Italy‎ > ‎

Emilia-Romagna

Emilia Romagna, once part of the Papal States, is known for its good food (including three of Italy's most famous foodstuffs, Prosciutto di Parma, Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese) and fast cars (including three of Italy's most famous carmakers, Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Maserati).  Its main road (A1/A14) parallels the ancient Roman Via Aemilia through the Po Valley, with hillier country to the south (extending into the Apennines).

Getting There

  • Driving from Naples to Bologna takes 5-6 hours, mostly on A1.  Be prepared for potential traffic in both Rome and Florence.
  • Flying: Parma has an airport (PMF) but there aren't any flights from Naples;  Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport (BLQ) does, however. To get from BLQ to downtown Bologna, take the €6 per person Aerobus or ~€18 taxis.
  • Trains leave Naples for Bologna almost every hour, and take about 3.5 hours (assuming you take the fast/expensive Frecciarossa; cheaper/slower Intercity takes about 6 hours).

Foodie Tours

It is a lot of fun to see how such famous Emilia Romagna products as Parmigiano-Reggiano and Traditional Balsamic Vinegar are made. The following is a brief guide to doing this:

Organized Tours

Several companies and individuals run tours specializing in food products; the following are some of them:

Do-It-Yourself Tours

This requires a car, some planning, and ideally at least one person who speaks decent Italian...but it can be great fun to organize your own tour
  • Parmegiano-Reggiano Cheese Factories: Check out the list on the official Parmegiano-Reggiano consortium website.  You can then look up their website and call them to see if you can come by for a tour.  If you're going up for a weekend, like most of Italy it's easier to find places open on Saturday than Sunday.  Here are some of them:
    • UPDATE: As of fall 2013, it appeared that not many caseifici (cheese producers) allowed regular tours, although it doesn't hurt to call some up (e.g. Caseificio 4 Madonne sounded like they might eventually run tours, and the Consortium might be able to arrange a tour with enough head's up). There are at least three options:
      • Caseifici Aperti - occasional weekends when the caseifici are "open" (aperti) to the public for tours, etc.
      • Antica Latteria Ducale - runs guided tours such as "visit to the caseificio with breakfast", but you have to reserve well in advance
      • Hombre - if you don't have any reservations, you can try to drop in early on this caseificio to watch the cheesemaking from an upstairs gallery; in October 2013, we got there around 8 AM and the cows were already milked, but we were there in time to see the cheesemaking start at about 9 AM...you can also sneak a peek at their aging room
    • Near Modena (also see the Consortio's Modena Guidebook, which includes GPS directions)
      • Coop Casearia Castelnovese is highly recommended; as its name suggests is a co-op run by farmers in Castelnuovo Rangone (Via Cavidole 6, just south-east of Modena, near the Modena Sud exit).  They have a fun plastic cow outside the factory, and although they're a small producer you'll marvel at the rows upon rows of cheese.  If you want a tour, call in advance, and show up in the morning, as they finish their cheese production around noon.  059-535-364 --> as of Oct 2013, no longer run tours
      • Caseificio 4 Madonne - sounds like a nice place, not clear if they allow tours
      • Cooperative Zootecnica Bazzanese, via Moretto Scuole 7, Bazzano (Just S of A1 between Modena and Bologna) 051-831-659
      • Ca' Denina Soc. Semplice - via S. Liberata 1693, Spilamberto (SE of Modena, S of A1), www.cadenina.it, M-Sat, 9-12, 14-18:30, Sun 9-11:45, store only? 059-784-867
    • Near Parma (also see the AgriParma website's list or contact the regional consortium office at 052-129-2700)
      • Consorzio Produttori Latte - Via Puppiola 15 (in Baganzolino, suburb just N of Parma/A1) - Tel. 052-160-1313
      • Latteria Sociale San Pier Damiani - Via Gazzano 35 (in San Prospero, 15 min E of central Parma), 052-164-5181, fax 052-148-8367, or 338-741-2566, s.delsante@alice.it, €5/person tours, book ahead, beautiful countryside location.
      • Caseificio Tagliavini (Angelo Atagliavini) - Via Tricesimo 14 (just W of central Parma), 052-167-1206
      • Ugolotti Artemio & Figlio - Via Emilio Lepido 72 (just E of central Parma), 052-148-6769
      • Azienda Agricola Giansanti - Via Traversetolo 228 (15 min SE of Parma), 052-164-1155, info@agricolagiansanti.it, ships internationally
      • Caseificio Barani Gaudenzio e Giuseppe - Via Budellungo 139 (just SE of Parma), 052-164-5595, g.barani@libero.it
      • Caseificio Sociale Val Ceno - Ponte Vetrione 167, Varsi (1 hour SW of Parma nestled in the mountains) 052-575-0180
      • Società Agricola Butteri di Butteri Enzo, & Figli - Via Scipione Passeri, 193 (in Salsomaggiore Terme, 1 hr W of Parma), nice bucolic location, 052-457-0722, info@caseificiobutteri.it
        • Gelato in Salsomaggiore Terme: Sanelli – piazza del Popolo 2, he does liquid nitrogen gelato, fresh fruits, parmigiano, etc.
      • Società Agricola Saliceto - Via Arturo Toscanini 3 (in Mulazzano Ponte/Lesignano de'Bagni), 052-185-7193, 334-674-4249
      • Caseificio Sociale San Salvatore - Via Sanguigna 20 (or Via Volontari del Sangue 20), in Colorno (30 min N of Parma), 052-181-4240, info@caseificiosansalvatore.it
      • Agrinascente - via San Michele Campagna 22b, Fidenza (S of Fidenza exit off A1, ~30 min W of Parma), 052-452-2334, call to arrange to visit the Caseificio (cheese factory).  (Big store...seems a bit commercial?)
      • Azienda Agricola Iris - Via Torchio 12 (in Rivalta, Lesignano de' Bagni, 40 min S of Parma), 052-186-3653, 348-790-8677
    • Near Reggio nell'Emilia (halfway between Parma & Modena)
    • Industria Casearia Pelloni Spa – via Emilia Est 194, Castelfranco Emilia, 059-957-005, 059-932-016
  • Balsamic Vinegar Distilleries
    • ***Villa San Donnino - Strada Medicina 25, 41010 San Donnino, 340-257-9734, info@villasandonnino.it or acetaia@villasandonnino.it, Davide Lonardi speaks pretty good English, he'll let you try gelato with balsamic on top, highly rec’d by tripadvisor, (in San Donnino della Nizzola (frazione di Modena) just SE of the town
    • ***Acetaia Pedroni - Modena (NE of downtown), see Osteria Rubbiara, below, for more information
    • Acetaia Malpighi Via Barca 20, Modena, 059-465-063, info@acetaiamalpighi.it [one of the top producers, good reviews on tripadvisor…“worth any trouble just to taste the 50 year”…but one reviewer said restaurant is not great, Fodor's discussion Malpighi Acetaia – recommended but short tourhttp://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g187768-i20-k345425-Tour_Tasting_of_Balsamic_Vinegar_Facility-Italy.html Favorite is Malpighi www.acetaiamalpighi.it tours in English, good restaurant, locanda as well, in Modena; Avoid Ponti (cheap balsamic)
    • Acetaia Montale - via Campania 28, Montale in Castelnuovo Rangone (S of Modena), 059-530-465 makes a nice, relatively cheap non-tradizionale; you can buy their products in various places around Italy.
    • Acetaia Ferdinando Cavalli - [Scandiano, SE of Reggio nell’Emilia] looks like it’s a good tour, http://www.eng.balsamicocavalli.it/template.php?pag=45878 www.balsamicocavalli.it info@balsamicocavalli.it
    • Acetaia di Giorgio - (2 km from downtown Modena), rec’d by tripadvisor reader, Giogio and Giovanna, she speaks English...looks like a nice place
    • Acetaia Comunale di Modena - occasionally runs events, 059/2032316 http://www.comune.modena.it/~pdangelo/Acetaia/
    • Acetaia San Giacomo - Strada Pennella 1, 052-265-1197 - Novellara (N of Reggio nell'Emilia) ...rec’d by Slow Travel, also noted on TripAdvisor (Andrea Bezzecchi) http://www.gourmetkazoo.com/acetaiasangiacomo/product-tourism/45/balsamic-vinegar-tour-and-tasting
    • Castello Di Spezzano - Via del Castello, 12 (in Fiorano Modenese, S of Modena), 0536 833412
    • Azienda Agricola Sereni Pier Luigi - Via Villa Bianca 2871, Marano sul Panaro (S of Modena), 059-705-105 an agriturismo which makes balsamic vinegar
  • Prosciutto di Parma Producers - see the Consorzio del Prosciutto di Parma page for a full list of producers.
  • Museums
    • Parmeggiano Reggiano Museum - really committed cheese lovers can check out this museum, in Soranga (near Parma) on Via Volta 5, 052-459-6129.  Open Mar 1 to Dec 8 on Sat/Sun/Holidays from 10-1 and 3-6, or M-F by appointment.  €5 admission, and guided tours are €20 for a group of up to 25 people.
    • Museum of Balsamic Vinegar - via Roncati 28, Spilamberto (S of Modena), 059-781-614, Tues-Sun 9:30-1 and 3-7
      • this is also one of the few places you can get the Nocino Conzorsio's luscious bottles—it tastes like a smooth, alcoholic coca cola!
    • Museo del Prosciutto is in Langhirano (well S of Parma):  Via Bocchialini 7, 052-135-5009, March 1 to 8 December: Sat, Sun, Hol: 10.00 - 18.00, M-F by appointment, €3 admission, plus €3 for prosciutto tasting, €20 for a group of up to 25 to do a guided tour

Vocabulary

  • Caseificio = cheesemaker/factory
  • Spaccio = "canteen" (store, often attached to a caseficio, where you can buy cheese; you can see a list on the Parmigiano-Reggiano website)
  • Acetaia = vinegar distillery

Bologna

This university town (indeed, the university is one of the oldest in the world) is the capital of Emilia-Romagna, and has a lot of great restaurants.  The town also has two "leaning towers"!  Slow Travel has a good introduction to the city and its geography.

Sights

  • Le Due Torri - Bologna's "little leaning towers", the Torre Garisenda and Torre degli Asinelli, are near the center of town.  You can climb Asinelli (the taller one) for a nice view of the city; summer 9-6; winter 9-5 (last entrance 20 min before closing)
  • Piazza Maggiore - Bologna's main square (locals simply call it "la piazza"), features the giant Fontana di Nettuno (Fountain of Neptune), the unfinished Basilica di San Petronio (which has the world's largest sundial), and just to the north is the main Cathedral (of St. Peter)...duck into the porticos on the ground floor of the Palazzo di Podestà and you can whisper to someone standing on the opposite corner of the portico (or "Voltone")
  • Sanctuary of the Madonna of San Luca - a church up on the hills to the south of Bologna, which features a painting of the Virgin Mary supposedly painted by St. Luke; you can walk up the hill through the "portico" of 666 covered archways, about a 4 km walk (archways begin at the Porta Saragozza at 44.490496°N, 11.329819°E, and start going uphill at the Arco Meloncello at 44.490123°N,11.310756°E; church itself is 44.480°N 11.298°E), open Nov-Feb M-Sat 6:30-12:30/2:30-5, Sun 7-5; Mar-Oct M-Sat 6:30-12:30/2:30-7, Sun 7-7; more information (including how to get there) in this PDF from the Bologna Tourist Bureau (the site also includes a description of the route starting from Piazza Maggiore) and www.sanlucabo.org (in Italian)
  • Canals - Bologna used to have almost as many canals as Venice, but most are paved over now.  Still, you can find views of some romantic canals on via Piella
  • For more information check out Slow Travel's excellent introduction to Bologna

Restaurants

There's a saying that "the best Bolognese food is found outside of Bologna"...this may not be actually true, but the last time I visited (October 2013), it seemed like the best food was indeed outside of the city, or was home-cooked. Also keep in mind that American-style "bologna" and "spaghetti bolognese" don't exist here (they're Italian-American inventions)...the closest you get to the former is mortadella, and the latter is usually tagliatelle al ragù (bolognese).
  • #Al Sangiovese - vicolo del Falcone 2, 051-583-057, www.alsangiovese.com, closed Sun, August, changes with season, tagliatelle al ragu rec'd by Mangiarozzo
  • #Antica Trattoria della Gigina - via Stendhal 1 (a bit far out), 051-322-300, open every day, www.trattoriagigina.it, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Espresso, Michelin, TCI, Mangiarozzo, menu written in dialect, Alice calls it "cucina bolognese doc".
  • #Da Gianni a la Vecia Bulagna - via Clavature 18, 051-229-434, closed Sun eve, Mon, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Espresso, homemade pastas
  • #Giampi e Ciccio - via Farini 31b, 051-268-032, closed Sun, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia
  • #Meloncello - via Saragozza 240a, 051-614-3947, closed Mon eve, Tues, rec'd Slow Food Osterie d'Italia
  • Antica Trattoria del Pontelungo - via Emilia Ponente 307, 051-382-996, closed Sat, 2 weeks in August, Mangiarozzo rec's this rustic/informal trattoria, homemade pastas
  • #Trattoria Caminetto d'Oro - via de'Falegnami 4, 051-263-494, www.caminettodoro.it, closed Sun, a bit expensive (€50-70 per person) but rec'd by GR, Espresso, TCI for very seasonal food...next door is a cheaper (€15-30) "fast pasta" spot
  • #Drogheria della Rosa - via Cartoleria 10, 051-222-529, closed Sun, rec'd by Alice for seasonal food, some Chowhounds
  • #Osteria del Sole - vicolo Ranocchi 1, 347-968-0171, www.osteriadelsole.it, closed Sun, otherwise open 10:30-9:30, sign just says "Vino", very old (from 1475!), popular wine shop and salumeria, can bring in food from home or the nearby market (as long as you buy alcoholic beverages from them), rec'd by Alice and Ost; this blog post has photos
  • ?Le Golosità di Nonna Aurora - this blogger claims that it's "the best restaurant in Bologna", this blogger liked it too.
  • Vicolo Colombina di Massimiliano Poggi - Vicolo Colombina 5b, 051-233-919, www.vicolocolombina.it, open every day, 
  • Antica Drogheria Calzolari - via Petroni 9, 051-222-858, closed Sun, old school place, rec'd by Alice
  • Da Bertino - via delle Lame 55, 051-522-230, www.ristorantedabertino.it, closed Mon dinner (except July/Aug), Sun, trattoria/rosticceria, homemade pastas, family run, rec'd by Mangiarozzo, Alice
  • Ristorante Rosso San Martino - piazza San Martino 3b, 051-262-620, www.trattoriadelrosso.com, open every day, rec'd by Mangiarozzo, inexpensive
    • Trattoria Del Rosso - via Augusto Righi 30, 051-236-730, open every day, also related and rec'd by Mangiarozzo, Alice
  • Osteria De'Poeti - via Dei Poeti 1b, 051-236-166, www.osteriadepoeti.com, closed Mon Sept-May, Sun June-Aug, rec'd by Mangiarozzo for traditional, seasonal food
  • Eataly - via Degli Orefici 19, 051-095-2820, open every day, a chain but a good one, rec'd by Espresso, TCI
  • Da Sandro al Navile - via del Sostegno 15, 051-634-3100, www.dasandroalnavile.it, closed Sun dinner (also Sat in summer), more expensive, rustic, traditional Bolognese dishes, rec'd by Mangiarozzo, Espresso, Michelin, TCI
  • Trattoria Trebbi – Via Solferino 40 (10 min S of Maggiore), 051-583-713, www.trattoriatrebbi-restaurant.com, closed Sat lunch, one CH says “favorite local trattoria in Bologna that is unpretentious with delicious food”, another calls it “Bolognese soul food”…great tortelloni alla zucca, also known for gramigna
  • All'Osteria Bottega - via Santa Caterina 51, 051-585-111, closed Sun/Mon, rec'd by GR, Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Espresso, MichelinBologna Magazine, known for cured meats...small so reserve in advance...we went here in October 2013 and loved the outstanding cheeses and cured meats, but found the pasta dishes good but not great
  • Osteria Numero Sette (Osteria Numero 7) - (Locale Rastignano/Pianoro, 10 km S of Bologna, connected by train) via Andrea Costa 7, 051-742-017, 335-323-894, closed Mon (...some report that they're closed Sun eve but the restaurant says they are in fact open), rec'd by GR, Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Espresso, Michelin...one of the more "fancy" places near Bologna, some of the dishes were wonderful but overall it wasn't too great
  • Serghei - via Piella 12, 051-233-533, closed Sat/Sun, rec'd by GR, Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Espresso, Mangiarozzo, Alice says "here you learn the Bolognese gastronomic traditions" in this "city trattoria as it should be" even if the prices are a bit more than a humble trattoria normally charges (meals at Serghei run about €35-40), very nice, traditional trattoria
  • Osteria dell'Orsa - via Mentana 1f, 051-231-576, open every day, rec'd by TCI
  • I Portici - also hotel, via dell'Indipendenza 69, 051-421-8562, closed Sun/Mon, only open for dinner, expensive but rec'd by GR, Espresso, Michelin, TCI
  • Olivo - Piazza Aldrovandi 21b, 051-087-8872, closed Sat lunch, Sun, rec'd by GR, Espresso
  • Sacco Matto - via Broccaindosso 63b, 051-263-404, closed Mon lunch, rec'd by GR, Espresso, Michelin, TCI
  • Pappagallo - via della Mercanzia 3, www.alpappagallo.it, rec'd by Conde Nast Traveller
  • Trattoria del Borgo - near Monteveglio, 33 km/30 min SW of Bologna, in the medieval town of Abbazia di Monteveglio, via San Rocco 12, 051-670-7982, dinner only (except open for Sun lunch), closed Tues, uses fresh, local ingredients to make traditional specialities, ~€30-35 along with fixed price menus from €13 to €33, rec'd by Espresso, TCI, Gambero Rosso and Slow Food Osterie d'Italia.  Trattoria dei Mugnai is run by the same people and open for lunch during the week.
  • Food Shops and Markets:
    • Mercato di Mezzo - via Peschiere Vecchia (near Due Torri), old, medieval market, 7-1 and 4:15-7:30, closed Thurs evening and Sun
    • Mercato delle Erbe - Via Ugo Bassi 25 (W of Maggiore), more "modern" market with great stuff, 7-1:15 and 5:30-7:30, closed Thurs/Sat evening and Sun
    • Food: Ditta A.F. Tamburini - food shop in the market rec'd by Fodor's, Plotkin
    • Pastry: La Caramella di Gino Fabbri - via Cadriano 27 - pastry shop rec'd by Slow Food
    • Cured Meats/Cheese: Salumeria Bruno e Franco - via Oberdan 16 - cured meat and cheese rec'd by Slow Food
    • Pasta: Le Sfogline - via Belvedere 7B (across from Mercato delle Erbe), rec'd by Slow Food
    • Pasta: Paloa Atti e Figli - Via Caprarie 7, old-school pasta shop featured on Italy Unpacked, also rec'd Bologna magazine
    • Bread: Forno di Calzolari - via delle Fragole 1, rec'd by Slow Food
    • Wine: Enoteca Italiana - via Marsala 2B, rec'd Bologna magazine
    • Chocolate: Majani - Via de' Carbonesi 5, rec'd Bologna magazine
  • Sasso Marconi (16 km S of Bologna on A1)
  • Castel d’Aiano (52 km/1hr S of Bologna)
    • La Fenice - via Santa Lucia 29 (in Rocca di Roffeno 40040), 44° 18'51.40" N 11° 02'25.53" E, 051-919-272, www.lafeniceagritur.it, closed Mon/Tue/Wed, “locals take every seat” at this 16th Century agriturismo, pool, homemade pastas, rec’d by Osterie d’Italia...we went here in October 2013 and while it was very authentic (they make sausages themselves from pork raised on the premises—we even met newborn piglets!) the meal itself wasn't much to write home about
  • Savigno (39 km SW of Bologna, ~30-40 min, but not *that* far to Modena (0.5-1 hrs)?)
    • ***Da Amerigo Locanda/Ristorante - via Marconi 16, 051-670-8326, www.amerigo1934.it, closed Mon (Jan-May also closed Tues), dinner only (except Sunday), rec'd by everybody (Pan, Osterie d'Italia, Ver, TCI, GR, E, Mic, Mangiarozzo, Chowhounds, one of whom raves "Da Amerigo is the real deal. It is a classic trattoria serving very skillfully prepared Bolognese dishes."); dinners a bit expensive (€40-50) but amazing (we went here in October 2013 and had the most amazing dishes with fresh truffles)...also has rooms to rent for not too expensive prices
  • Guiglia (34km/44min S of Modena, 41km/48min SW of Bologna, small hill town near castle and Rocca Maltina rock formation)
    • Osteria Vecchia - rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia
    • further S, in Zocca (hill town, ~1hr S of Modena...also ~1hr SW from Bologna):
      • Cantacucco - closed Thurs, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, TCI
      • Osteria del Sole - via Tesi 1109b, 059-987-361, closed Mon/Tues, rec'd for Apennine cuisine, pasta made on the premises, Slow Food meat, good truffles when in season, rec'd by GR, Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Espresso
  • Imola (town SE of Bologna, towards Forli, home of Ferrari)
    • Hostaria 900 - rec'd Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Michelin, TCI
    • Osteria Callegherie - rec'd GR, Espresso, Michelin
    • Osteria del Vicolo Nuovo da Ambra e Rosa - www.vicolonuovo.it, rec'd GR, Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Michelin, TCI, Mangiarozzo (funny review) --> rec'd by Cristina Tcheyan
    • E Parlaminté
    • Wineries
      • Tre Monti - in località Bergullo, www.tremonti.it, their Sangiovese di Romagna Superiore Petrignone Riserva is highly rec'd by Slow Food
  • San Pietro in Casale (town 33 km/30 min N of Bologna, also connected by train)
    • La Tana del Grillo - rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Michelin
    • Tubino - rec'd by GR, Slow Food Osterie d'Italia
    • ...nearby in Poggio Renatico: Salumeria Montanari, rec'd by Slow Food

Gelato

  • ***Gelatauro - Via San Vitale 98b (E of due Torri), all about good ingredients, not too sweet, has crazy flavors like Zenzero, Zucca e Cannella, and Thè Verde Affumicatto, rec’d by Lebovitz and Faith Willinger
  • Stefino (Bio) - Via Giuseppe Petroni 1C (near Via San Vitale), 051 587 4331, open noon-11, www.stefino.it, organic, popular, rec'd by Slow Food, (Lebovitz also rec’s shaved ice) [moved from small storefront at Via Galliera 49b, which is now "Galleria49" gelato]
  • Gelateria Gianni - Via Monte Grappa 11 (just NW of Maggiore...also satellite branch just S of due Torri at Via S. Stefano 14A), interesting flavors like “Inferno” and “Sole”
  • La Sorbetteria Castiglione - Via Castiglione 44 (S of due Torri), rec'd by various people online including Lebovitz, good chocolate (?)
  • Gelateria delle Moline - Via Delle Moline 13B (N of Maggiore) not as famous but popular
  • Grom - Via Massimo D’Azeglio 13 (just S of Maggiore)
  • Cremeria Sette Chiese - Via Santo Stefano 14a, made on premises, some online rec’d
  • Cremeria Scirocco – via Barelli 1, rec'd by dissapore
  • ...also a Gelato Museum! www.gelatomuseum.com (Via Emilia 45, Anzola Dell'emilia, ~22 min W of Bologna) book guided tour beforehand...or email info@fondazionecarpigiani.it to reserve 1 hour museum/tour, lab tour, and tasting (€5) or 4-hour lab where you make your own gelato (€35/person) ...2-hour smaller lab appears to only be for large ≥10 groups…?

Hotels/B&Bs

Also don't overlook apartment rentals such as Airbnb, especially if you want a kitchen (some of the best eating in Bologna is cooking your own food from the markets/shops).
  • Near Piazza Maggiore:
    • Residenza Collegio di Spagna -  in heart of Bologna (good location), 35-100/room 1-4 beds; apartment 99-132/night (can set up as 2 twins & 1 bed in living room) Good reviews (also for “miniloft” with kitchen and upstairs bedroom) on TripAdvisor
    • Alle Torri B&B - Via Giovanni Livraghi 1, 4 min W of P. Maggiore, nice place €60-110 for doppia bagno in camera, good tripadvisor ratings
    • Albergo Garisenda (near due Torri, 5 min NW of piazza), nice rooms, €65-120 doubles, €85-170 con bagno, €5/person breakfast, rec’d Let’s Go, $89/night booking
    • Hotel Panorama - via Livraghi 1, near P. Maggiore (5 min W), nice rooms, doubles €55-75, €65-90 con bagno, rec’d Let’s Go
    • Best Western San Donato - near Torri (8 min NE of piazza), $111/night on venere, rooftop terrace, nice rooms, wifi/breakfast
    • Hotel Albergo Centrale - 4 min NW of Maggiore, $92/night on venere, standard hotel, ho-hum
    • Hotel Palace - Via Monte Grappe 9, near Albergo Centrale 5 min NW of Maggiore, $97/night, old, lots of wood, some complain about mildew in bathrooms
    • Bed & Breakfast Residenza Due Torri - Via Degli Usberti 6, 6 min walk NW of P. Maggiore, $84/night on venere, a bit “frilly” but nice
    • Torre Prendiparte - expensive (€400-600 a night!) but probably the best "experience" in Bologna: a B&B that is in a restored medieval tower; you can either cook yourself in the provided kitchen or have them cook for you.
  • Hotels between Piazza Maggiore & Train Station (mostly on via Indipendenza):
    • Hotel Cavour - 5 min walk N of Maggiore, 14 min to train, $122/night on venere, wifi ...we stayed here in October 2013 and thought it was a great location (easy to explore Bologna but not too far from the train station to take day trips elsewhere)
    • Albergo Atlantic -12 min N of piazza, very nice, $130/night on booking
    • Hotel Internazionale - 12 min N of piazza, nice, $127/night Google search
    • Hotel Donatello - 12 min N of piazza €79/night = $105, nice but nothing special (more on booking/venere)
    • Nuovo Hotel del Porto, 11 min N of Maggiore, $81/night venere, standard hotel, some lukewarm reviews
    • Hotel Paradise - 8 min N of Maggiore, $122/night on venere, rooms a bit antiseptic?, generally good reviews though
    • Hotel Holiday - Via Bertiera 13 (8 min N of Maggiore), standard hotel $90/night, cramped breakfast space ($74/night on google/Venere for “total $85”?)
  • Just outside town
    • Agriturismo Locanda Belfiore, 5 km from downtown, www.locandabelfiore.com, 70-120 singles, 100-150 doubles, special rates for groups, closed during August, 8 rooms for total of 14 beds, fruits
    • Agriturismo Le Tuie, 8 km from downtown, www.agriturismoletuie.it 8 rooms, 6 have bathrooms, 70-135 euro/night, June-Sept fruit, Oct+ jams, nice rooms, group rate of 35-65/person, 051-729-055, 333-835-2233 [couldn’t find reviews]
  • Monteveglio (33 km W of Bologna, kind of on the way to Modena)
    • La Stadira Agriturismo, rec'd by Alice http://www.agriturismolastadira.it/ 65-80/room, half board for 2 people 100-130, has horseriding
    • La Tagliolina Risto/Camere – Alice, http://www.latagliolina.it/ 5 rooms (4 doubles & 1 single), singles 30-50, doubles 60-90, meals at restaurant 30-35, slow food inspired
    • Locanda Gli Ulivi www.locandagliulivi.it nice-looking Osteria, 6 rooms, classy-looking, modern decoration, http://www.booking.com/hotel/it/locanda-gli-ulivi.en.html outdoor pool, great reviews online, ~70-90/night including breakfast
    • Ca Gioiosa www.homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p6066 ...more pictures at www.cagioiosa.com, very nice-looking place
    • Corte D’aibo, www.cortedaibo.it, a group of us stayed here and really enjoyed it in 2010, http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g187801-d1077966-Reviews-Corte_D_Aibo-Bologna_Emilia_Romagna.html
      • their Chardonnay, Pignoletto Frizzante, and Colli Bolognesi Barbera Cucherla wines are rec'd by Slow Food
    • Osteria Clo'Filomena - www.osteriaclo.it, rec'd Mangiarozzo
  • Anzola dell’Emilia – near Bologna on way to Modena:
    • Agriturismo I Salici Bologna, www.agriturismoisalici.it family run by Mauro, Antonella, Anna, and Chiara, fruit, vegetables, wine, newly furnished rooms with wifi, 12 km from Bologna, 15 km from Modena, 8 rooms with 18 beds total, 051-739-418, singles 50-60/night, doubles 60-80.
    • Agriturismo Le Rondini, in Borgo Panigale Anzola dell’Emilia  www.agrilerondini.it, 7 rooms, 12 beds, fruit, wine tastings
  • Pianoro – S of Bologna (15 min)
    • Il Cavicchio Agriturismo http://www.ilcavicchio.it/ nice spot but rooms look a bit spartan, this is “bassa” stagione 55-138 for a room (depends on numbers) with breakfast—basically 76/night for double room (either matrimonial or 2 beds)…5 bedrooms total, 051-626-0352, 329-074-8456, can also get dinner for 23/person; good reviews at http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g1757549-d1066804-Reviews-Il_Cavicchio_Agriturismo-Rastignano_Emilia_Romagna.html 
    • Agriturismo Canovetta del Vento, www.canovettadelvento.it 60/night for single and 80/night for double room, 5 rooms total, in hills just outside of Bologna, restaurant, old school rooms, 051-651-6564, 7 km S of Bologna, good reviews (say the people are very warm, good meals for only 25/person, etc.) at http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g1058205-d1167491-Reviews-Agriturismo_Canovetta_del_Vento-Pianoro_Emilia_Romagna.html 
    • Top Hotel Park – has swimming pool, room for 10+ people at ~20/person/night but not the best reviews (because it’s older?) at http://www.venere.com/hotels/pianoro/top-hotel-park 
  • Sasso Marconi [16 km S of Bologna on A1]
    • Conchiglie Agriturismo http://www.leconchiglie.it/  – Alice, 50-150 rooms/apartments, lots of animals as it’s also a “zooeria” [no reviews online]
    • http://www.cavecchia.it/eng/infotariffe.html  75-105/night [no reviews online]
    • http://www.piccolaraieda.it/prezzi.html   66 to 115/night Sasso Marconi, 20 min S of Bologna, very outdoorsy (horses, mountain bikes, hiking…)
    • www.agriturismorioverde.it  Rio Verde, 6 rooms (1 single, 4 double, 1 triple) that can sleep a total of 12; good review says it’s rustic but newly refurbished; also is a “learning farm”: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g663352-d943722-Reviews-Agriturismo_Rio_Verde-Sasso_Marconi_Emilia_Romagna.html 
  • In Anzola dell’Emilia – near Bologna on way to Modena: Agriturismo I Salici Bologna, www.agriturismoisalici.it family run by Mauro, Antonella, Anna, and Chiara, fruit, vegetables, wine, newly furnished rooms with wifi, 12 km from Bologna, 15 km from Modena, 8 rooms with 18 beds total, 051-739-418, singles 50-60/night, doubles 60-80. [no reviews online]
  • Zola Predosa – 10 km W of Bologna:
    • Borgo delle Vigne Agriturismo http://www.gaggiolivini.it/ also Vigneto Gaggioli (lots of wines) 80-140/night (normally ~90) for double rooms; 5 double rooms and 1 single room, breakfast is 5 euro…also on booking.com but not enough reviews yet, on 22 hectacres, restaurant closed during August…does guided wine tasting or cooking courses for 10+ people, 051-753-489, 051-750-534,  one good review at http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g780938-d929463-Reviews-Borgo_delle_Vigne-Zola_Predosa_Emilia_Romagna.html 
    • La Roverella www.mariabortolotti.it 4 rooms with 7 beds total, can add additional beds for 2 more, 50-70/night
    • Ghironda Resort: (also an art museum!) http://www.venere.com/apartments/zola-predosa/ghironda-resort can fit 10+ people for ~30/person/night, 1-room apartments with kitchen (basically studios), 15 min from center of Bologna, not many reviews but good, http://www.ghironda.it/resort.asp 051-757-229
    • Admiral Park Hotel – full service (more expensive?) hotel, can fit 10+ people for between 33 and 70/person/night, http://www.venere.com/hotels/zola-predosa/admiral-park-hotel excellent reviews also at http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g780938-d779695-Reviews-Admiral_Park_Hotel-Zola_Predosa_Emilia_Romagna.html 
    • Another hotel – not available though: http://www.venere.com/hotels/zola-predosa/hotel-continental
  • Monte San Pietro – 12 km W of Bologna, on the way to Modena
    • Montevecchio Isolani  http://www.isolani.it/it/agriturismo-introduzione.html  - makes wines & olive oil, one of the better winemakers in the area, 65-90/night, 150-160/night for apartment, 051-230-579
    • Tenuta Bonzara – www.bonzara.it, 12 beds total, 180 euro for a weekend, produces DOC Colli Bolognesi wine [no reviews online]
    • Ca del Buco (~30 km from Bologna, ~46 min from city center, 20-30 min from A1) – www.cadelbuco.it 6 rooms, rustic/authentic place, 25/person/night including breakfast, 051-676-7309, 339-177-4744 (Paola), 20-25 for dinner at agriturismo, make fruit, vegetables, eggs, small workout room, good reviews: http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g1081447-d1433883-r29101779-Ca_del_Buco-Monte_San_Pietro_Emilia_Romagna.html 
    • Antica Trattoria Belletti - www.trattoriabelletti.it, rec'd by Mangiarozzo
  • More options: www.terredibologna.it is a great website reference for places in Bologna province; Let's Go Bologna Accommodations shows cheap options.

Modena

Hometown of tenor Luciano Pavarotti and the best balsamic vinegar in the world, Modena has a nice historic center with a beautiful cathedral...and the Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Maserati factories are just outside of town.  Reggio nell'Emilia is a slightly larger town between Modena and Parma.

Where to Eat

  • ***Osteria Francescana - via Stella 22, 059-210-118, closed Sat lunch and Sun, www.osteriafrancescana.it, named one of the top 50 restaurants in the world, 3 Michelin stars, rec'd by GR, Espresso, TCI, expensive haute cuisine but probably the best place we've ever eaten
    • Watch Netflix's Chef's Table episode about the chef (Massimo Bottura) to learn more about this place and the couple who run it
  • ***Aldina - via Albinelli 40, 059-236-106, closed Sun, lunch only (except dinners on Fri/Sat), closed July/August, near the covered market, "a true classic" popular Modenese food, ~€25-30, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, TCI, Mangiarozzo, great, "homestyle" pasta dishes like pumpkin tortelloni with sage & butter sauce.
  • Ermes - via Ganaceto 89, no phone, closed Sun, lunch only, don't let the gruff staff turn you away from this Modena institution with daily menus of fresh, traditional food, great bargain, ~€15-25, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, TCI
  • ##Hosteria Giusti - vicolo Squallore 46, via Farini 75, 059-222-533, www.hosteriagiusti.it, closed Sun/Mon, lunch only, a bit expensive, rec'd by GR, Espresso, Michelin, TCI, Mario Batali, Mangiarozzo...only a few tables so reserve in advance!
  • Da Enzo - via Coltellini 17, 059-225-177, closed Sun eve, Mon, traditional Modenese food, homemade pastas and desserts, ~€30, rec'd by Gambero Rosso.
  • L'Erba del Re - via castel Maraldo 45, 059-218-188/339-896-0847, closed Mon lunch, Sun, fancy place (traditional menu is €35 but other menus are €55-95), rec'd by GR, Espresso, Michelin, TCI
  • Osteria Stalla del Pomodoro - Luogo Hannover 63, closed Sat lunch, Sun, quiet, icreative interpretations of local favorites, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Espresso
  • Nonantola (11 km/14 min NE of Modena)
    • ***Osteria di Rubbiara - Localita Rubbiara, Via Risaia 2, 059-549-019, www.acetaiapedroni.it/en/osteria, closed Tues, lunch only except Fri/Sat, 16th century building, garden, rustic, old school (no cell phones, fixed menu, etc.), *must* reserve in advance, rec'd by GR, Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Espresso, Michelin, TCI, Mangiarozzo (rec's maccheroni al pettine "comb maccheroni", tagliatelle, pasta sampler, Lambrusco chicken, and balsamic vinegar made on the premises as part of the Pedroni Acetaia), also see this blogpost
      • this is worth the trip just to meet the cantankerous patron, Italo Pedroni, who enforces the strict no-cell phone use policy, and refused to let us leave until we had eaten our plates clean!
  • Soliera (15 km / 18 min N of Modena)
    • Osteria Bohemia - Localita Sozzigalli, via Canale 497, 059-563-041, www.osteriabohemia.it, closed Sun/Mon, cooking based on aromatic herbs fresh from their garden, rec'd by GR, Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Espresso, Michelin, TCI, Mangiarozzo (rec's pears/raspberries in balsamic, lots of pasta & meat dishes), we ate here in October 2013 and enjoyed it (their herbs are indeed very nice, and it's a quaint/romantic setting) but it probably wasn't worth the schlep
  • Spilamberto (~16 km E of Modena near Modena Sud A1 exit)
    • Da Cesare - via San Giovanni 38, 059-784-259, closed Sun eve, Mon, and Tues, known for great balsamic vinegar and dishes made with it, ~€25-35 and €40 all-inclusive fixed price menu, rec'd by Panorama, Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Mangiarozzo, and Michelin.
  • Vignola (24 km/32 min SE of Modena, nice "Rocca" castle)
    • Trattoria la Bolognese - closed Sat, only lunch, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Michelin
  • Castelfranco Emilia (~13 km E of Modena)
    • La Griglia - Piazza Garibaldi 15, 059-928-784, closed Sat lunch, Sun dinner, and Mon, next to City Hall, as the name suggests they specialize in grilled foods, ~€35-50, was rec'd by Gambero Rosso and Espresso...now just Alice.
    • La Lumira - Corso Martiri 74, 059-926-550, closed Mon dinner, Sun, home of "tortellini in brodo," historic location with great regional specialties, ~€35-50, fixed menus for €40 and €45, rec'd by Panorama, Gambero Rosso, Espresso, Michelin, and TCI.
  • Bomporto (20 km/20min N of Modena)
    • La Lanterna di Diogene - rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Mangiarozzo
    • Wineries
      • Gianfranco Paltrinieri - frazione Sorbara, via Cristo 49, www.cantinapaltrinieri.it, Lambrusco di Sorbara Leclisse highly rec'd by Slow Food
  • Campogalliano (12km/14min NW of Modena)
    • La Barchetta - via Magnagallo Est 20, 059-526-218, closed Sun, and evenings M-Th, both tradition and innovation with fresh, seasonal ingredients, homemade desserts and sorbets, garden where you can dine under wisterias, ~€30, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Michelin, Espresso, Mangiarozzo and TCI.
    • Laghi - via Albone 27, 059-526-988, www.ristorantelaghi.it, closed Wed and from Dec-Mar, in Mar/Apr/Oct/Nov only open Fri/Sat/Sun, good ingredients, aromatic herbs, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia (rec's tagliatelle con salsiccia, guancialino), Espresso
  • Finale (44km/44min NE of Modena)
    • Entrà da Clio - rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Espresso
    • Osteria la Fefa - rec'd by GR, Espresso, Michelin, TCI, also a hotel
  • Frassinoro (64km/1.25hr S of Modena)
    • Alla Pescheiera - rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia
    • nearby in Lama Mocogno: Miramonti, also rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia
    • neraby in Sestola: Hotel San Rocco is expensive (€70-75) but rec'd restaurant/hotel by GR, Espreso, Michelin, TCI
  • Reggio nell'Emilia
    • A Mangiare - Viale Monte Grappa 3a, 052-243-3600, closed Sun, www.ristoranteamangiare.it, under the walls of the historic center, feel "at home" in this traditional restaurant, €35-40 a la carte or €37 tasting menu, rec'd by GR, Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Espresso, Michelin, Mangiarozzo
    • Trattoria della Ghiara - rec'd by GR, Espresso, Michelin, TCI
    • Antica Trattoria del Tondo - www.anticatrattoriadeltondo.com, rec'd by Mangiarozzo
    • Gelateria Capolinea – via Ettore Simonazzi 14, rec'd by dissapore as one of the 50 best gelaterie in Italy
  • Scandiano (25 km / 23 min SE of Reggio, 30 min from Modena)
    • Osteria in Scandiano - Piazza Boiardo Matteo Maria 9, 052-285-7079, closed Thurs, www.osteriainscandiano.com, great ingredients freshly prepared, rec'd by GR, Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Michelin, TCI
    • Bosco - rec'd by GR, Espresso, Michelin, TCI
  • Baiso (Reggio province hill town, 33km/43min S of Reggio, 41km/46min SW of Modena)
    • Ca'Poggioli - rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Mangiarozzo
  • Castelnovo nè Monti (42km/48min SW of Reggio, ~1 hour SW of Modena)
    • Il Capolinea - rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, TCI
    • slightly NW is Vetto: Antica Trattoria del sole, closed Wed, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia
  • Corregio (20 km/27 min NE of Reggio)
    • Tre Spade - rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia
  • Montecchio Emlia (15km/21min W of Reggio, 19km/25min SE of Parma)
    • La Ghironda - closed Sun dinner, Mon, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Espresso, Michelin

Where to Stay

  • In Modena
    • Best Western Libertà - www.hotelliberta.it, nice place with central location (they'll give you a pass to display in your car for free parking in the ZTL nearby)
    • Fini Ristorante/Albergo (rec'd Panorama, TCI, Espresso, MIchelin) www.hotelrealfini.it  fancy hotels but highly reviewed on tripadvisor --> now closed? http://www.italiaatavola.net/articoli.asp?cod=11387
    • La Piola (Trattoria con Alloggio) rec'd Michelin
    • Le Ville - Rist/Albergo, rec'd Michelin www.minihotelleville.it special deal for 2 adjoining rooms for 190/night, wifi, pool, a little “old school”, generally good reviews at http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g187803-d638733-Reviews-Hotel_le_Ville-Modena_Emilia_Romagna.html  
    • La Baccelliera - www.labaccelliera.it, in Modena, restaurant, good for kids (petting zoo, etc.), 70-140/night with bkfst, good review for restaurant: http://meredici-abroadinitaly.com/tag/sarzana/page/3/ 
    • La Casa del Viandante - www.lacasadelviandante.it/lcdv/camera-prezzi-economici.html  6 rooms & 1 apartment of 3 rooms for rent, in Modena center, 20-40/night
    • Other options: http://www.venere.com/italy/modena/
  • Outside of Town
    • Fondo Giardino (East of downtown Modena), http://www.fondogiardino.it/chisiamoeng.htm  -->, 30/person/night...associated with Agriturismo Cantoni? http://www.agriturismocantoni.it/ 2 km E of Modena, rooms not available (?)
  • Castelfranco Emilia (13 km E of Modena, on road to Bologna)
    • Villa Gaidello Agriturismo, rec'd Pan, Veronelli, TCI; roughly 100 euro/night? http://www.slowtrav.com/italy/vr/review.asp?n=1344 http://www.slowtrav.com/italy/vr/review.asp?n=391   http://www.gaidello.com/  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/265010  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/262061  info@gaidello.com   http://www.gustamodena.it/visite.php?cod=5555  http://splendidtable.publicradio.org/whereweeat/travel_villa_gaidello.shtml ....note some TripAdvisor readers in 2009 say that it is no longer a working farm...Paola Bini no longer operates, but as late as 2008 a reader says it is still good...overpriced fixed price menu?? 059-926-620
    • Agriturismo La Lupa www.lalupa.it 55-77/night including breakfast, pool (May-Sept), on/near a golf course, restaurant closed until end of August, 22 Via Cassola di sopra, 059-934-384, Wifi/AC [no reviews online]
  • Castelvetro di Modena (19 km S of Modena)
    • Locanda del Feudo Risto/Camere rec'd Veronelli, www.locandadelfeudo.it 6 rooms, 059-708-711, matrimonial suite 90 (110 with bkfst), single use suite 75 (85 with bkfst), luxury suite is ~15-40 more, 20 for extra bed, glowing reviews at http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g1053088-d262546-Reviews-Locanda_Del_Feudo-Castelvetro_di_Modena_Emilia_Romagna.html also good reviews at http://www.venere.com/hotels/castelvetro-di-modena/hotel-locanda-del-feudo/ 
    • Hotel Arthur: www.hotelarthur.it nice rooms, 059-748-028, pool, wifi, 2 nights for 120 euro in double room or 90 in single room, good reviews, esp. for kids, has room for 10+ people at 21/night/person at http://www.venere.com/hotels/castelvetro-di-modena/hotel-arthur excellent reviews at http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g1092542-d1061096-Reviews-Hotel_Arthur-Solignano_Nuovo_Emilia_Romagna.html
    • Wineries
      • Corte Manzini - località Ca' di Sola, via per Modena 131, www.cortemanzini.it, Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro Secco highly rec'd by Slow Food
  • Reggio Province:
    • Poviglio - 48 km NW of Reggio, actually closer to Parma, not far from A1
      • Casa Motta  Ristorante d'albergo - rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Mangiarozzo
    • Rubiera (13 km E of Reggio, convenient location close to Modena and A1)
      • Clinica Gastronoimca Arnaldo - Rist/Albergo - Pan, Gambero Rosso, E, Mich, TCI, set in ancient palace, 50-55 euro though  www.clinicagastronomica.com 4 person apartment €140, junior suite €108, douple room €95, includes breakfast...really a hotel vice agriturismo
    • Brescello 28 km N of Reggio, roughly equidistant to Parma, near Veneto border on Po river
      • La Tavernetta del Lupo (Risto/Camere, Gambero Rosso)

Parma

To the northwest of Modena, past Reggio nell'Emilia, Parma is known for its Prosciutto di Parma, made from pigs fed on the equally famous cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano.  (Note that while Parmigiano-Reggiano can be made in several provinces, to be called Prosciutto di Parma the production must be in the Parma province.)  Check out the Duomo in the historic center, built in the early middle ages with Coreggio's Assumption on the ceiling (more at the Sacred Destinations page for the Parma Cathedral).  The Parmigiano-Reggiano museum is in Soragna (~30 min W of Parma, just of A1, see above for more info). Typographic nerds should reserve ahead to visit the Museo Bodoniano (2nd website), which is devoted to typeface designer Giambattista Bodoni (open only by reservation between 9 and 1 M-Sat at 052-122-0449/052-122-0411 or mubodoni@unipr.itmuseobodoni@beniculturali.it).

Where to Eat

  • Trattoria del Tribunale - viocolo Politi 5a, 052-128-5527, closed Sun dinner, Mon, near Tribunale, rec’d by Alice, several Chowhounds and Cadogan, ~€30-35.
  • Trattoria Corrieri - Strada del Conservatorio 1, 052-123-4426, www.trattoriacorrieri.it, traditional cuisine, rec'd by Chowhounds, Mangiarozzo, and Cadogan.
  • Osteria del Gesso - via Maestri 11, 052-123-0505, building from 18th century, rec'd by Chowhounds, Espresso, Michelin, and TCI, a bit pricier (€50) but also has €25 tasting menu.
  • Osteria della Gatta Matta - Borgo degli Studi 9, 052-123-1475, closed Sun, Mon, rec'd by Gambero Rosso, Espresso, and Cadogan, ~€30-35.
  • Osteria del 36 - Via Saffi 26a (near Duomo), 052-128-7061, closed Sun, rec'd by Michelin, €25-45 fixed price or ~€35-40 a la carte.
  • Gallo d'Oro - Borgo della Salina 3 (centro storico, just S of Duomo), 052-120-8846, closed Sun dinner, rec'd by Michelin; Frommer's "favorite trattoria" ~€30-35.
  • La Greppia - Strada Garibaldi 39a, 052-123-3686, closed Mon, Tues, innovative takes on E-R traditions, rec'd by Espresso, Michelin, and Fodors, rec'd by Mario Batali.
  • Il Cortile - Borgo Paglia 3 (just W of bridges), 052-128-5779, simple menus but good, €35-40 dinner, €14 lunch, rec'd by Michelin and Cadogan
  • La Filoma - Via XX Marzo 15, 052-120-6181, closed Wed lunch, Tues, rec'd by Michelin, TCI, and Fodors.
  • Enoteca Antica Osteria Fontana - Strada Farini 24/a (near P. Garibaldi), 052-128-6037, closed Sun & Mon, cheap, good sandwiches, wine, popular with young crowd, rec'd by Cadogan and Fodors.
  • Bottiglia Azzurra - enoteca rec'd by Cadogan
  • Food Shops
    • downtown Parma: via Garibaldi (2 good delicatessans)
    • Gelateria Caraibi (via Emilio Lepido 9) & K2 (Via Cairoli) - rival gelaterie near the Duomo
    • Yogurt/Produce: La Bergamina - Strada Monatanara 357, rec'd by Slow Food
    • Caffe: Gianluca Montanari - piazzale San Bartolomeo 7, Torrefazione del Gallo, rec'd by Slow Food
  • Just outside of town:
    • Ai due Platani - via Budellungo 104 (localita Coloreto, ~6 km SE of city center), 052-164-5626, closed Mon eve, great traditional food, rec'd by Michelin, Gambero Rosso, Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Espresso, and TCI, ~€30-35, also see this Financial Times article
    • Antichi Sapori - Localita Gaione (3 km from Parma), strada Montanara 318, 052-164-8165, www.cucinaparmigiana.it, closed Tues, old place that supposedly belonged to Paganini, Parma traditions, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Espresso, Michelin, TCI
    • Da Romeo - Localita Botteghino (8 km/14 min SE), via Traversetolo 185, 052-164-1167, closed Thurs, homemade style, Parma traditions, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Mangiarozzo
    • Antica Osteria i Tri Siochett - strada Farnese 74 (in Vigheffio, ~4 km SW of city center), 052-196-8870, only open for dinner except weekends, nice outside area, very popular, rec'd by Gambero Rosso, Michelin, and Cadogan, €25-35.
  • Busseto (40 km/40min W of Parma, off A1)
    • Campanini - Localita Madonna dei Prati, via Roncole Verdi 136, 052-492-569, closed Tues/Wed, only dinner except Sun, rec'd by GR, Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Espresso, Mangiarozzo, TCI for culatello, prosciutto, simple primi/secondi, and zabaione all'aceto balsamico
    • just N: Polesine Parmense has some more expensive places such as Al Cavallino Bianco, Antica Corte Pallavicina
  • Sala Baganza (15km/24min SW of Parma)
    • Da Eletta - closed Sun dinner, Mon, Tues, rec'd by GR
    • Milla - closed Thurs, dinner only except for weekends, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Espresso, TCI
  • Castelano (31km/43min SW of Parma)
    • Locanda Mariella - Localita Fragnolo 59, 052-552-102, closed Mon/Tues, truffles, cheese, cappelletti in brodo, "don't miss if you're in the area" says GR, Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Espresso, Michelin, TCI
  • Colorno (19km/24min N of Parma)
    • Al Vèdel Antica Trattoria - rec'd by GR, Espresso, Michelin, TCI
    • a bit further W is Trecasali: La Porta di Felino - Localita Viarolo, via Provinciale Cremonese 103, 052-183-6839, www.laportadifelino.it, closed Sun dinner, Wed, rustic, relaxing, old trattoria, fresh seasonal dishes, traditional local meats (e.g. little veal cheeks), homemade desserts, €13 lunch and €35 dinner, rec'd by GR, Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Michelin
  • Sissa (26km/32min N of Parma)
    • Laghi Verdi - Localita Gramignazzo, closed Mon/Tues, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia
  • Langhirano (23km/30min S of Parma) --> where Prosciutto museum is
    • Masticabrodo - Localita Pilastro S.P. per Torrechiara 45a, 052-16-9110, www.masticabrodo.com, closed Sun dinner, Mon, homemade pastas, local traditions, near Torrechiara castle (and with games for kids!), rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Michelin
    • Mazzini - Via Ferrari 84, Naviano degli Arduini, nice view, run by couple, rec'd by Ost
    • a ways NE is Lesignano de' Bagni:
      • Trattoria Capelli - Localital Rivalta, via Fossola 78, 052-135-0122, www.trattoriacapelli.it, closed Thurs, in prosciutto region, simple traditional cuisine (homemade salumi, squash/potato tortelli, cacciatora rooster/rabbit), beautiful view of the hills, rec'd by GR, Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Espresso, Mangiarozzo (also Slow Food rec's the cheese maker Iris)
    • a ways SE is Neviano degli Arduini: Trattoria Mazzini, closed Mon dinner, Thurs, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Michelin, TCI, Mangiarozzo
  • Corniglio (50km/1hr S of Parma)
    • Da Vigion - hotel/restaurant, via Provinciale 21, 052-188-8113, closed Mon/Tues, pass through Langhirano, beautiful country (on edge of a park), local traditions (salumi, funghi, tortelli, tagliolini, cacciagione), very affordable, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia.
  • Other recommedations
    • allende on Chowhound (guy who strongly rec'd Amerigo) likes Cavallino Bianco, Da Ivan (Trattoria Osteria Da Ivan in Roccabianca, 31 min/25 kim NW of Parma), Trattoria La Buca (Zibello, 39 min/35 km NW of Parma) and Locanda Mariella (in Fragno frazione of Calestano, 50 min/35 km S of Parma)

Where to Stay

  • Albergo Leon d’Oro, Viale Fratti 4a, 052-177-3182, near train station, inexpensive, rec'd by Let's Go and Cadogan.
  • Hotel Torino - Borgo Angelo Mazza 7 (near duomo), 052-128-1046, free WiFi, rec'd by Cadogan
  • Moderno - via Cecchi 4, anything but "modern" but nice says Cadogan
  • Lazzaro - near Duomo, Via XX Marzo 14, 052-120-8944 or 333-319-5395, rooms upstairs from a trattoria, rec'd by Cadogan.
  • Hotel Button - Borgo Salina 7 (at San Vitale, just S of Duomo), 052-120-8039, Cadogan says "almost as cute as its name", rec'd by Frommer's, €72-136 without breakfast, slightly more with.
  • Palazzo Dalla Rosa Prati - more expensive, right at Duomo, suites €150-380, apartments €125-450, WiFi, rec'd by Fodors.
  • Hotel Stendhal - via Bodini 3 (a couple blocks NW of Duomo), 052-120-8057
  • Astoria - rooms near train station
  • Brenta - rooms near train station, rec'd by Cadogan
  • Hotel Verdi - near Palazzo Ducale park, W of centro storico
  • For cheap options, see the Let's Go Parma Accommodations page

Ravenna

Near Veneto (and thus a handy day-trip from Venice), this town is known for its Byzantine mosaics, which date to the earliest days of the Christian church (see www.ravennamosaici.it for more info).  Dante also wrote much of the Divine Comedy here, and is buried near the church of San Francesco (Tomba di Dante, on Via Dante Alighieri).
  • ***Osteria dei Battibecchi - via della Tesoreria Vecchia 16, 054-421-9536, www.osteriadeibattibecchi.it, open every day, fresh local food prepared with love by Nicoletta, rec'd Slow Food Osterie d'Italia --> highly recommended!  one of our favorite places we ate in the entire region, not far to walk from the mosaics, delicious squacquerone with piadina and other classic Romagna dishes
  • Il Mago del Pesce - Localita Sant'Alberto, via Sant'Alberto 404, 054-452-9048, closed Sun dinner, Mon, rec'd Slow Food Osterie d'Italia
  • Ristorante Cappello e Cantina - enoteca/hotel/restaurant, via IV Novembre 41, 054-421-9876, closed Sun dinner, Mon, historicl paalce, rec'd by GR, Espresso
  • Ristorante Alma - viale della Pace 468 (località marina di Ravenna), 054-453-0284, closed Mon, rec'd by Mangiarozzo
  • Food shop: I Grisi - via Rava 6, rec'd by Slow Food
  • Russi (22km/23min SW of Ravenna)
    • Da Luciano - rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, TCI
  • Bagnacavallo (27km/25min W of Ravenna, towards A14)
    • Osteria di Piazza Nuova - rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia
    • just W is Lugo: Antica Trattoria del Teatro - vicolo del Teatro 6, 054-535-164, closed Mon, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, TCI, Mangiarozzo

Ferrara

This historic town is famous for its Estense Castle (Catello Estense, 9-1 and 3-7 last entry at 6:15 PM, closed Mon most of the year), medieval arched streets such as via delle Volte, and specialities such as cappellacci di zucca.

Where to Eat

  • Antica Trattoria il Cucco - via Voltacasotto 3, 053-276-0026, closed Wed, 15th-century building, rec'd for cappellacci di zucca, etc., by TCI
  • Antica Trattoria Volano - viale Volano 20, 053-276-1421, 340-150-0170, www.anticatrattoriavolano.it, open every day, rec'd by Mangiarozzo, Alice, Chowhounds...specializes in pasticcio di maccheroni
  • L'Oca Giuliva Cantina e Cucina - via Boccacanale di Santo Stefano 3840, 053-220-7628, rec'd by GR, Espresso, TCI, Chowhounds
  • La Borsa Wine-Bar - Corso Ercole I D'Este 1, 053-224-3363, closed Mon, enoteca/restaurant, rec'd by GR, Espresso, Michelin
  • L'Antico Giardino - Locale Ravalle (10 min north of city), via Martelli 28, 053-241-2100, closed Sat/Tues lunch, Mon, rec'd by GR, Espresso, Michelin
  • Lanzagallo - Localita Gaibana, via Ravenna 1048, 053-271-8001, closed Sun/Mon, rec'd by GR, Espresso, Michelin, TCI
  • Quel Fantastico Giovedì - via Castelnuovo 9, 053-276-0570, closed Tues lunch, Wed, rec'd by GR, Espresso, Michelin
  • Trattoria Il Mandolino - via Carlo Mayr 83/via del Volte 52, 053-276-0080, www.ristoranteilmandolino.it, closed Mon dinner, Tues, rec'd by Mangiarozzo
  • Il Brindisi - old place (supposedly one of the oldest places in town?), rec'd by wikitravel, one Chowhound says cappellaci with zucca are "to die for"
  • Cento (30 km / 37 min W of Ferrara)
    • Antica Osteria del Cencio - rec'd by GR, Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Michelin
  • Bondeno (20 km / 26 min W of Ferrara
    • Tassi - also a hotel, rec'd by GR, Espresso, Michelin, TCI

Forlì/Cesena

Province between Rimini (along the coast) and Bologna
  • Cesena (92km/1hr from Bologna, 1.5 hr by train, leaves every 40 min)
    • Michiletta - via Strinati 41, 054-724-691, closed Sun, www.osteriamichiletta.com, rec'd by GR, Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Espresso, TCI, Mangiarozzo
    • in Gambettola, nearby: Cheese at Il Buongustaio - piazza Cavour 5, rec'd by Slow Food
  • Cesenatico (coastal town 16 km / 27 min NE of Cesena)
    • Osteria del Gran Fritto - Corso Garibaldi 41, 054-782-474, same address/phone as the restaurant La Buca, open every day, rec'd for great fried food, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Michelin
    • Pasta: Il Mattarello - via Baldini, rec'd by Slow Food
    • Sweets: Il Giardio del Sappori Perduti - piazza Fiorentini, rec'd by Slow Food
  • Forlì
    • Don Abbondio - rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Espresso
    • La Casa Rusticale dei Cavalieri Templari - closed Sun/Mon, rec'd by GR, Espresso, Michelin, TCI
    • Osteria Nascosta - closed Sun/Mon, cheap, rec'd by GR, TCI, Mangiarozzo
    • Gelato: Puro e Bio - viale Vittorio Veneto 24, , rec'd by Slow Food for fruit and pistacchio
    • Wineries
      • Stefano Berti - in frazione Ravaldino in Monte, www.bertistefano.com, their Sangiovese di Romagna Superiore Ravaldo is highly rec'd by Slow Food
  • Faenza (on via emilia in Ravenna province, just NW of Forlì, easy to get to from Bologna on train every 40 min)
    • Baita - via Naviglio 25c, 054-621-584, closed Sun/Mon, www.labaitaosteria.it, eno-gastronomy in the historic center, menu changes weekly, rec'd by GR, Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Espresso, TCI, Mangiarozzo
    • Trattoria Marianaza - via Torricelli 21, 054-668-1461, closed Wed, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Mangiarozzo
    • Osteria di Sant'Agostino - corso Matteotti 35, 054-666-7493, 335-341-130, www.osteriadisantagostino.it, rec'd Mangiarozzo
    • Wineries
      • Fattoria Zerbina - in frazione Marzeno, www.zerbina.com, their Sangiovese di Romagna Superiore Torre di Ceparano is highly rec'd by Slow Food
  • Brisighella (in Ravenna province but closer to Faenza: 52km/54min SW of Ravenna, just 12 km/17min SW of Faenza)
    • Locanda La Cavallina - rec'd by Mangiarozzo
    • Croce Daniele - rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia
    • Osteria del Guercinoro - rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia
    • Trattoria di Strada Casale - Localita Strada Casale, via Strada Casale 22, 054-688-054, closed Wed, dinner only except weekends, "a must for those who pass by here", ravioli with fresh local cheese and wild herbs, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Espresso, Michelin, TCI --> moved to Faenza (vicolo Sant'Antonio via Torricelli) in June 2013??
  • Portico e San Benedetto (43 km / 44 min SW of Forlì)
  • Longiano (12 km /19 min SE of Cesena)
    • Il Ristorante dei Cantoni - closed Wed, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Michelin, TCI
  • Savignano sul Rubicone (15 km / 20 min E of Cesena)
    • Trattoria dell'Autista - via Battisti 20, 054-194-5133, closed Fri/Sat dinner, Sunday, rustic family place rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia
  • Sogliano al Rubicone (30 km / 34 min SE of Cesena)
    • Da Ottavio - Localita Savignano di Rigo 3, closed Tues, old school, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia
  • Mercato Saraceno (23 km / 31 min S of Cesena, on the way S to Umbria)
    • Allegria - Localita Montesorbo, Via Ciola 381, 054-769-2382, closed Sun/Mon dinner, cheap, constructed in early 19th century, very traditional, handmade pasta, in the summer closed M-F, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, TCI
    • Da Elena - Localita Monte Castello, via 30 Aprile 104, 054-791-565, closed Mon, cheap family restaurant, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia
  • Santa Sofia (41 km / 1 hour S of Cesena)
    • Osteria del Borgo da Fischio - via San Martino 61B, 054-397-0417, 347-212-1158, closed Thurs, cheap, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Mangiarozzo
    • Poderone - agriturismo from 18th century in middle of park, via Campigna-Poderone 64 (località Campigna), 054-398-0069, 347-946-0946, open every day, good for kids, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Mangiarozzo
  • Forlimpopoli (town with 16th-century castle, directly between Forlì and Cesena)
    • L'Aldiquà - via Sendi 8, 054-374-7029, dinner only, open every day, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Espresso
  • Galeata (small town 33 km / 38 min S of Forlimpopoli, has ancient abbey of Sant'Ellero)
    • La Campanara - Localita Pianetto, Via Pianetto Borgo 24a, 054-398-1561, closed Mon/Tues, dinner only except on weekends, seasonal Tuscan-Romagnan food, rec'd by GR, Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Espresso
  • Bagno di Romagna (small hill town 50 km/40min SW of Cesena)
    • Locanda al Gambero Rosso - Localita San Piero in Bagno, Via Verdi 5, 054-390-3405, lunch only W-Th and Sun, lunch and dinner Fri/Sat, Saragoni family welcomes you to a wonderful feast, also an agriturismo where you can stay, rec'd by GR, Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Espresso, Michelin, TCI!
    • Restaurant Prêt-à-Porter - Piazza Dante Alighieri 2, 054-391-1260, 348-919-1992, www.paoloteverini.it, open every day, highly rec'd by Mangiarozzo (on its "new ones not to miss" list)
      • Paolo Teverini Hotel Tosco-Romagnolo on via del POpolo 2 is a fancier reatsaurant re'cd by GR, Espresso, Michelin (1 star), TCI
    • (slightly further S in Verghereto:) Pensione Lanzi - Localita Alfero, via Babini 10, 054-391-0024, closed Wed, relaxing hotel with a family-run restaurant, with homemade Tuscan influences, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, TCI, Mangiarozzo
    • Casteldelci (SE of San Piero in Bagno, in Rimini province): Trattoria Gattara, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia

Rimini

This town along the Adriatic has large, long beaches with huge resorts. While popular with Italians, it's a bit boring for Americans since there isn't much to see (apart from nearby San Marino).  See Imola, above, for some good places to eat on the road from Bologna to Rimini.
  • Places to eat in Rimini
    • Cucina dei Teatini, Piazza Teatini, 054-128-008, 339-238-7695, 12:30-2:30, 7:30-11, closed Sat lunch and Sun - nice place to eat
    • Farini 13 - rec'd by GR, Espresso
    • La Marianna - rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Mangiarozzo
    • Osteria de Borg - www.osteriadeborg.it, Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Michelin, TCI, Mangiarozzo
    • Osteria Il Quartino - www.ilquartino.it, rec'd by Mangiarozzo
  • Santarcangelo di Romagna (10km/14min W of Rimini)
    • La Sangiovesa - Piazza Balacchi 14, 054-162-0710, www.sangiovesa.it, open every day for dinner only, "voyage through the history and flavors of Romagna", both an Osteria and Restaurant (the former is a bit less expensive), rec'd by GR, Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Espresso, Michelin, TCI

San Marino

This tiny country of about 30,000 people is crammed onto 24 square miles of mountainous territory, giving tourists a peek at what medieval Italian city-states were like.  Unlike all the other city states, they kept their independence largely because they sheltered Garibaldi before he became a big shot, and he repaid the favor.  While touristy, it is very scenic, especially if you duck off the most touristy lanes to explore the various castles and ramparts.

  • Places to eat:
    • Buca San Francesco - rec'd by TCI
    • Hotel Joli/Vecchia Stazione - rec'd by Michelin, TCI
    • Il Piccolo - rec'd by Alice (also rooms)
    • Ristorante Righi/La Taverna - rec'd by Espresso, Michelin, a bit expensive
  • Places near San Marino:
    • Monte Colombo (just E of San Marino): Trattoria Santa Colomba - rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia
    • San Leo (similar hill town/castle to San Marino): La Rocca - via Leopardi 16, 054-191-6241, closed Mon, rec'd by GR, Slow Food Osterie d'Italia; also Alice rec's Agriturismo Locanda San Leone

Piacenza

The farthest North/West part of Emilia, Piacenza is close to Milan and Genoa, and has a medieval core
  • Trattoria San Giovanni - via Garibaldi 49, 052-332-1029, closed Mon lunch, traditional dishes, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Espresso, Mangiarozzo
  • Antica Trattoria dell'Angelo - via Tibini 14, 052-332-6739, 392-253-4021, open every day, rec'd by Mangiarozzo
  • Gazzola (20km/23 min SW of Piacenza)
    • Locanda del Falco - localita Rivalta, 052-397-8101, closed Tues, www.locandadelfalco.com, beautiful castle from the year 1000 (!), on the Trebbia river, you can visit the furnished rooms on Sundays (they also do weddings), 16th century ambiance in restaurant goes along with local food, €10 lunch, €45 a la carte from their extensive menu, rec'd by GR, Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Espresso, Michelin, TCI
      • castle info is at castellorivalta.blogspot.it (e.g. Sept/Oct/November visits are Sat at 11:00, 15:20, 16:40, and 18:00, Sunday 10:30, 12:00, 15:20, 16:40, and 18:00...also during the week with reservation at 052-397-8104/339-298-7892 or castellodirivalta@gmail.com for ≥2 people)
    • Agazzano (23km/28min SW of Piacenza, just a bit further than Gazzola): Antica Trattoria Giovanelli - closed Sun/Wed dinner, Mon, rec'd Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Michelin, Mangiarozzo
  • Morfasso (62km/1 hr SE of Piacenza, 78km/1 hr SW of Parma, SW of Castell'Arquato)
    • Azienda Agrituristica Cà Ciancia - Loc. Cà Ciancia, 29020, www.agriturismocaciancia.it, 052-391-4167/320-343-5229, restaurant only open by reservation
  • Carpaneto Piacentino (21km/22min SE of Piacenza)
    • La Taverna Antica Osteria di Chero - closed Tu/Wed, dinner only except weekends, rec'd Slow Food Osterie d'Italia
  • Castell'Arquato (nice hill town 32 km / 36 min SE of Piacenza, or 45 min W of Parma)
    • Trattoria L'Angiolina - Localita San Lorenzo, via Canale 18, 052-380-6162, closed Tues dinner, Wed, Piacenza cuisine with a twist, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Mangiarozzo
  • Ponte dell'Olio (27km/32min S of Piacenza)
    • Trattoria Bellaria - rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Mangiarozzo
    • Riva - rec'd by GR, Espresso, Michelin, TCI
    • wineries - both of these have Colli Piacentini Gutturnio Frizzante highly rated by Slow Food
  • Farini (45km/50min S of Piacenza)
    • Fratelli Salini (Ristorante Centrale Salini) - www.fratellisalini.it, hotel/restaurant, closed Wed, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Mangiarozzo
  • Fiorenzuola D'Arda (26km/30min SE of Piacenza, near A1, or 38 min W of Parma)
    • Battibue - agriturismo, Localita Battibue 278, 052-394-2314/335-623-3364, www.battibue.it, closed Tues lunch, Mon, fixed menus from €18-26, big portions, nice, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia
  • Monticelli d'Ongina (30km/25min NE of Piacenza, near Cremona)
    • Antica Trattoria Cattivelli - www.trattoriacattivelli.it, closed Tues dinner, Wed, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Michelin, Mangiarozzo
  • Rottofreno (12km/14min W of Piacenza)
    • Baghieri - closed Mon, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Michelin
Comments