Emilia Romagna & San Marino
Located in the north of central Italy, extending from the Apennine mountains to the fertile Po River Valley (UNESCO World Heritage listed) and Adriatic Coast. It is known for its elegant cities, unique architecture, history as a trading centre and rich gastronomic delights. The capital, Bologna, is a vibrant university town with arched porticos lining the streets and medieval and Renaissance structures. Ravenna, near the Adriatic coast, is famed for its brightly coloured, UNESCO World Heritage listed, Byzantine mosaics.
Follow a food trail across this region from Bologna to Parma, taking in Ferrara, Modena and Ravenna. Taste parmigiano cheese and ham in Parma, balsamic vinegar in Modena, bolognese sauce or ragu in Bologna and perhaps even drive a Ferrari!
To appreciate the true beauty of Italian artisanship, you must visit the small triangle of land between Modena and Bologna, called ‘Motor Valley’, where the world’s finest luxury cars, namely Ferrari, Lamborghini and Pagani, are made.
San Marino is a mountainous microstate surrounded by north-central Italy. Among the world’s oldest republics, it retains much of its historic architecture. On the slopes of Monte Titano sits the capital, also called San Marino, known for its medieval walled old town and narrow cobblestone streets.
When to visit
Emilia-Romagna is a year-round destination. As elsewhere in Italy, spring and autumn are the loveliest times for touring. In August, hotel prices are at their highest on the coasts, but lowest in the cities as the locals abandon them for the beach.
The sights are rarely crowded and temperatures are mild. In many ways the cities can be at their best in winter as well: opera season runs from December to March, hotels are cheaper (though beware of major trade fairs), you can have many sights to yourself and the rich, hearty food of the region tastes best.
April - June
Spring offers mild temperatures and a lot of day light. Enjoy pleasant cycling weather on the Po plains and avoid summer crowds on Rimini's beaches.
June - August
Summer music festivals fill the agenda from Bologna to Ravenna.
September - October
Ideal hiking conditions in Parco Nazionale dell'Appennino Tosco-Emiliano. Autumn has the best food around the year such as truffles, mushrooms. chestnuts, mulled wine and many of food festivals.