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4 Best Cities in which to Explore the Food of Emilia-Romagna

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Bologna in Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Bologna in Emilia-Romagna, Italy

The four main culinary cities of Emilia-Romagna take inspiration from iconic flavors that capture the essence of Italian cuisine. However, each puts its own unique spin on traditional, local dishes, setting them apart from one another and the rest of the country.

Emilia’s culinary customs focus heavily on animal fats and pork products. Romagna has stronger ties to Byzantine heritage, influenced by the sea and classic land dishes.

Whether looking for fine cuisine or street food, Emilia-Romagna has the most quintessential tastes you can find during your Italy trip.

  1. 1. Bologna
  2. 2. Parma
  3. 3. Modena
  4. 4. Ravenna
  5. Discover the Best Dishes to Try on Your Trip to Emilia-Romagna

1. Bologna

Bologna, Italy

Bologna, Italy

Bologna is the capital of the Emilia-Romagna region and has a rich, meaty history. It is the birthplace of tortellini pasta and popular salumi mortadella, and specializes in the hearty meat sauce Bolognese ragú.

Bologna exemplifies the excellence of Italian cooking perfected over centuries by combining the recipes of chefs from noble kitchens and comfort foods from peasant dishes known for their robust seasoning and inexpensive ingredients. You can explore Bologna and more with our exclusive itineraries designed to uncover Emilia-Romagna.

Famous dishes of Bologna: Tagliatelle Bolognese • Lasagna • Imperial soup • Maccheroni alla Bolognese with a white ragú • Mortadella • Squacquerone cheese

2. Parma

Piazza Duomo in Parma, Italy

Piazza Duomo in Parma, Italy

Parma is at the heart of Italy’s “Food Valley” and home to a number of dishes to try during your trip to Emilia-Romagna.

The cuisine is creative, while maintaining a link to its culinary heritage for a striking balance between innovative techniques and traditional flavors that represent the community through local, sustainable ingredients.

Parma is best known for producing Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and salumi prosciutto di Parma. Its elegant history and vibrant entrepreneurial spirit have shaped local flavors, with many dishes using butter and cheese for richer tastes and enticing aromas.

Famous dishes of Parma: Anolini pasta stuffed with broth • Sweet and sour tortellini • Pumpkin tortelli • Potato tortelli with a porcini mushroom sauce • Rice soup with egg, nutmeg, and Parmigiano-Reggiano • Brodetto alla marinara

3. Modena

Piazza Grande in Modena, Italy

Piazza Grande in Modena, Italy

Modena is home to quintessential Italian flavors and known for slow food, fast cars, and opera.

The cuisine respects tradition, from egg-based pasta to sparkling Lambrusco and flavorsome balsamic vinegar. The quality of Modenese cuisine derives from its expansive landscape, resulting in ingredients protected by the European Union.

Balsamic vinegar DOP is the most famous ingredient crafted in Modena. The province stands out with spectacular culinary traditions and ingredients that produce mouthwatering garlic salami and specialty breads that can be experienced during an Italy food tour.

Famous dishes of Modena: Passatelli in broth • Scalloped macaroni • Tortellini in chicken broth • Fried dumplings • Modena pesto

4. Ravenna

Piazza del Popolo in Ravenna, Italy

Piazza del Popolo in Ravenna, Italy

Ravenna puts tradition first.

The cuisine remains steeped in heritage, brimming with recipes characterized by “peasant food”, with cooking habits influenced by French cuisine over the centuries and revolving around vegetables, plants, and herbs.

Residents have also perfected dough for pastas, pastries, and breads, in addition to having a refined knowledge of seafood caught on the Adriatic coast. Our Italy food and wine travel guide makes it easy to sample many of the country’s different tastes, but Ravenna shines with its dynamic representation of local ingredients.

Famous dishes of Ravenna: Stuffed tortellini • Croquettes of fish or lobster • Frog soup • Cappelletti di Romagna • Stuffed flatbread

Discover the Best Dishes to Try on Your Trip to Emilia-Romagna

Street scene in Parma, Italy

Street scene in Parma, Italy

The cities of Emilia-Romagna share a rich culinary tradition, yet have set themselves apart with particular styles and unforgettable flavors. Each represents its culinary heritage through the ingredients used and resulting dishes.

Discover inspiration for a tasty food tour with Zicasso’s Italy travel guide, and if you are planning a trip, you can find more ideas in our Italy tours and trip packages.

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