6 Reasons To Visit Emilia-Romagna In 2024

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The Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy has everything. Art towns, lesser-known destinations and varied countryside. UNESCO World Heritage Sites, a rich history, and the oldest university in the world. Motor sports, outdoor activities, and a fabulous cuisine. Whatever your interests there is always something new to discover: here are some of the reasons to visit Emilia-Romagna in 2024.

1. Discover UNESCO World Heritage

Emilia-Romagna has a number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. There is the art city of Modena and the breath-taking mosaics of Ravenna. There are natural sites and intangible cultural heritage. And, right on the doorstep, is the independent city state of San Marino.

But the newest UNESCO site (added to the list in 2023) is the Evaporitic Karst and Caves. These chalk cliffs (known as Gessi) are the oldest formations in the northern Apennines. Around 20 million years old, they are home to more than 900 caves. The largest karst park is the Parco dei Gessi, a rugged landscape of hills and viewpoints. Although the caves are only accessible to serious cavers, walkers and climbers can follow numerous paths through the park. Or you can hike all or part of the 102 km Via dei Gessi e dei Calanchi (Gypsum and Ravine Path) between Bologna and Brisighella.

2. Explore The Coastal Town Of Rimini

The seaside town of Rimini has always attracted visitors. Its location by the Adriatic Sea and nearby national parks mean it is the perfect place for those in search of relaxation. But there is much more to Rimini than this. It has a historic old town with Roman remains, and it is home to the Federico Fellini International Museum, dedicated to the film director, who was born here in 1920. You’ll also find contemporary art and trendy new bars and entertainments.

So it is perhaps not surprising that Rimini is rising in popularity with tourists. And that it was a close contender for the title of Italian Capital of Culture in 2026.

Inside of museum with two large screens showing images from black and white films.
The Fellini Museum in Rimini (photograph copyright Emilia-Romagna Tourism)

3. Visit The Cinema Modernissimo In Bologna

The city of Bologna has lots to offer tourists: a historical centre, the famous porticos and – of course – world-famous cuisine.

But its latest offering is the Cinema Modernissimo. This historic underground theatre, which first opened in 1914, was a popular destination for filmgoers until it closed in 2007. However determined local efforts have now allowed it to re-open, and you can once again enjoy a film in its splendid Art Nouveau interior.

Panoramic view of Bologna looking down on the roof tops with several of the city's towers visible.
A panorama of the city of Bologna (photograph copyright Emilia-Romagna Tourism)

4. Enjoy The Thermal Baths

Visitors have been enjoying the thermal waters of Emilia-Romagna since Roman times. But an increased focus on wellbeing has seen a resurgence of interest in recent years. This region is particularly popular as the baths are often surrounded by peaceful countryside, ideal for hiking and relaxation.

Several spas are located in ornate historic buildings. Try the luxurious Salsomaggiore Terme, dating back to the Middle Ages, but now housed in a 1920s Liberty-style building. Or the 19th century Terme di Riolo, once frequented by royalty and poets such as Lord Byron. If you are staying in Bologna, the Mare Termale Bolognese has five different locations within the city.

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5. Savour The Food And Drink Of Emilia Romagna

Of course, no article like this would be complete without a mention of Emilia-Romagna’s food and drink scene. Italy’s Valley of Food is well known, with regional specialities such as prosciutto di parma (parma ham), parmesan cheese and traditional balsamic vinegar. Numerous food tours are available in Bologna and throughout the region.

But this is also a place for wine lovers. Wine has been grown here since Roman times, and modern day visitors can explore the region’s winegrowing heritage by exploring vineyards and stopping for a tasting. The Emilia-Romagna Wine Trail brings together different places where you can learn about winemaking while enjoying a combination of traditional foods and wines.

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And if you are here on 21 June you can help to celebrate World Lambrusco Day. Lambrusco is almost exclusive to Italy, and the best varieties are to be found in Emilia-Romagna. Where better to taste this famous sparkling wine than in the vineyards where the grape is grown?

Not to be missed when you visit Emilia-Romagna - a large bunch of black Lambrusco grapes in front of out of focus leaves.
Local Lambrusco grapes (photograph copyright Emilia-Romagna Tourism)

6. Follow The Sentiero Dei Ducati

Those in search of a slow travel experience can now hike or cycle the Sentiero dei Ducati (Duchies Trail). Launched in 2021, this is part of the region’s network of ancient pilgrimage routes. The 160 km route (with different paths for hikers and for mountain bikers) starts in the village of Quattro Castella and ends in the port of Luni in Tuscany. On the way it traverses historic regions that were once ruled by Dukes, crossing the Apennines and passing vineyards, forests, castles and tiny villages.

Two people on a rocky hiking trail beside a stream with trees and bushes on either side.
The Sentiero dei Ducati (photograph copyright Emilia-Romagna Tourism)

Where To Stay When You Visit Emilia-Romagna

There is a wide range of accommodation available when you visit Emilia-Romagna, from spa hotels, to luxury establishments to more modest guesthouses. Have a look at the recommendations on booking.com.

About Bewitched by italy

Bewitched By Italy is owned and managed by Karen Warren.

I have been writing and travelling for many years (almost 70 countries at the last count), but Italy remains one of my favourite destinations. This website is my attempt to inform and inspire other travellers, and to share some of the things I’ve discovered along the way. Read more…

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