Home #WHERETONEXT Europe 24 Reasons to Visit Emilia Romagna in 2024

24 Reasons to Visit Emilia Romagna in 2024

The off the beaten track region in northern Italy, Emilia Romagna, is renowned for being rich in history, culture, motor sports and the ultimate foodie destination. Featuring lesser-known destinations – including Parma, Ravenna, Bologna and Rimini – Emilia Romagna offer travellers a rich history, value for money and, more importantly, superb food and wine.

Any visitor wanting a unique Italian getaway in 2024 should head to Emilia Romagna, which offers a ‘slow travel experience’ and an abundance of incredible landscapes and cultural activities. Below are 24 reasons to visit Emilia Romagna in 2024:

1. Explore the new UNESCO-listed Chalk Mountains and Caves

Emilia Romagna’s characteristic Chalk Mountains and Caves have been added to the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage Site list – on account of the phenomenon of ‘Karstification in the Evaporites and Caves of the Northern Apennines’. The Emilia Romagna mountain chalk cliffs, called Gessi, stretch for over 10km in the Emilia Romagna Apennines. They are the oldest formations in the iconic central Italian mountain chain, dating back some 20 million years, and are home to over 900 caves. Emilia Romagna boasts now 16 UNESCO-listed sites. https://emiliaromagnaturismo.it/en

2. Cycle like a pro in a host destination for Grand Départ, Tour de France

2024 will mark the 111th edition of the iconic Tour de France, and moreover, will be making tracks through the breath-taking region of Emilia Romagna for the Grand Départ, seeing it land on Italian soil for the first-time ever. Following kick off in Florence on 29 June 2024, cyclists will enter Emilia Romagna, passing through key check points in the region including Bologna, Rimini, Cesenatico and Piacenza, concluding its Emilia Romagna stretch in Torino. Globally recognised as a peerless cycling destination, Emilia Romagna boasts a wide variety of cycling routes and paths for all travellers. https://emiliaromagnaturismo.it/en/sport/cycling

3. Visit the fun coastal town of Rimini

Rimini beckons in 2024, offering timeless charm and modern allure. This coastal gem presents a blend of history, culture and stunning beaches. Explore the ancient Roman architecture, like the Arch of Augustus, and the Federico Fellini International Museum – the world’s largest museum devoted to the life and work of the Italian film director and screenwriter. Rimini boats an impressive ranking of the world’s third “most buzzing places in 2024” according to Skyscanner, with it seeing a +362% year-on-year increase in online searches. Rimini has presented its application to become Italian Capital of Culture in 2026. https://emiliaromagnaturismo.it/en/towns#provincia=Rimini

4. Follow the trail of Enzo Ferrari in Motor Valley

To celebrate the upcoming release of the film Ferrari, the biopic of Enzo Ferrari – the visionary behind one of the world’s most iconic sports car brands – Emilia Romagna calls automotive enthusiasts and adventurers to follow in Enzo’s footsteps with a visit to the region in 2024. From enjoying a test drive at Imola race track and learning the art of precision driving a Varano Melegari Circuit to visiting the two Ferrrari museums in the region, visitors have plenty of options to immerse themselves in Emilia Romagna’s peerless motorsport culture.

5. Explore the speed at the Motor Valley Fest (Modena, 2-5 May 2024)

Motor sport fans should secure tickets to the Motor Valley Fest 2024. This is a celebration of engines, innovation, culture, and the food and wine of this unique region, taking place in the city of Modena, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hot on the heels of the Motor Valley Fest is the annual Emilia Romagna Grand Prix where racing fanatics can witness the pros in action. Taking place over 63 laps of the old school, 4.909-kilometre Imola race track, there is no racing experience like it. Dates have been confirmed for the 2024 season, with the grand tour arriving on Italian soil from 17-19 May, where Ferrari will have a presence.

6. Pay a visit to Bologna’s renewed Cinema Modernissimo

Bologna’s iconic Cinema Modernissimo, built in 1914 as an underground cinema, has just re-opened its doors to the public. Cinema Modernissimo has been restored to its early twentieth-century beauty and has become the city’s latest venue for disseminating cinematographic culture. The interiors of the auditoriums have returned to their original Liberty style splendour, creating the prerequisites for a top quality viewing experience in line with modern technological standards, both in terms of image rendering and of sound quality. https://emiliaromagnaturismo.it/en/towns/bologna

7. Celebrate Guercino: a fusion of art, culture and history

Emilia Romagna is hosting a grand tribute to the illustrious Baroque artist, Guercino, in recognition of his unparalleled contributions to the destination. The celebration launched this autumn and will continue throughout 2024. Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, better known as Guercino, was born in Cento, Emilia Romagna in 1591. His artistic genius illuminated the Baroque era with emotional vibrancy and an unmistakable style. Emilia Romagna invites visitors to enjoy a series of Guercino-related activities in 2024, each a testament to his exceptional talent and creativity. https://emiliaromagnaturismo.it/en/search?q=guercino

8. Get pampered at the region’s thermal baths  

In the first eight months of 2023, the Emilia Romagna Thermal Baths recorded an 18% increase compared to the same period in 2022, which shows the popularity of spas and relaxing holidays. Emilia Romagna is home to several renowned thermal towns since Roman times, which offer regenerating benefits. Therapeutic waters are ideal for a relaxing stay focused on wellbeing and slow living, surrounded by the wilderness or regions and National Parks, with outdoor activities including hiking. https://emiliaromagnaturismo.it/en/spa-wellness/thermal-establishments

9. Discover the history of the Italian tricolour flag at Reggio Emilia

For those who love Italy’s tricolour flag and what it has represented in modern history, a visit to the city of Reggio Emilia is a must. It was in this city, in the heart of the Po Valley, that on 7 January 1797, one of the most important pages of Italian history was written. The city’s Tricolour Flag Museum documents the historical and political context that led to the birth of the Italian flag. https://emiliaromagnaturismo.it/en/art-culture/art-cities/italian-tricolour-flag-reggio-emilia

10. Have a pleasant game of golf

A one-of-a-kind experience, Emilia Golf Experience offers the opportunity to completely immerse visitors in this fascinating sport, surrounded by the natural beauty and culture of Emilia Romagna. In just 100 kilometres, golfers can find five golf courses set in extraordinary landscapes: the Croara Country Club (Piacenza); the Golf Salsomaggiore Terme and the Golf del Ducato (Parma); the Matilde di Canossa Golf Club and the San Valentino Golf Club (Reggio Emilia). Offering 23 golf courses, ranging from 9, 18 and 27 holes, Emilia Romagna is the perfect place for both beginners and professional golfers. www.emiliaromagnaturismo.it/en/sport/golf

11. Where food takes central stage

Emilia Romagna is celebrated as the gastronomic heart of Italy, famed for its exquisite culinary offerings. From the crumbly, aged perfection of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese to the sweet, syrupy richness of traditional balsamic vinegar, every bite in Emilia Romagna is a revelation. Delight in handmade pasta dishes like tortellini and tagliatelle, prepared with unwavering dedication to tradition. The trattorias and osterias that line the cobbled streets in cities like Bologna and Ferrara serve up mouth-watering flavours, creating a sensory journey for visitors. https://emiliaromagnaturismo.it/en/food-valley

12. Taste the king of cheeses: Parmigiano Reggiano

PDO Parmigiano Reggiano is perhaps one of Italy’s most internationally recognised delicacies and is used in a range of traditional dishes such as passatelli or perfect marriage with tagliatelle al ragù. Parmigiano Reggiano has a unique, well-recognizable aroma and flavour, which vary according to the maturation time. www.emiliaromagnaturismo.it/en/food-valley/dop-igp-products/pdo-parmigiano-reggiano

13. Spin your salads with Traditional Balsamic Vinegar

Modena is home to one of the world’s most esteemed vinegars – balsamic vinegar aka ‘aceto balsamico tradizionale di Modena’. Here, visitors have the chance to visit the first ‘theme’ park in Europe dedicated to balsamic vinegar of Modena – ‘Balsamic Village’. Covering 40,000 square metres with 70 hectares of vineyards, cellars, paths and illustrative panels, guests can discover and learn about the traditional production method of Modena’s unique product. www.balsamicovillage.it

14. Accompany the food with a great glass of vino

Emilia Romagna boasts a storied winemaking tradition, producing an array of wines, each with a unique character. Whether sipping Lambrusco’s effervescent charm or indulging in the robust notes of Sangiovese, the vineyards of Emilia Romagna offer a sensory journey through Italy’s winegrowing heritage. Wine enthusiasts can tour picturesque vineyards, meet passionate winemakers and savour tastings in the various cellars. A great way to do is by following the region’s wine trail, starting in Bertinoro – known as the “city of wine” – and finishing in Dozza, where the Emilia Romagna Wine Cellar can be found and visited. https://emiliaromagnaturismo.it/en/itineraries/on-the-wine-trail

15. Discover Tresigallo, the metaphysical city (Ferrara)

Located near Ferrara, Tresigallo is a twentieth century town and a small capital of Italian Rationalism, the successful attempt at very modern town planning. Tresigallo in fact, is an ancient town of medieval origin. Its most important period started from the 1930s, when Edmondo Rossoni, an inhabitant of the town and the Minister of Agriculture in Mussolini’s government, transformed it according to the canons of rationalist architecture. Tresigallo is one of the few examples of a foundation city to be recognised as a “city of art” which is worth a visit next year. https://emiliaromagnaturismo.it/en/itineraries/discovering-tresigallo-the-metaphysical-city

16. Explore the ‘Little Venice’ in Comacchio

The small village of Comacchio rises in the middle of a lagoon of the same name and was originally built by 13 small islands formed at the mouth of the Po River with the sea. ‘Little Venice’ is today characterised by a historical centre crossed by a dense network of canals – hence the nickname of ‘the floating city’. www.emiliaromagnaturismo.it/en/towns/comacchio

17. Birdwatch at the Po Delta Park

Po Delta Park is one of the most beautiful oases in Italy and the second largest wetland in Europe, hosting hundreds of animal and plant species. The vast UNESCO-listed area holds several lagoons, woodlands, small islands, making it a real paradise for naturalists, biologists, tourists and birdwatchers. www.emiliaromagnaturismo.it/en/nature-outdoor/natural-parks/po-delta-park

18. Stroll around the city of Renaissance: Ferrara

Ferrara, also known as the city of Renaissance, is a remarkable city with unique characteristics and precisely why it obtained UNESCO recognition in 1995. The city, although designed in the Renaissance, has recently gone through profound development of urban planning, making it the perfect combination of historical and modern landscape. www.emiliaromagnaturismo.it/en/towns/ferrara

19. Hike or cycle the ‘Duchies Trail’ from Emilia Romagna to Tuscany

Launched in 2021, the Sentiero dei Ducati (the Duchies Trail) is the latest addition to Emilia Romagna’s network of ancient pilgrimage routes. It retraces the ancient routes contouring the borders of the historic Italian regions once ruled by a Duke or Duchess. Sentiero dei Ducati has two different trails: one for hikers (160km) and another for mountain bikers (90km) – both of them starting in the picturesque village of Quattro Castella (Emilia Romagna) and ending in the ancient Roman port of Luni (Tuscany). The path covers the most spectacular corners of the northern Apennines, crossing vineyards, castles, ancient churches, stone made villages, fresh streams and beech forests that will delight bikers and cyclists alike. https://camminiemiliaromagna.it/en/cammino/21-sentiero-dei-ducati

20. Admire the starred sky of Galla Placidia

Considered as one of the most valuable treasures of the city of Ravenna, the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia is one of the city’s oldest buildings and a UNESCO World Heritage monument since 1996. The breath-taking mosaics, described by UNESCO as “among the best surviving examples of this form of art in Europe,” is the starry sky that drapes parts of the ceiling, enhanced by the golden pours through the tiny alabaster windows, create a magical atmosphere. www.ravennamosaici.it

21. Get lost at the Labirinto della Masone

The Labirinto della Masone is the largest bamboo labyrinth in the world – made with 200,000 bamboo plants between 30 cm and 15 metres in height. The path through it is over 3 kilometres in length. Within the connected building, visitors can find an art collection, a restaurant, and two suites to spend the night. www.labirintodifrancomariaricci.it/en/labirinto-masone/labyrinth/#section0d

22. Visit Italy’s only Tibetan monastery

In the sleepy stone village of Votigno di Canossa, 24km southwest of the city of Reggio Emilia, visitors can find  Europe’s first (and Italy’s only) Tibetan monastery. Inaugurated by the Dalai Lama in 1990, the complex includes a Tibetan temple, museum and B&B. It’s a quiet and quirky place for contemplation nestled among the enchanting green hills of Reggio Emilia. www.emiliaromagnaturismo.it/en/towns/canossa

23. Go underground in Santarcangelo di Romagna  

The village of Santarcangelo di Romagna, located 10km west of the seaside town of Rimini, is an idyllic medieval town featuring an ancient castle, charming alleyways, triumphant arches and a variety of restaurants. However, lurking below ground, a patchwork of over 150 caves, galleries and tunnels dug from the sandstone and clay unravels below. This mysterious parallel city was used in the Middle Ages, some say to ensure survival during months-long sieges (grain, wine and perishable food storage is abundant in the concealed underground world), though its actual construction date and purpose remains a mystery unsolved.  www.emiliaromagnaturismo.it/en/towns/santarcangelo-di-romagna

24. Take a sip of sparkling wine on World Lambrusco Day

World Lambrusco Day falls on 21st June of each year, where wine lovers can enjoy a sip of the iconic sparkling wine. The wine is almost exclusively produced in Italy with over 60 grape varieties of the wine being found across Italy, with those considered the best to be grown in Emilia Romagna. Sip and discover the different varieties of the wine whilst learning more about its history. www.emiliaromagnaturismo.it/en/food-valley/wines/the-lands-of-pdo-lambrusco