Environmentally-conscious travellers looking to reduce their carbon footprint this year should consider visiting the northern Italian region of Emilia Romagna. With some of Europe’s fastest trains and most scenic routes, Emilia Romagna is a great place for rail travel enthusiasts who wish to make more sustainable choices when travelling this year.
The railway network in the region provides fast connections with Northern, Central and Southern Italy. Trenitalia’s and Italo’s high-speed trains (AV) connect the Bologna and Reggio Emilia train stations, in Emilia Romagna, to an array of cities around Italy – including Milan, Turin, Verona, Bolzano, Florence, Venice, Rome and Naples. However, for those looking to explore more locally and lovers of leisurely and authentic travel, regional trains are easily accessible too – providing a perfect solution by connecting all cities like a back bone.
Stretching from the Apennine Mountains to the wetlands of the Po Delta and down to the Adriatic coast, Emilia Romagna is the ultimate destination for travellers seeking to enjoy superb local Italian cuisine, a rich history, culture, and artwork from world-renowned artists – all reachable by train.
Following the path of the ancient roman road Via Emilia here are some of the best places to visit by train in Emilia Romagna:
Piacenza – Discover the authentic ‘food valley’
(1 hour by train from Milan)
Named ‘pleasant place’ by the Romans, Piacenza is located at the centre of the Po River Valley. Only 41 miles from Milan, travellers can reach Piacenza by train in just over an hour. Here, foodies will be able to discover and explore the real ‘food valley’ and one of the biggest producers of PDO cured meats, cheeses and D.O.C (Controlled Designation of Origin) wines – including Gutturnio, Malvasia, and Ortrugo. The real attraction of the city, however, is the Duomo dedicated to Saint Mary of the Assumption and Saint Justina. The Duomo brings together original architecture with examples of the Emilian Romanesque style and Gothic elements from a later restructuring.
Parma – Indulge in the city’s creative gastronomy
(30 minutes by train from Piacenza)
The second largest city in Emilia Romagna, Parma is known as the gastronomic centre of the ‘Italian food valley’ and has recently been proclaimed a UNESCO Creative City for Gastronomy. Boasting a range of excellent and unique culinary experiences, travellers will be able to indulge in authentic local delicacies such as wold renowned Parmigiano Reggiano, Salami di Felino and Prosciutto di Parma. South of the city, the Langhirano valley is home to approximately 500 authrised producers of the famous Parma ham (known locally as Prosciutto di Parma).
Modena – From famous race tracks to UNESCO World Heritage Sites
(30 minutes by train from Parma)
Located at the heart of Emilia Romagna, Modena is known for its famous racetracks. Home to prominent race car and motorbike brands such as Ferrari, Lamborghini and Maserati — it boasts impressive architectural treasures and rich a cultural life, making the city a perfect blend of innovation and tradition. Known has the land of motors, and often referred to as ‘Motor Valley’, Modena offers racing and motor enthusiasts a high concentration of car and motorcycle manufactures, including motor racing tracks, museums and collectors all in one place. This year, Modena will be the host of a four-day celebration, Motor Valley Fest, which will take place 11-14 May. The motor racing event will include shows, exhibitions and activities designed for all two and four-wheel enthusiasts. On the other hand, for those looking to immersive themselves in culture, the multifaceted city of Modena offers a range of attractions. This includes three architectural works that have become UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Modena Duomo, the Torre Civica (known as the Ghirlandina), and the Piazza Grande.
Bologna – Experience the food capital of the world
(33 minutes by train from Modena)
The historical capital of Bologna is located between the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines and the Po River Valley. Recently voted food capital of the world, Bologna offers an array of local delicaticies including Mortadella, and home made fresh pasta like tortellini and tagliatelle al ragù.. Also known as ‘The Learned’ for its old University and ‘The Fat’ for its food tradition, the city is host to one of the largest and most well-preserved medieval historical centres – as well as being full of restaurants, taverns, theatres, and shops. In addition to its long standing recognition as a ‘UNESCO creative City of Music’, in 2021 Bologna’s famed porticoes were awarded World Heritage Status by UNESCO.
Ferrara – Explore arts and culture in the city of Renaissance
(30 minutes by train from from Bologna)
Located between Bologna and Venice, Ferrara is also known as the City of Renaissance. It is a remarkable city with many unique characteristicts, which were awarded UNESCO recognition in 1995. Although designed in the Renaissance, the city has undergone profound developments for urban planning, tranforming it into a perfect combination of historical and modern landscapes. One of the easiest ways to explore Ferrara and its surroindings is by bike; visitors can cycle around the walls that embrace the historic centre (which is off-limits to motor traffic) and venture beyond the city and follow one of the many cycle-tourism paths available. No wonder Ferrara is renamed the “City of Bicycles”.
Ravenna – Sightsee the historical city by the Adriatic coast
(1 hour by train from Ferrara)
Having once served as a capital of the Western Roman Empire, Ravenna boasts a plethora of cultural and historic landmarks. Located between San Marino and Bologna, Ravenna is home to several UNESCO-listed sites including the Basilica of San Vitale, the Baptistery of Neon, the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, and the Mausoleum of Theodoric. Located only a few miles away from the beautiful Adriatic coastline, nine beaches can be found alongside a selection of hotels, restaurants and nightclubs. Here, travellers will be able to relax and unwind, while indulging in culture, food, and wine.
Rimini – Enjoy a refreshing dip and the beaches of the Adriatic Riviera
(58 minutes by train from Ravenna)
Located in the southern strip of Emilia Romagna, Rimini is one of the most famous seaside destinations on the Adriatic Riviera. Apart from attracting travellers for its attractive beaches, Rimini has some of the most interesting history and culture in the region. The city is home to the Federico Fellini International Museum – the world’s largest museum devoted to the life and work of the Italian film director and screenwriter and his poetic heritage. The museum unfolds along three important locations in Rimini’s old town: Sismondo Castle, Cinema Fulgor and Malatesta Square (‘Square of Dreams’). Additionally, the city centre offers a wide range of restaurants, shopping venues and activities to suit all tastes and travellers.
For further information on Emilia Romagna, please visit www.emiliaromagnaturismo.it/en