FWT article Nick Garrett
Variety is the spice of life in magnificent Emilia Romagna .
Emilia Romagna is a region of Italy that boasts a healthy dose of all that Italy is famous for — history, food, nature, hospitality and fun. A fabulous place for a short break or longer holiday, its culture is infused with a special regard for living life to the full.
In summer, it is a veritable magnet for sunseekers — but the calendar of activities goes on late into the year. The Wine Food Festival, for example, shows off the superb regional fare with more than 40 gastronomic events held during the autumn months.
In Rimini, the beach is a way of life. With more than 250 clubs and other businesses operating along its sands, catering for all ages and tastes, it is said that more than half the population of Italy has spent a holiday here.
Fine beaches are just part of the Adriatic Riviera’s attraction. For centuries, the prosperity of this part of Italy came from the sea, as evidenced by the historic ports and fishing towns. Porto Garibaldi, near Ferrara, is famed both for its lighthouse and its bustling fish market. Its parent city of Comacchio, known as “Little Venice”, also warrants a visit.
There’s also plenty of opportunity to be active. Many of Emilia Romagna’s beaches offer tennis, volleyball, Nordic walking and the chance to work out at a beach-side gym. The gently lapping Adriatic is safe for swimming: nine of its beaches, including Rimini, have been awarded European Blue Flag status in recognition of their water quality and beach services, and water sports, including surfing, sailing, sea kayaking and kitesurfing are very popular. What’s more, this part of Italy has Europe’s greatest concentration of theme and water parks, meaning there’s always family friendly fun on tap.
Away from the coast, Emilia Romagna makes the ideal terrain for a touring holiday. It’s among Italy’s most varied regions, comprising the broad, fertile plains of the Po Valley as well as some of the most spectacular parts of the Apennine Mountains.
The landscape is dotted with medieval hamlets, linked by a web of walking and mountain-biking trails. The Via Francigena, the ancient route connecting Rome and Canterbury, also passes through the city of Parma via Berceto and Passo della Cisa: retreading the pilgrims’ steps takes you to tiny mountain parishes such as Corchia or Pelerzo and past forgotten abbeys, granting wonderful views over the craggy highlands and Massa Carrara ranges.
So, whether your taste is for relaxing on the beach or exploring rural villages – or a combination of both – Emilia Romagna makes for the perfect true Italian escape.
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