Emilia Romagna (The Garden of Italy)
Covering an area of 22,000 sq. km, Emilia Romagna has a population of just under 4 million. The region is very rich in historical character and contains major cities such as Bologna (approx. 1 to 1 ½ hours drive away) , where the oldest university in the world is to be found or Parma, famed as the home of Verdi and Toscanini. Bordered by the Mediterranean Sea on one side the area contains settled and industrial plains (mostly producing ceramic products), farmland, producing a wide variety of crops and the wild mountainous areas of the Apennine mountains, famed for their skiing, trekking, spectacular scenery and a magnet for tourists. The associations area of expertise and where most of our properties are to be found is centred in and around the Apennine region, mostly within the ‘Parco Giganti’ (the Park of the Giant), a National Park and an area of outstanding natural beauty, internationally renowned for its wealth and diversity of flora and fauna and superb skiing facilities (within a ½ hours drive there is a choice of around 6 first-class ski resorts. In this area, the seasons and the temperature follow a clearly defined pattern. In the height of the summer months the temperature will rise to 30 – 32 degrees C. However, because this is a mountainous region, the temperature does not get oppressive and humid, remaining instead wonderfully hot and comfortable. In the winter it can drop to below freezing, though not for long, with 3 maybe 4 heavy snow falls. These ‘storms’ usually last for 1-2 days and will deposit snow drifts of up to 3mts.
Food and Drink
Also known as the ‘Food Kitchen’ of the North, Emilia-Romagna is without doubt the region where Italy’s best food is produced. The local specialities, famous throughout the world, include Parmesan cheese, Parma ham, Lasagne, Balsamic Vinegar and Tortellini stuffed with meat, vegetables and herbs.
Lambrusco is the most renowned wine produced from the local vineyards, famed for its delicacy and fragrance, it is the champion amongst sparking table wines. In the autumn, it is common to pick wild Porcini mushrooms and blueberries. Found in the foothills of the mountains, there are many outlets for locally grown natural produce. Naturally, for an area that takes so much pride on the superb quality of its food, there are a multitude of amazing restaurants and trattorias where you can be sure of eating superbly for very little money.
Landscape & National Parks
The National and Regional parks represent the “green heart” of Emilia Romagna and testify to the importance attributed to the protection and promotion of the natural beauty and landscapes of the region. The Casentinesi Woods, the Gigante Regional Park, the Park of the Corno alle Scale and the Delta of the River Po are the principal green oasis to be explored horse-riding, walking or skiing. The region offers all the peace and tranquillity one could desire.
Recreation in Emilia Romagna
The region boasts sixteen premier Italian golf courses, canoeing, hot water spas and a world renowned observatory at Febbio and of course, not forgetting the wonderful hot sandy beaches along either the Adriatic or the Mediterranean Coast.
History & Culture
Unified in 1946, the regions of Emilia and Romagna joined together to form one of Italy’s wealthiest regions in art, history and culture. The region’s most notable cities are Bologna, Parma, Piacenza, Modena, Reggio Emilia, Rimini, Ravenna, Ferrara and the smaller town of Busseto. Each of them has something special to offer. The cultural center of the region is Bologna, hometown of the oldest university in Europe, a visit to Bologna will entice one to explore the ornate churches, medieval piazzas, immense towers and porticos that elegantly shelter and shade one’s way through the streets of this historic city. The region is renowned for beautiful Byzantine mosaics and historic paintings.
The Apennines and surrounding Area
The irregular Apennine peaks mark the border between Emilia and Tuscany and in the middle of these peaks sits the Bismantova, a magnificent sandstone plateau. Its structure, awesome and mysterious, is a breathtaking symbol of the whole region. Here you will find an environment completely unpolluted. Around you are Beech and Chestnut woods, trees which have been there for hundreds of years, wild fruit is everywhere to be picked: blackberries, blueberries, strawberries and even Porcini mushrooms, while overhead the blue sky promises another wonderful day.
Throughout the year the Apennines are ideal for sports activities, walking trails, gastronomic excursions hunting for chestnuts or mushrooms; in winter the white mountains and the ski resorts are very popular and have contributed to the success of ski champions such as Alberto Tomba. Emilia-Romagna also offers a wide variety of opportunities for cyclists. Every year a growing number of cyclists from all Europe decide to visit Emilia-Romagna, where they can experience the joy of cycling in the valleys and the hills or along the ridge of the Apennines. The area is also a favourite with mountaineers and rock climbers, especially the Pietra di Bismantova (Bismantova Stone). For the less active sports enthusiasts Emilia Romagna is the Centre of the Sports Car and Motorcycle world. With the likes of Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini and Ducati (home to one of the finest motorbike producers in the world), all having their museums and factory’s in this region (all of which can be visited, making for a wonderful day out) there really is no better place to visit for the motor sports enthusiast.
Towns & Villages
Emilia Romagna boasts some of the most beautiful towns in Italy overflowing with Byzantine art, architecture and historical character. Naturally, Italy would not be Italy unless there were festivals! with any excuse to relax in wonderful surroundings and indulge yourself in the local food, wine, colour and pageantry. Throughout the long hot summer days and evenings, the tranquil landscape is enlivened by small villages with their traditional popular customs celebrating their heritage with either a grand festival or an open-air feast, where anyone and everybody is freely welcomed. Generally, during the summer months, there is either a festival, fair or celebration taking place in the area somewhere locally every day of the week.