Italy: A cheesy affair with Ferraris in Emilia-Romagna

Bologna, Ravenna

Bologna, Pasta, Emilia-Romagna
Mosaics in Ravenna

       Bologna: 4 nights

       Ravenna: 2 nights

Map of Emilia Romagna

7 Days Itinerary

Emilia-Romagna is a region in Northern Italy, famous for its medieval cities and rich gastronomic traditions. Italy is considered the culinary capital of the world and Emilia-Romagna is known as the food capital of Italy. Across the fertile plains surrounding the Po river, signature ingredients of Italian cuisine are cultivated. 

Parmigiano Reggiano

The most famous products from this region are Parmigiano Reggiano cheese from Parma, Balsamic Vinegar from Modena, and Tortellini, Tagliatelle and Garganelli pasta from around Bologna. The wines from the surrounding vineyards and the artisanal Gelatos complement the foodie experience.

Ferrari Museum

Adding excitement to the culinary journey are the designer wheels manufactured in Emilia Romagna. The stretch of land along the Via Emilia is the birthplace of some of the world famous luxury vehicles and racing cars. Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini and Ducati, are all manufactured here, bringing joy to the motor enthusiasts touring Emilia Romagna. 

Bologna: 4 nights
(2 hours by car or train from Florence or Venice)


is the capital city of Emilia-Romagna and the 7th largest city in Italy. It is a historical city with a picturesque medieval center, squares fronted by porticoed walkways and beautiful churches. Bologna is also home to the world’s oldest university. Along with its extraordinary food culture, the character of the city makes it an attractive tourist destination. Visiting Bologna is easy since it is well connected to all the major cities around.

Making Bologna the base, it is easy to make day trips to the surrounding towns by car or train.

Day 1: Parma and Reggio Emilia

(Around 1 hour 15 minutes by car or train from Bologna)

Parmigiano Reggiano

is best known for the world famous Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, which is not to be confused with Parmesan! Parmigiano Reggiano is produced exclusively in Italy, and that too only in four of the provinces of Emilia-Romagna, Parma being one of them. The ingredients, the cattle feed and the aging process, all add up to make the perfect cheese. Its quality is classified under the PDO regulations.

Parmigiano Reggiano


Parmigiano Reggiano is a hard, dry cheese made from cow’s milk. It has a pale golden rind, granular texture and a complex  flavour. It is aged between 12 and 36 months. Parmigiano Reggiano is often called the “king of cheese” and is one of the oldest cheeses in the world. It has been produced for around a thousand years using just 3 natural ingredients: milk, salt and rennet. Italy exports Parmigiano Reggiano extensively around the world.

Visiting the dairies:

Società Agricola Saliceto:

Parma cheese

Founded in the 1960s, Società Agricola Saliceto produces Parmigiano Reggiano based on the traditions and expertise of the family’s forefathers. The importance given to farming the land and looking after the cattle results in the creation of high quality cheese. 

Parmigiano Reggiano farms

The guided tour of the factory showcases the production process with cutting edge equipment and historic tools used to create each wheel. The warehouse where the aging takes place is a unique sight. At the end of the tour, a tasting is offered in the shop and one can buy the cheese too. 

Caseificio San Pier Damiani
Caseificio San Pier Damiani

Founded by Pietro Delsante in 1846, Caseificio (Cheese factory) San Pier Damiani is still run by the family, earning them a listing on the register of Historic Italian Companies. It has its own farms and breeds its own cattle. All the stages of production, from fodder to final product, are adhered to with the focus on the highest quality.

A visit leads you through the entire process ending with a tasting. A cooking class is also offered for those who are interested.

Caseificio San Bernardino

Caseificio San Bernardino
is a family run dairy for four generations, producing Parmigiano Reggiano cheese in accordance with the golden rules of cheese making tradition. The Caramaschi family has been handing down the expertise and passion for the art of cheese making, resulting in a product of the highest quality. There is a fully equipped modern facility with all aspects of production under careful control.

Parmigiano Reggiano

There is a factory tour available and a wonderful shop amongst  beautiful surroundings.

Parma Sightseeing:

Parma is a university town, famed mainly for Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and Parma ham. But the Romanesque architecture of the old city center is also noteworthy, especially the Cattedrale di Parma (Cathedral) and the Battistero di Parma (Baptistery).


Reggio Emilia:
(30 minutes from Parma and 1 hour from Bologna)

Reggio Emilia

Reggio Emilia
is a charming town situated between Parma and Modena. It is a town known for its art, gastronomy, lifestyle quality and “the best kindergartens in the world”. 

The historic art and architecture are best represented by the 17th century Basilica della Ghiara and Teatro Municipale Valli. And contemporary creations can be seen in the bridges designed by the famous architect Santiago Calatrava for the Alta Velocità railway station. There are many bakeries and pastry shops to indulge the culinary cravings.

Day 2: Modena
(Around 50 minutes from Bologna)


Modena, located in the heart of the Emilia-Romagna region, is famous for its barrel-aged balsamic vinegar and the super fast luxury cars Ferrari and Lamborghini. The town has its own charm too with a historic center which is a lively area, surrounded by palaces, churches and richly adorned monuments. Cafés, restaurants and museums add to the city’s appeal. The vineyards surrounding the town produce the great sparkling wine of the region, Lambrusco. It is also the birthplace of the late world renowned tenor Luciano Pavarotti

Balsamic Vinegar

Referred to as “Black Gold”, the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena (Aceto Balsamico tradizionale di Modena) is renowned worldwide for its high quality. Exported to over 120 countries, it is an ambassador of Italian gastronomic excellence in the world. It enjoys PDO (“Protected Denomination of Origin”) status by the EU.

Balsamic Vinegar is made by heating the juice of freshly pressed grapes into a ‘must’, which is then aged in large wooden barrels. The wood of the cask can be mulberry, oak, juniper or cherry. The aging period is at least 12 years and up to 25 years. The grapes used are from the Modena region, typically Trebbiano and Lambrusco

Balsamic vinegar

Balsamic Vinegar of Modena is widely used as a condiment, or in starters, mains, desserts and cocktails. 

Some of the vinegar factories around Modena:

Acetaia Malpighi:

Acetaia Malpighi

The Malpighi family
has been producing the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena for five generations. Pietro Malpighi in 1850 to Massimo Malpighi, the current president, share the same passion and respect for a strong tradition, resulting in a globally recognised brand. Acetaia Malpighi has won many awards over the years in recognition of its quality. It exports 70% of its production to more than 65 countries.

Acetaia Malpighi

Apart from the Vinegars, Acetaia Malpighi also makes Dark Dressings, Wine Vinegar, Condiments, Jellies etc. A tour of the facility is available with a comprehensive tasting at the end. 

Acetaia San Matteo

Learning from and carrying forward the legacy of her grandmother, Sania, along with her husband Luciano, runs the
Acetaia San Matteo. Together they produce a high quality Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena. They have a traditional loft above their home where the barrels are stored. A visit and a tasting are available and give an insight into their passion and tradition.

Acetaia di Giorgio
Acetaia Leonardi
Acetaia Marchi

Established in 1910, Acetaia Marchi represents a great family passion for the production of Balsamic Vinegar of Modena. Traditional methods combined with high quality raw materials and dedication result in an authentic Balsamic Vinegar. Acetaia Marchi offers a variety of Balsamic condiments too along with the Vinegar. It uses a natural, artisanal and manual manufacturing process to deliver the best products for the connoisseurs. 

Acetaia Marchi

A visit to the factory begins with a
guided tour through the vineyards and then to the cellars to understand the production process, ending with a tasting of the Black Gold of Modena in the shop. 

Sightseeing in Modena:

Modena has many attractions, some of them being Duomo di Modena, Piazza Grande, Casa Museo Luciano Pavarotti and Mercator Albinelli.


Day 3: Luxury Wheels

Map of Emilia Romagna

This area around the Via Emilia is home to some of the most famous automotive brands in the world. Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini, Pagani and Ducati, all have their birthplace in this region of  Emilia-Romagna. No wonder this area is known as Italy’s Motor Valley. Visiting the factories and museums is a dream come true for all the motor enthusiasts. 

Museo Ferrari

For Ferrari lovers, there are two museums that can be visited. 

One is the Museo Enzo Ferrari in Modena, which provides information on the life of the founder, Enzo Ferrari and the company that he built. It comprises the original farmhouse where Enzo was born, lived and worked. A futuristic exhibition gallery has been added later which displays a collection of vintage Ferraris as well as new prototypes. The all encompassing yellow aluminum roof represents the molded metal skin and the air vents of the Ferrari car, forever immortalizing it. The museum is visited by car lovers and architects alike for its tremendous architectural value.

Museo Ferrari

The other one is the Museo Ferrari Maranello, located in Maranello, a few miles outside Modena. It tells the Ferrari brand story right from the beginning, along with a display of its most famous F1 cars, sports prototypes and the commercial cars. A tour of the factory from outside and that of the test track is included.

Museo Lamborghini

The Lamborghini Museum celebrates the life of the founder Ferruccio Lamborghini. It narrates the fascinating history of the brand and displays the iconic models showcasing the innovative engineering and design sensibilities of a brilliant entrepreneur. A tour of the factory gives insights into the production process.

Museo Ducati

The Ducati Factory and Museum tour are a great way to discover all about these super bikes. The Ducati Museum narrates the history of the company from its origins to the present day. It exhibits the facts and the technology behind the evolution of the company. The factory tour displays the design department, the processing department, the assembly line and the testing and shipping area.

Some other famous brands having factory tours are:

Museo Pagani

Umberto Panini Motor Museum (Maserati)

Day 4: Bologna

Bologna is known as the culinary capital of Italy for its variety of  food specialties. The one staple food it is especially famous for is pasta. The pasta dishes available are in the realm of artisanal cuisine and include Tortellini, Tagliatelle, Tortelloni, Garganelli and Gramigna, often served with the ultra popular Bolognese Ragù sauce. 

Pasta in Bologna

There are many
pasta shops in Bologna rolling out fresh pastas for sale. They also offer short duration cooking classes for those interested. Some of them are:

Pasta in Bologna
Pasta in Bologna

Walking tours
are available in Bologna to enjoy a curated gourmet culinary experience. 

Lambrusco Wine:

Lambrusco wine

Emilia-Romagna is the
home of the Lambrusco wine. It is a sparkling red wine with a unique taste which pairs well with many different foods. In fact, it is considered the most food- friendly wine in the world. Lambrusco ranges from dry, to medium sweet, to very sweet dessert wine. Tasting is possible at the many wineries and estates in the area around Bologna. 

Sightseeing in Bologna:

It is great to stroll beneath Bologna’s famed arcades (Portici), explore the piazzas, museums and basilicas


Some of the most popular places are Piazza Maggiore, Piazza del Nettuno, Basilica di San Petronio, Basilica di Santo Stefano and the leaning towers (Torre degli Asinelli) amongst many others. The
Carpigiani Gelato Museum is also an exceptional experience.

Ravenna: 2 nights
(Around 1 hour by car or train from Bologna)


Day 5: Ravenna

Ravenna, having had an impressive history, is a beautiful city with sites of great cultural importance. It was the seat of the Roman Empire in the 5th century and then of Byzantine Italy till the 8th century. It has many Unesco World Heritage monuments with some exquisite mosaics from that period. Most notable amongst them are Basilica di San Vitale, Basilica di Sant’Apollinare Nuovo and Mausoleo di Galla Placidia. The other points of interest are Piazza del Popolo and Dante’s tomb.


Ravenna is also a resort town with a long sandy shore. Sea front beach clubs and restaurants add to the lively atmosphere at night.

Day 6: Ferrara / Rimini
(1 hour from Ravenna)

Ferrara and Rimini are both around an hour away from Ravenna by car or train, though in the opposite directions. You can visit either of them in a day from Ravenna.

Ferrara, Italy

is a city rich in Renaissance era architecture as also a center for arts, culture and gastronomy. The top picks for a visit are Castello Estense, The Cathedral of San Giorgio and Palazzo dei Diamanti. A walk around the Piazza del Municipio with its many restaurants and quaint shops is also very enjoyable.

Enroute to Ferrara, you can take a break at Comacchio, a charming small town. It has earned the name of Little Venice due to its network of small canals, connected by stone and masonry bridges. It is situated in a lagoon and is part of the Po river delta park, imparting natural beauty to the town. 

Cervia, Emilia Bologna

Rimini is a popular seaside resort town of Italy. It has miles of pristine beaches and a picturesque old town, which has many interesting monuments. Rimini also boasts of many restaurants and a vibrant nightlife.

On the way to Rimini is another seaside town called Cervia, famous for its salt pans in the old days. Now it’s a popular spot for its gelatos, sun and sand on the Adriatic Riviera.

Having enjoyed this holiday to Emilia-Romagna, this culinary journey ends with an onward connection from Bologna.

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