In broad terms, one half of the region is covered by the Apennines, the second part is covered by the plains. Over the last 1,500 years, the area has been under great geological change which has meant that the marshlands have become plains and the sea has withdrawn by 10 km.
You will find many long sandy beaches along the coastline of Emila Romagna, with a concentration of holiday resorts and a great choice of holiday accommodation. Inland you can visit many culture rich cities and beautiful lush mountainous areas which are certainly worth seeing.
With both access to forests, the sea and agricultural areas, the region is certainly noteworthy for its gastronomy and rich recipes. In short, the food you eat here will leave a great taste in your mouth!
Bologna is a fascinating city with a very rich history. One of Europe's first universities was founded here in 1088. It is also the regional capital, and since it is an ancient Roman city, it contains many beautiful and cultural relics.
Piacenza has lots of palaces and quaint streets and arcades. The city has several old monuments from the Middle Ages. Parma is also called the capital of music because the composer Giuseppe Verdi was born in this area. Of course the town is best known for Parmesan cheese and Parma ham. Ravenna has many impressive sights and is also famous for its abundance of fine Byzantine mosaics.
Modena is known for producing balsamic vinegar and Lambrusco wine, but it also manufactures two of the world's most prestigious cars: Ferrari and Maserati.
Lombard and Gothic influence features strongly in the region. At one time Ravenna was the Goth's capital. The Byzantines also exerted a strong influence in Emilia Romagna. When the Lombards invaded Emilia Romagna around 560 AD the region was divided into two camps; Modena, Parma and Piacenza came under Lombard control while Ravenna and Bologna remained under Byzantine rule.
Emilia Romagna came into church hands around 800. City-states like Bologna, Piacenza and Modena were founded during this period. For a while trade between the different towns blossomed but soon peace was broken when the German King and Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa invaded the region. Once again Emilia Romagna was divided into two camps: one which supported the emperor and the other joined the Lombards.
Right up to recent times the history of Emilia Romagna bears witness to constant power struggles played out between empire, papal state and foreign nations or city states all vying with each other for extra territory. Lasting peace only descended when Emilia Romagna became part of the Italian kingdom.
Emilia Romagna's Adriatic coastline is famous for its long, wide and child friendly beaches. The best known is probably Rimini, which for a long time has been a popular resort for young people from all over Europe. Lesser-known towns along the coast also offer the possibility of a holiday by the sea combined with a chance to visit some of Emilia Romagna's interesting cultural sights.
Approx. 7 % of Emilia Romagna consists of protected Nature Reserves primarily located in the Apennines. The scenery here is spectacular with waterfalls, lakes, dense forests, gushing rivers and a rich fauna. In fact, it is also possible to ski in Emilia Romagna in winter.
Emilia Romagna is well known for its good food. Typically the food tends to be in the heavier end of Italian cuisine. Ingredients like cream and butter are often used in preference to olive oil.
Fish and seafood: Meat, cream and butter play an important role in the food in Emilia Romagna. However, eels from the Comacchio estuary by the Adriatic coast are particularly delicious. They are often to be found on the menu served in many different ways. Meat, game and poultry: Emilia Romagna has its own completely unique type of pigs and cattle, Mora Romagnola and Bovina Romagnola respectively.
The pork is primarily used for the many delicious sausages and hams produced in the area. The veal is cooked in several different ways. The quality of Bovina Romagnola is very good; the flavour is rich and the meat beautifully tender.
Sausages and ham: The sausages and hams of Emilia Romagna are a testimony to the true culinary strength of the region. Culatello di Zibello is an excellent, very delicate ham. Mortadella Classica and Mortadella di Bologna are two other famous sausages from Emilia Romagna.
Other good hams that deserve a mention here are Prosciutto di Modena and Prosciutto di Parma. Both are truly fantastic products and very different to the vacuum-packed sliced ham available in supermarkets.
Coppa di Parma made of neck cut is exquisite; Pancetta Piacentina (air-dried bacon) is also delicious. Salame di Felino and Salame Piacentino are sausages sometimes available in northern Europe.
The list is much longer than these few lines allow but if you like this kind of food it is worth trying all the local sausages and hams during a stay in Emilia Romagna.
Cheese: Parmesan cheese is world-renowned and needs no further introduction. Raviggiolo dell'Appennino tosco-romagnolo is another superb cheese made in the Apennine valleys. The cheese is made from cow's milk and should be eaten fresh. It has a delightful taste of hazelnuts.
Sweets: Emilia Romagna is much less known for its sweets than for its many sausages and hams. But as in most other regions in Italy good ice cream is always available.
Wine and vineyards: Emilia Romagna is mainly known for Lambrusco. However, other wines are also produced in the region and they improve with every year. Sangiovese is the preferred and most widely used Italian grape. But the use of international varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon is fairly widespread.
Below is a list of some of Emilia Romagna's best vineyards: Montericco, Tenuta Bonzara, Madonia Giovanna, Tenuta la Palazza, Castelluccio and San Patrignano.