Emilia Romagna is like a very sexy lady with an intellect that can put a genius to shame. The kind you’d call at 3am to resolve an existential crisis.
Beauty + Brains + Bff potential. Imagine Beyonce writing The Theory of Everything, knowing which flavour of ice cream will get you to stop crying. Get the picture?
Now lets translate those qualities to a location. Think beautiful mountains, gorgeous valleys and wildlife trails.
Think art, cinema and music celebrated by a diverse mix of people from around the world.
Think the birthplace of some of the world’s most important food – the ‘ragu’ sauce, Prosciutto di Parma, balsamic vinegar and not to mention the king of cheese: Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Now think of a quiet, idyllic holiday away from maddening crowds, punctured by conversations with the nicest people you’re likely to meet.
That’s Emilia Romagna for you. Make it your ‘must visit’, cause it’s going to love you like XO.
I visited three iconic cities in the state, each for a very specific purpose. Bologna for its young vibe and of-course the Bolognese, Modena for the traditional Balsamic Vinegar and Parma for the Prosciutto. Here are the highlights from my trip.
Bologna’s personality lies in its tiny artistic gullies, coloured and papered with satirical verses and edgy graffiti.
The Big Stage
L’Arena del Sole is the perfect embodiment of performing arts in the city. The theatre was built in 1810 and became the hub for plays, carnivals and even circus performances. The inscription on the facade (as pictured below) reads ‘Place given to daytime shows’.
(Clockwise) the unfinished church of Chiesa di Santa Lucia, one of Bologna’s hidden canals (the city has a 60km network of canals!) a couple getting married, The Fountain of Neptune at the city centre.
Eat like an Italian Emperor
(Clockwise) Wine at the very famous jazz bar – Cantina Bentivoglio, a snack of zuchinni, tomatoes and tuna on bread, Bologna’s most amazing gelato from Sorbetteria Castiglione and the iconic Lasagne Bolognese at the equally iconic Tamburni.
The city as seen from the top of the Duomo.
Streets of Modena
(Clockwise) One of the many dog friendly neighbourhoods in the city, an adorable vintage car, an outdoor jazz concert and the Duomo.
Traditional Balsamic Vinegar tasting at Acetaia di Giorgio.
Ever tried a Semifreddo that tastes like its crafted by angels? Mascarpone Agrumi with red currant and rose hip. Courtesy Gelateria Bloom.
A typical window display of Prosciutto di Parma at a store. A time honoured tradition of dry-curing pork legs using salt, and then hanging it for 1-2 years (or even more). Prosciutto is best had thinly sliced, straight out of the paper. Or pair it with fresh melon or even between pieces of bread or a panino.
Even the streets are dedicated to food!
(Clockwise) A typical door-knocker outside a home, tomatoes on sale at a produce shop, Parma Cathedral, cured ham for sale and a mural outside a cheese store.
Trust me, I tried to take pictures other than food. Like really tried.
Snacks with Aperitivo or a pre-dinner drink that comes with plates of food. Pictured below is a typical platter – meats, breads and cheese.
(All Images by Ishita Thakur)