Emilia Romagna: Towns

Emilia-Romagna Towns

Emilia-Romagna is the lush northern heartland of Italian farming in a central geographical position. It almost spans the entire breadth of Italy, sharing borders with Tuscany and Liguria to the south and Lombardy and the Veneto to the north. When the Romans built the Via Emilia their main north-south trade route, it traveled up the entire length of Emilia Romagna. This road plus the East-West route that crossed it (and linked the two major ports Venice and Genoa) made Emilia Romagna a crossroads for all of Northern Italy and a link to all of Europe and the South.

Warring Romans and Gaul’s created Emilia and Romagna.
The first Etruscan and Greek settlers gradually gave way to the Gaul’s from the north, who were attracted by the area’s rich land and vineyards. Expanding their empire north from Rome, the Romans challenged the Gaul’s for possession of the region. The Gaul’s stopped the Romans south and east of Bologna. This area remains Roman, or Romagna, Romagna includes all of the regions Adriatic coast and part of the Ferrara province, but not the city of Ferrara, and part of Bologna province, but not the city of Bologna. There is no formal agreement as to where the border is exactly and it is not written on any map. The plains and mountains to the west and north are considered Emilia.

The regions rich cuisine is complex, ranging from highly refined traditions of the regions nobility to middle class cuisine to the peasant kitchen. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Romagna was under the rule of the Byzantines and then the Papal State. As a result, Romagna’s food tastes more of central Italy than of the north and dishes  in Romagna tend to be more simple and assertive, the every day dishes of farmers and fisherman.

In Emilia, local lords battled for control of the area. For example the Farnese dukes who practically invented the culture of banqueting and conspicuous consumption ruled Parma and Piacenza. Emilia then passed to France and Austria, who brought their food and dining traditions. Centuries as a center of court for these powerful countries helped establish Emilia’s food culture. As a result, the food is more refined and elaborate.


Bologn Emilia-Romagna Towns

Bologna is renowned for its culinary tradition. It has given its name to the well-known meat based pasta sauce called in Italy ragu alla Bolognese and is also famous for tortellini (modeled after Venus' navel), curly gramigna,green lasagna and giant loaves of mortadella.

Situated at the foot of the Apennines in the fertile Po River Valley, Bologna, often overlooked by travellers, has one of the best preserved medieval centers in Italy, An age-old city, full of character, it’s red and ocher colored walls and rows of porticoes (almost 40km) lend harmony to the cityscape.

It’s nicknames, the learned (la dotta) and the fat (la grassa) refers to its famous university and gastronomic traditions. Its prestigious university founded in 1088 offers 250 different majors to more than 100,000 students.

Traditional desserts include Certosino (spice cake)

To this day Bologna remains unique in its historic value. Despite having suffered considerable bombing damage in 1944, Bologna's historic centre, one of Europe's largest (after Venice, contains a wealth of important Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque artistic monuments.

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Emilia Romagna Border: Towns

Emilia-Romagna Border Towns

If you are visiting Emilia Romagna, I strongly suggest a stop in two cities in Lombardy, on our northern border…Mantova and Sabbioneta. The distance from Parma to Mantova is only 33 miles and Sabbioneta is a nice stop along the way.  In these two beautiful cities almost every building is a work of art and they  are exceptional testimony to the influence of Rennaisance culture. The area east of Mantova contains the “Rice Route” and is a gastronomic center for risotto. From April through October there are many local festivals.


Mantova Emilia-Romagna Border Towns

Mantua (in Italian Mantova) is a city in the southern part of Lombardy, bordering Emilia Romagana. Mantua's historic power and influence under the Gonzaga family made it one of the main artistic, cultural and notably musical hubs of Northern Italy and the whole country itself. Mantua is noted for its significant role in the history of opera and the city is known for several architectural treasures and artifacts, elegant palaces or palazzi, and its medieval and Renaissance cityscape.

Mantua is surrounded on three sides by artificial lakes created during the 12th century. These receive the waters from the Mincio, which descend from Lake Garda.The three lakes are called Lago Superiore, Lago di Mezzo, and Lago Inferiore ("Superior", "Middle", and "Inferior" Lakes). A fourth lake, Lake Pajolo, which once completed a defensive water ring of the city, dried up at the end of the 18th century.The city was founded, probably around 2000 BC on the banks of the Mincio on a sort of island which provided natural protection. In the 6th century BC it was an Etruscan village and the name derives from the Etruscan god Mantus of Hades.

The city was conquered by the Romans between the first and second Punic wars and populated by veteran soldiers of Augustus. Mantua's most famous ancient citizen is the poet Publius Vergilius Maro, Virgil (Mantua me genuit), who was born near the city in 70 B.C.

Main landmarks include:
The Palazzo Te (1525–1535), in the style of mature Renaissance and was the summer residential villa of Frederick II of Gonzaga. It hosts the Museo Civico.

The Palazzo Ducale, famous residence of the Gonzaga family, made up by a number of buildings, courtyards and gardens gathered around the Palazzo del Capitano the Magna Domus, and the Castle of St. George.

Rigoletto, Giuseppe Verdi’s opera is set in Mantua. Austro-Hungarian authorities in Venice forced him to move the action from France to Mantua.

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