Places in West of Bologna
If Italy were a meal, Modena would be the main course. Here, on the flat plains of the slow-flowing Po, lies one of the nation's great gastronomic centres, the creative force behind real balsamic vinegar, giant tortellini stuffed with tantalising fillings, sparkling Lambrusco wine and backstreets crammed with some of the best restaurants no one's ever heard of.
Often written off as an emergency pit stop on the Via Emilia, Reggio Emilia states its case as birthplace of the Italian flag – the famous red, white and green tricolour – and a convenient base for sorties south into the region's best natural attraction, the Parco Nazionale dell'Appennino Tosco-Emiliano.
Named 'pleasant place' (Placentia) by the Romans, Piacenza soon proved itself to be an important strategic location as well. Just short of the regional border with Lombardy, the contemporary city is day-trip fodder, though there are some decent hotels if you've been priced out of Parma.
Tours and activities
Emilia Romagna Day Trip: Museo Ferrari with Optional Test Drive, Balsamic Vinegar Tour and Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese Factory
Leave Siena and discover three highlights of Italy’s must-visit Emilia Romagna region: Museo Ferrari, a Modena balsamic vinegar estate and Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese Factory in Modena...
Tips and articles
The real ragù: 10 things you didn't know about authentic spaghetti bolognese
Slurping an authentic spaghetti bolognese in the city of its origin, Bologna, is on every gourmet traveller’s bucket list. But there are many misunderstandings about this world-famous Italian dish. 1...
Alternative Italy, pt 3: Like Florence? Try Bologna.
In this five-part series taken from Lonely Planet Magazine (Aug 2010 issue) we show you just where to step off the tourist trail and start exploring the real Italy - from the hills harbouring the country's finest wine...
40 free things to do in Rome
Travelling to Rome on a budget? Never fear – sightseeing in Italy's magnificent capital city doesn't have to cost the earth...
Six reasons to visit Milan in 2015
For years travellers have dismissed Milan as too cold, too boring and too business-like, seeing it as the ugly sister of fair Florence, historic Rome and romantic Venice...