CITIES OF THE VIA EMILIA

The Taste for Art

 

History, achitecture, artistic splendour and… lots of curiosities!

Parma

A name that immediately inspires raw ham, Parmigiano Reggiano, Pasta and the excellence of Italian food in the world. No coincidence that in 2015 it was nominated a UNESCO Creative City for Gastronomy. How many delicious gourmet stops you can make downtown!

But trust your tourist guide, Parma is much more. Elegant, bright, on a human scale, so fond of brilliant personalities and good life, it was a three centuries capital of a “strategic” duchy (including Piacenza and Guastalla as well) whose most beloved symbol is the “good Duchess” Maria Luigia of Habsburg.

But the Italian Capital of Culture 2020-2021, ideal for walking or cycling, is full of fascinating sites, curiosities, stories: churches, museums and theaters of extraordinary importance, magnificent parks, significant monuments, painters such as Parmigianino and Correggio, musicians such as Verdi and Toscanini and many other top level protagonists of culture.

Many world famous products, apart from food, come from here! After all, the city has always been looking to Europe… and beyond. It’s so difficult to find another italian “small capital” hosting so many wonders. What are you waiting for? Let’s go and discover Parma!

Reggio Emilia

In Italy we say: “In the small barrel you keep the good wine”. This is the case of the small Reggio Emilia, where Lambrusco DOC froths in the glass and you can taste Parmigiano Reggiano with drops of the precious local Balsamic Vinegar. But Reggio’s “good wine” is also its history, its character, everything it can share warmheartedly.

The ancient Romans left clear traces in the city and the Palazzo dei Musei (Museums Building) tells you about a surprising past. But the city also has churches housing masterpieces, beautiful theaters, majestic squares and charming spots, original art collections, witnessing a community that despite its strong farming tradition is by no means conservative.

Your tour guide will be proud to let you discover the city of the Tricolore, Italian national flag! Yes, Reggio Emilia “baptized” the Italian flag: the Tricolore Museum is one of its highlights. But it has always been at the forefront of many struggles for justice, the dignity of work, and freedom.

It is the city of Loris Malaguzzi’s pedagogical experience, which radically changed education in pre-schools. I could tell you many other things but … I will when you are here with me, in downtown Reggio Emilia!

Piacenza

Did you know that Piacenza has, among other sites worth visiting, a Poetry Museum? And that in two of its most important churches you can climb up to the domes, admiring their frescoes up close, with a breathtaking view of the naves and the city? And that there are important and fascinating museums in Palazzo Farnese (the new Archeological Museum is a must!)?

Piacenza has the reputation of being the … introverted sister of Parma: the less showy, more sober and substantial “duchy-mate”. But this city is much more.

With your tourist guide you will discover the most beautiful sights of the city center, so rich in history: we will admire its squares, we will get across the threshold of stunningly beautiful churches, we will walk along the streets and alleys of the ancient Piacenza, to appreciate the splendors of the Middle Ages (and not just the Middle Ages!) that gave the city its profile.

In the sixteenth century, it was the favorite residence of Duchess Margaret of Habsburg (daughter of Emperor Charles V), who did a lot to enhance it. Useless to say that also in Piacenza you can eat – and drink – with delight. Trust your guide: Piacenza will surprise you!

Modena

Modena is a city of culture and great passions, including one for good food. The name is enough and your mouth is watering at the thought of tasting tortellini, zampone, Lambrusco, PDO (and PGI) Balsamic Vinegar, tigelle and other local delicacies, which await you in the “gourmet corners” of the city. Do you love opera? In Luciano Pavarotti Home Museum you will get moved and excited. Do you have a thing for motors? In Modena and Maranello you will learn everything about Enzo Ferrari and his car factory, but the whole land of Modena and Bologna is the Motor Valley, the headquarters of Maserati, Lamborghini and Ducati as well.

 Are you sensitive to artistic beauty? Then we will admire the Piazza Grande, a precious UNESCO site, with the magnificent Romanesque Cathedral and the Ghirlandina Tower. Your tour guide will accompany you along the porticoes, the streets and alleys of the Roman-medieval city. Where once the ancient canals flowed, you will listen to the story of a cultured, noble and proud city, as fiery as the patriots who gave their lives here for national unity and freedom.

 The long presence of the Dukes of Este and the role of capital of their Duchy have enriched Modena with majestic buildings, from the Ducal Palace to the Estensi Galleries. Are you spoiled for choice? Not a problem: together we will plan your ideal tour!

Bologna

The capital of Emilia-Romagna in three words: the Learned, the Fat, the Red. And I’ll tell you why right away! Bologna is the seat of the oldest university in the world: it hosted the protagonists of Italian culture and was fundamental for scientific research. In 2006 Bologna was proclaimed UNESCO City of Music: all music, from Gregorian chant to pop-rock, is at home in Bologna. The city ranks among the first in Italy for cultural institutions, art sites and museums. Defining her “the Learned” is a must!
It has never been “the” capital (of a state, a duchy or so), but has always played a key role in general, thanks to its geographical position, its civil and religious history, its commitment in politics and culture.

Bologna’s mercantile spirit and culinary tradition made it rich and desirable. And it is precisely for its gastronomy, made unique by the PGI mortadella, the tortellini, the renowned meat sauce “Ragù alla bolognese”, that it is called “The Fat”. The gourmet shops are a masterpiece and at the restaurant one may happen to admire the “sfogline” making fresh pasta.

Why “The Red”? Political reasons? Well… just a bit! But try to climb with me to the top of one of the tallest towers of the city: we will appreciate the warm colors, especially in the shades of red, which have covered the buildings for centuries. At sunset, you can enjoy an unforgettable experience!

It is impossible to describe in a few lines the numberless beautiful things you can see and do in Bologna. Not just Piazza Maggiore, the Two Towers, the Porticoes (just declared UNESCO World Heritage!): you have a whole fabulous city to discover and your tourist guide can’t wait to set your tailor-made itinerary!

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