All roads lead to Romagna

A road trip down the ancient Via Emilia in central Italy offers a chance to taste delicacies like prosciutto, parmesan and balsamic in their place of origin

Emilia-Romagna is often overlooked by visitors, and that’s a shame because its many smaller cities are an absolute treat. And for those who enjoy building their trips around a narrative thread, there’s the Via Emilia, an ancient Roman road that connected Piacenza in the north to Rimini on the Adriatic coast.

Start in Piacenza, on the Po just south of Lombardy. Despite being bombed, it’s an attractive mix of romanesque, baroque and gothic architecture in a grid of narrow, cobbled streets. There are plenty of churches, palaces and museums, but that’s not what Piacenza is famous for. You come here for the cold cuts and the wines of the Colli Piacentini, Piacenza’s hills, known for perfumed malvasia and gutturnio wines, made with a mix of barbera and croatina grapes to produce sparkling tipples and heady riservas.

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