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Journeys in SlowMotion in Emilia-Romagna

  • Slow Motion journeys in Italy
  • Slow Motion journeys in Italy
  • Slow Motion journeys in Italy
  • Slow Motion journeys in Italy
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See for yourself...
  • Prosciutto di Parma, Parmesan cheese & balsamic vinegar
  • the fine cities of Parma, Modena & Bologna
  • stay at a sumptuous rural wine estate
  • admire the eye-catching mosaics in Ravenna

 

In this most proudly regional of countries, Emilia-Romagna is one of Italy's least-known pockets – as far as visitors are concerned, at least. And yet, for anyone determined to penetrate the heart and soul of this great nation, Emilia-Romagna is perhaps the key. It's a hard-working, wealthy and progressive place: cradle of the innovative film directors Fellini, Bertolucci and Antonioni; and home to diverse talents such as Verdi, Pavarotti, Marconi and Ferrari. The three splendid cities of Bologna, Parma and Modena alone could deliver enough top-quality eating experiences to last a lifetime, and it is indeed the gastronomy that will leave the longest-lasting and most satisfying impression. Delicatessens burst at the seams with tasty morsels to buy – freshly stuffed tortelloni; silky, pale-pink Parma hams; and real-deal Parmigiano-Reggiano chese – and the highly prized balsamic vinegar from Modena is rightly and respectfully revered.

Read on to discover more of what Emilia-Romagna has to offer...

Gastronomic Parma

With a refined air of contentment and wellbeing, Parma is the city you never knew you had to visit. As you find yourself sipping full-bodied Sangiovese wine in regal, Art Nouveau cafés; or listening to the lyrical strains of Verdi wafting from architecturally dramatic opera houses; or savouring Prosciutto di Parma (the city’s locally air-cured ‘Parma ham’) and aged Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, having marvelled at a wealth of art, antiquities and splendid churches (the octagonal, pink-marbled Baptistry is a Romanesque jewel), you will wonder what on earth kept you away.

Masterly Modena

Modena, for many Italians, is a byword for style, class and – let’s face it – money. But the ‘Mink City’ (it boasts Italy’s highest per capita income) is also one of the nation's great gastronomic centres. Here you will encounter giant tortellini (called tortelloni ) stuffed with delectable fillings, sparkling Lambrusco wine, and streets crammed with some of the most enjoyable restaurants you could ever hope to grace with your appetite. And then there is the balsamic vinegar: distilled from Trebbiano grapes and fermented through a series of progressively smaller casks, its finest examples attain a tantalising balance between sweet and sour, and can fetch some distinctly eye-watering prices.

The Need for Speed

Even a Slow discovery of Emilia-Romagna cannot realistically be completed without an injection of pace. Automobili Lamborghini has been turning out luxury sports cars from its base in Sant’Agata Bolognese since 1963; and Maserati of Modena is another famous purveyor of these shiny beasts of the road. But for those with a need for speed, the town of Maranello is the place to zoom. After visiting this spiritual home of the iconic red racing car, location for the Ferrari factory and museum, you can even take to the hills for a test drive – the famous black prancing horse on your bonnet, atop a ferocious Ferrari engine.

La Dotta, La Grassa, La Rossa

Bologna’s three-way soubriquet – ‘the Learned, the Fat, and the Red’ – celebrates the city, Emilia-Romagna’s capital, as an ancient seat of learning (the university, founded in 1088, is the oldest in the western world); its astonishingly rich food culture; and the longstanding Bolognese penchant for left-wing politics. But La Rossa (‘the red one’) also alludes to the terracotta medieval buildings, best admired from the top of the taller of the two leaning towers (Due Torri ), as well as its miles and miles of porticoes. These form some of the most attractive walkways imaginable, and will lead you – via 666 arches – to the hill-top Sanctuary of San Luca for magisterial views.

Borgo Condé 'Wine Resort'

Among the Predappio Hills, whose fertile landscapes have helped to nurture grapes for over six centuries, lies Borgo Condé. This alluring venture from the Condello family has just about everything – particularly if you are partial to a drop or two of rich red wine. There are no fewer than three restaurants to choose from (we include a tasting menu on the first evening); superlative views over rolling vineyards; an indoor and outdoor pool, plus a spa; and a wine shop. And although it’s a place you will find hard to leave, the surrounding countryside is a delight to discover by car or by bike.

The Art of Eating Well

It is perhaps Emilia-Romagna, more than any other region, that has elevated Italian eating to an art form, and no self-respecting foodie can consider a visit here complete without taking in Casa Artusi in Forlimpopoli. This renovated church now pays homage to Pellegrino Artusi, the father of Italian cooking whose celebrated tome, The Science of Cooking and the Art of Fine Dining, adorns bookshelves across the country, and is devoted to all things gastronomic through its restaurant, wine cellar and cookery school, as well as its library, bookshop and museum.

Remarkable Ravenna

For mosaic lovers, and for those with an eye for Byzantine art, Ravenna is an earthly paradise. Famous for their expressiveness and bright colours, and spread out over several churches and baptisteries around town, these dazzling, early Christian artworks are testament to a three-century period (from 402 AD), when Ravenna ruled the roost as capital of the Western Roman Empire. Described by Dante as a “symphony of colour”, these mosaics are guaranteed to seize your attention, and, on occasions, suspend your belief.

Lucky Feet

Legend relates that when Ravenna was besieged by the Goths, the anguished General Belisario said to his wife: “If I could only put my foot there!”  Wanting to offer her husband a little encouragement, she prepared some foot-shaped dough, and proceeded to cook it as some kind of Byzantine-era, edible good luck charm. When he returned victorious (thanks, no doubt, to the lucky ‘foot’), piede  in Italian morphed into “piadina”, and a famously traditional snack – flatbreads that can be filled with a variety of cheeses, meats or vegetables – was born.
To delve deeper and linger longer, we suggest:
An Italian Food Adventure
Journey in Italy
Emilia-Romagna, gastronomic Italy's heart and soul
Savour a foodie discovery of Emilia-Romagna, the gastronomic heart of Italy, taking in the cities of Bologna, Parma and Modena along the way. New.
read more >
1 Apr-6 Aug & 13 Sep-31 Oct 2017
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