First things first, Emilia-Romagna is located about an hour south of Venice and an hour east of Florence, as a central coastal region. You may have heard of the famous cheeses Parmiggiano-Reggiano, Grana Padano, Balsamic Vinegar of Modena and even the car brand Ferrari, all of which originate in Emilia-Romagna.

If you want to experience a place besides the regular tourist spots and open your eyes to the real side of Italy, Emilia-Romagna is the place to go. In no particular order, because of all the countless great things this region has to offer, here are the top reasons why you have to visit.

1. The Variety of Sites You'll See

Pauline Fitzgerald

From city life in Bologna, beach life in Rimini or Riccione, farm life in Santa Sofia or Bertinoro, the sites are incredible. You'll get to see the way true Emilia-Romagnans live.

A local cherry farmer in the city of Santa Sofia, giving away a whole branch of cherries.

grass, pasture, rhubarb
Pauline Fitzgerald

From the main piazza of Bertinoro, you can see almost all of the region of Emilia-Romagna.

2. The FOOD

pasta, ravioli, dough, egg, flour
Pauline Fitzgerald

You'll quickly see how much pride Emilian-Romagnan's have about their food and how much they want us to enjoy it as much as they do. The Romagna subregion is also known for pasta dishes like, garganelli, strozzapreti, sfoglia lorda and tortelli alla lastra. They're famous for pumpkin ravioli (cappellacci), savory green ravioli (erbazzone) and many more dishes.

This is the process of how to make tagliatelle, which is a popular type of pasta used throughout all of Italy.

ravioli, sauce, pasta, vegetable, meat, cheese, tortellini
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The traditional cappelletti stuffed with cheese and tagliatelle with beef and tomato sauce, alla bolognese.

vegetable, soup, meat, sweet, bread
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Famous passatelli in brodo (in broth), made with bread crumbs, parmigiana and a hint of lemon, perfect for summer lunch.

3. The History Right Before Your Eyes

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Palazzo Varano is the building where Mussolini spent most of childhood, as his mother was a teacher in this building.

Predappio, a small town in Emilia-Romagna, was the birth place of Benito Mussolini. He ruled the country as Italian Prime Minister from 1922 to 1943. He ruled constitutionally until 1925, when he dropped all pretense of democracy and set up a legal dictatorship. In his years of power, he built numerous buildings in the cities of Predappio and Forlì.

4. The Untouched Sites

water, wine
Pauline Fitzgerald

The Diga of Ridràcoli, where you can buy a ticket for a boat tour and entrance to the eco museum.

Emilian-Romagnans are very environmentally-friendly in everything they do, from organic farming to preserving their sacred land. There are some sites to see that show how much they care about where they live.

5. Happiness is Contagious

coffee, water, beer
Pauline Fitzgerald

In the main piazza in Forlì, the meeting place for locals.

Once you set foot in Emilia-Romagna, you will feel the many symptoms of happiness. After seeing the simplistic life many people live, your point of views about many things will soon change. It's easy to feel immersed in their culture, as they're a very welcoming crowd.

Pauline Fitzgerald

Fausto Faggioli, the owner of a main industrial farm located near Forlì.

You'll never want to leave the beautiful Emilia-Romagna once you're there. The combination of places to visit, unforgettable sites to see, food to taste and people to meet will make you feel right at home.