Known for medieval cities, robust gastronomy, and fountains of frothy Lambrusco as far as the eye can see, Emilia-Romagna is home to some of Italy’s most dynamic places to visit. Whether exploring food-centric towns or posting up in a piazza with a glass of local wine is more your jam, Emilia-Romagna’s got the answer. Check out where to stay, what to drink, and everything you need to know about this vibrant northerly region, here.

Region: Emilia-Romagna

Where to Stay: Bologna

When hitting Emilia-Romagna, making Bologna your home base is definitely a good idea. Aside from being the region’s capital and largest city, Bologna is also centrally located, making it easy to access Modena, Ravenna, and other major cities within the region.

Unlike other major Italian cities, residing lavishly in Bologna won’t cost you too much money. For those looking to do Bologna on the high-end, the Grand Hotel Majestica gia Baglioni is where it’s at. These luxury suites are located inside an 18th-century palazzo, which includes a fine dining restaurant and a spa.

For more modest accommodations, the Art Hotel Commercianti is equally as delightful. Located in a 13-th century guild hall, this cozy and rustic accommodation offers an on-site café, fitness room, and an ideally central location.

What to Drink: Emilia-Romagna is world-renowned for its fun, fizzy, and easy-to-drink Lambrusco production. Produced from its eponymous grape, Lambrusco is made in styles ranging from bone dry to sticky sweet and is beloved for its signature frothy effervescence. The wines’ slight residual sugar, soft fizz, and overall fruit-forward flavor profile makes it perfect for sipping all throughout the day.

What (and Where) to Eat: The food scene in Emilia-Romagna is quite robust, so be sure to arrive on an empty  stomach. The region is best known for its Parmigiano Reggiano (Parma) and balsamic vinegar (Modena) production, as well as its stuffed pastas. Lasagne, tortellini, and cappelletti are just a few of the region’s signature dishes, most of which are produced with generous amounts of seasonings, spices, and local meats. Salumi boards are cheese plates are served throughout the day, generally accompanied by — you guessed it — a carafe of refreshing Lambrusco. 

Although very hard to get into, trying your hand at a reservation at Osteria Francescana (Modena) is a must for global foodies. This 3-Michelin-Starred restaurant by Massimo Bottura consistently finds itself in the The World’s 50 Best Restaurants year after year — and it’s really no surprise why. 

For those staying in the city, Osteria dell’Orsa is one of Bologna’s greatest gems, and to really end your meal on a high note, we recommend washing it down with homemade gelato from Cremeria Cavour, one of the best gelaterias in all of Italy.

Where to Explore: Emilia-Romagna is located in northern Italy and is best known for its medieval villages, hearty food scene, and rustic seaside resorts. Spending a day or two diving into the city of Bologna and all of its Middle Age charm is a must. Be sure to visit the city’s Two Towers and Basilica di San Petronio, and of course, set aside copious amounts of time for people watching and aperitivo hours in Piazza Maggiore. 

Once you’ve gotten your fill in the city’s capital, hit the seaside town of Ravenna (approx. one hour drive) on the Adriatic coast. Ravenna is best known for its vibrant Byzantine mosaics, many of which are located in the Mausoleo di Teodorico and Basilica di San Vitale.

Modena and Parma also make excellent day trips from Bologna. Sports car lovers and foodies alike will fall in love with Modena, which is home to the Enzo Ferrari Museum, Duomo di Modena, and Piazza Grande (ideal people watching). 

Wineries to Visit: For those looking to dive into Lambrusco and its many forms, Podere il Saliceto (Modena) offers a diverse expression of the wine, each vinified from a different type of Lambrusco grape. Fourth-generation Lini Lambrusco is also a classic staple, and Danny Bini over ad Podere Cipolla is also making elegant yet easy-drinking expressions of the wine.