer number of travel destinations because there is just so much to see. Diverse landscape: From rugged mountain ranges to picturesque hills and flat coasts – Emilia-Romagna is an extremely diverse region in Italy. In many places, the landscape reminded us strongly of that of Tuscany. Itineraries through Emilia-Romagna The Emilia-Romagna is comparatively extensive and offers more worthwhile travel destinations than you would initially think. Therefore, we will give you a brief overview of a few possible routes. You can find out more information about the individual locations in the next chapter.
City Highlights (approx. 5 days): Ravenna – Bologna – Modena – Parma Emilia-Romagna East (approx. 7 days): Bologna – Dozza – Brisighella – Santarcangelo – (possibly San Marino) – Verucchio – San Leo – Rimini – Ravenna – Comacchio – Ferrara Emilia-Romagna complete (approx. until 14 Days): Ferrara – Comacchio – Ravenna – Rimini – Santarcangelo – (possibly San Marino) – Verucchio – San Leo – Brisighella – Dozza – Bologna – Modena – Parma – Piacenza The best travel time for your road trip As with so many travel destinations, we would recommend a holiday in spring or autumn for Emilia-Romagna. ) recommend. The temperatures are then pleasantly warm and there is not that much going on.
A trip in midsummer is of course also possible, although not unreservedly recommended. Not infrequently the thermometer climbs over the 20- or even 35 grade mark. A city tour is of course a sweaty undertaking at such temperatures. In addition, of course, the beaches are the busiest.
2. The most beautiful places in Emilia-Romagna including sights Bologna Let’s start with the capital of Emilia-Romagna and by far the largest city: Bologna. If you travel to Emilia-Romagna, you shouldn’t miss Bologna – at least that’s our opinion.
Bologna is a university city. To be more precise, the oldest university in Europe is located here. You can tell that immediately from the flair. Bologna is young, lively, exuberant and quite authentic.
One of the most important sights and symbols of the city are the two leaning towers, Garisenda and Asinelli. From the latter you can enjoy a magnificent view over Bologna.
A special feature of Bologna are the arcades of the City. Arcades crisscross Bologna for a total length of 38 kilometers. When you visit the city, you automatically (almost) always stroll under arcades – pretty cool thing.
Here you will find all our tips summarized: Bologna sights
Our hotel tip for Bologna: Aemilia Hotel
Ravenna Ravenna is culturally one of the most famous cities of Emilia-Romagna. And with good reason: Ravenna houses historical mosaics from Byzantine and early Christian times of incredible importance.
The mosaics have been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. And we can promise you: These mighty sights will immediately amaze you.
Ravenna is a popular destination for a day trip (e.g. from Rimini), but you can of course also spend a night there. With the practical combination ticket, you can explore the five most important sights and mosaics of Ravenna in one day.
Here you get to our blog article about Ravenna: Ravenna Sights
Our Accommodation tip for Ravenna: M Club De Luxe B&B
Ferrara The UNESCO World Heritage city of Ferrara is also a worthwhile destination on a road trip through Emilia-Romagna. A friendly, authentic town off the beaten track awaits you here.
Ferrara’s most famous attraction is the iconic Castello Estense, a medieval castle that towers majestically in the center of the city. From the associated Torre dei Leoni you can enjoy a wonderful panoramic view over Ferrara.
Ferrara is ideal as a overnight stop on your Emilia-Romagna tour. (We also stayed here.) Otherwise, you can of course also take a day trip to Ferrara, for example from Bologna.
Here you get to our detailed blog article: Ferrara tips
Our hotel tip for Ferrara: Hotel Annunziata
Dozza Medieval meets (modern) street art. The tiny artist village Dozza was one of our favorite stops on our road trip through Emilia-Romagna.
Dozza is picturesquely enthroned on a small hill and houses an unbelievable variety of impressive murals. Strolling through Dozza feels like visiting an open-air art gallery. You can discover new works around every corner – one more beautiful than the next.
The reason for Dozza’s unusual cityscape lies in the 60 years. Since then, the “Biennale del Muro Dipinto”, i.e. the biennial of the painted wall, has been held in the small village every two years. Artists from all over the world come to Dozza to decorate the facades of the houses with their works of art.
The most important sight in Dozza (apart from the murals) is the fortress Rocca Sforzesca di Dozza. You can enjoy a fantastic view from their towers.
Our tip: For lunch we can recommend the Ristorante La Scuderia, which is located directly in front of the entrance to the fortress. The food here is excellent.
Brisighella Another gem is the little village of Brisighella. It is idyllically situated in the hilly hinterland of Emilia-Romagna. What awaits you here? A charming medieval village off the beaten track, considered one of the most beautiful in Italy.
Brisighellas Landmark are three striking buildings visible from afar: the pilgrimage church (Santuario del Monticino), the castle complex (Rocca Manfrediana di Brisighella) and the clock tower (Torre dell’Orologio). They are all enthroned high above the old town.
We ourselves have decided to climb to the clock tower (approx. 10 minutes). From up here you can enjoy a fantastic view over the rooftops of Brisighella and the picturesque landscape of Emilia-Romagna.
The pretty town center of Brisighella is also definitely worth a short walk to explore. The so-called Via del Borgo, also known as Via degli Asini (donkey path), is particularly worth seeing. This medieval archway was once used for defense and was later used as an entrance to the stables.
Santarcangelo di Romagna Just about 20 Minutes away from the hotspot Rimini is the small, underrated town of Santarcangelo di Romagna. It is not usually on the classic Emilia-Romagna itinerary. We personally really liked it here.
Once you arrive, you won’t believe that this is very flat and quite unspectacular muted landscape hides such a jewel. Santarcangelo di Romagna has a picturesque, historic district.
There are hardly any classic sights (apart from the castle complex). However, the flair in the cobbled streets is really enchanting. Santarcangelo di Romagna rises on a small hill, the Colle Giove. During a city tour, a walk up in the direction of the castle should not be missed.
From up here you can always enjoy a wonderful view over the landscape of Emilia-Romagna. To the south you can even see San Marino in the distance. We found the spot at the Vicolo Amaduzzi particularly beautiful.
Our accommodation tip for Santarcangelo di Romagna: Delle Farfalle Boutique B&B
Verucchio Verucchio is in our eyes one of the most picturesque places in Emilia-Romagna. The medieval village is surrounded by a beautiful, hilly landscape – just a few kilometers from San Marino. We highly recommend a stopover in Verucchio on a road trip through Emilia-Romagna.
The village is (like some other places in our list) one of the “borghi più belli d’Italia”, i.e. the most beautiful villages in Italy. And quite rightly so, in our opinion.
When visiting Verucchio, we definitely recommend a visit to the historic castle complex, the Rocca Malatestiana di Verucchio o del Sasso. From up here you can enjoy a fantastic view of both Verucchio and down into the Marecchia Valley.
Another sight that you should not miss is the pretty main square of Verucchio called Piazza Malatesta. Unfortunately, during our visit (April ) just renovated. For a visit to Verucchio we would plan about 2 to 3 hours.
San Leo San Leo is a little reminiscent of a miniature version of San Marino. The small, spectacularly situated place on a ridge is also one of Italy’s most beautiful villages (“borghi più belli d’Italia”).
The most important sight in San Leo is the giant fortress. Visible from afar, it is enthroned on a round 600 meter high hill. A fairly steep path leads you from the historic center to around 05 Minutes up. From up here you can enjoy a fabulous view of the spectacular landscape of Emilia-Romagna.
But the well-preserved, medieval town center itself is also definitely worth a visit. San Leo is really tiny and quickly explored. We recommend a stay of around 2 hours.
Rimini Umbrellas, beach chairs and tons of people. That’s pretty much how you imagine Rimini, isn’t it? What many do not know: Rimini also has a beautiful old town with numerous sights from Roman times.
So if you fancy a combination of beach and culture on a road trip through Emilia-Romagna, Rimini is the place for you. The most important sights are the Tiberius Bridge, the Arch of Augustus and of course the two main squares Piazza Tre Martiri and Piazza Cavour.
Here you can find our detailed blog article with all the tips: Rimini Sights
Hotel tip for Rimini: Up Hotel
Comacchio Welcome to Mini-Venice in Emilia-Romagna. Because of its canals, the small town on the Po Delta is often compared to its big sister, Venice. Personally, the flair of Comacchio reminded us more of Burano. With the main difference that Comacchio is far less colorful and spruced up.
Probably the most famous sight in Comacchio is the striking Trepponti Bridge. It dates from the 17. Century and crosses a total of five canals that flow into each other here.
Our tip: It is a good idea to visit Comacchio on the way from Ravenna to Ferrara (or vice versa). Comachio is really tiny, so two hours is enough for a leisurely visit.
3. Staying overnight in Emilia-Romagna: Our tips A home base or several stopovers? In Emilia-Romagna there are some travel destinations or sights pretty close together, so sometimes it’s worth exploring other places in one city. For example, from Bologna you can reach some places like Modena or Dozza in less than an hour.
Nevertheless: Emilia-Romagna is ultimately quite extensive. It’s a good three hours’ drive from west to east. So if you want to see more than one specific area, you can’t avoid a change of location.
We recommend about two to four overnight stops – depending on how long you are traveling and how much you want to see.
Our hotel tips Bologna: Aemilia Hotel Bologna Highly recommended city hotel on the edge of the old town of Bologna. The modern rooms are absolutely comfortable. From the roof terrace you can enjoy a wonderful view towards Bologna. The hotel’s underground car park is very practical.
Santarcangelo di Romagna: Delle Farfalle Boutique B&B
This very nice Bed & Breakfast is located in the east of Emilia-Romagna, in the pretty town of Santarcangelo di Romagna. It is perfectly located to reach all destinations in the East (e.g. Rimini, Verucchio or even San Marino).
Delle Farfalle Boutique B&B Aemilia Hotel Bologna 4. Food & Drink: Culinary recommendations for your road trip Specialties in Emilia-Romagna Italy is known to be culinary Paradise, but Emilia-Romagna particularly stands out. We don’t know of any other region from which so many famous Italian specialties come from as from Emilia-Romagna.
Tortellini: No trip to Emilia Romagna without tortellini! The stuffed pasta actually comes from the province of Bologna. There they are traditionally served “in brodo”, i.e. in a clear soup. Prosciutto di Parma: Italy’s famous air-dried raw ham, Parma ham, comes from the province of Parma. It adorns the displays of almost all delicatessens in the region.Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena: The legendary balsamic vinegar comes from the provinces of Modena and Reggio Emilia. The addition “Traditional” refers to a long storage and thus particularly high quality.Parmesan: The famous Italian cheese is also native to Emilia-Romagna. The “Parmigiano Reggiano” is of protected origin and may only be produced in the provinces of Bologna, Regio Emilia, Parma, Modena or Mantua. Piadina Romagnola : The street food and snack classic in Emilia-Romagna is piadina. This thin flatbread is served with a variety of fillings. Our favorite cafes & restaurants Da Mario (Santarcangelo di Romagna): We had an excellent meal in this friendly restaurant. It is in a quiet location on the edge of the historic old town of Santarcangelo di Romagna. Great thing: There is enough choice for all tastes – from fish to meat to vegetarian and vegan. Highly recommended.Ristorante Abocar Due Cucine (Rimini): One star Michelin cuisine is served at this great restaurant in Rimini. Rather high-priced, but simply a taste experience.Cremeria Santo Stefano (Bologna): The best ice cream we’ve eaten in Emilia-Romagna is sold at this lovely ice cream parlor in Bologna. There are classic and unusual varieties. Simply delicious!Caffè Terzi (Bologna): This nice café is located in the middle of the old town of Bologna. The espresso tastes great. It is best to do as the locals do and enjoy it directly at the bar. Served with a cornetto – perfect! Caffè Terzi Cremeria Santo Stefano 5. Practical tips for your road trip: arrival & rental car Arrival in Emilia-Romagna If you are arriving from Austria or southern Germany, is of course the trip with your own car definitely an option. It takes about 7.5 hours to get to Bologna from Vienna and a good 6 hours from Munich.
Alternatively, you can also reach Emilia-Romagna by plane. Of particular interest here is Bologna Airport. There are direct flights from some cities in German-speaking countries, including Vienna, Berlin and Munich.
Last but not least, a train journey is of course also possible. Here, too, the journey takes you first to Bologna. There are direct connections from some cities in German-speaking countries.
Tips for booking a rental car If you don’t arrive with your own car, you can of course rent a car on site – eg in Bologna.
We always book our rental cars through Sunny Cars. Sunny Cars is a comparison platform that compares offers from various local rental car companies.
The big advantage: You always get comprehensive insurance with Sunny Cars. In the event of damage, Sunny Cars will reimburse you for the deductible. We’ve had to use it ourselves. Never again without such insurance!
You can search for cheap rental cars here: Sunny Cars
Tolls Motorways are subject to tolls in Italy . However, there is no vignette to buy. Instead, you take a ticket when you drive up and pay for the section in cash or with a card when you exit.
6. Map: The most beautiful places in Emilia-Romagna at a glance Finally, for a better overview, we have marked all the stops of our road trip on this map. Our tip: If you click on the rectangle at the top right, you can open the map on your smartphone in the Google Maps app.
Transparency: Affiliate Links This blog article contains our personal recommendations in the form of so-called affiliate links. If you book or buy something through the links, we will receive a small commission. For you, this does not change the price at all. A thousand thanks from both of us!
Have you ever been to Emilia-Romagna? Which cities and places have you visited? Do you have any other tips for the perfect road trip? We look forward to your comment below this blog article.