Gourmets the world over claim that the Italian provinces of Emilia and Romagna's greatest contributions to humankind have been gastronomic.
Birthplace of fettuccine, tortellini, lasagna, prosciutto, and Parmesan cheese, the region has a spectacular culinary tradition. But there are also many cultural riches in the flat, fertile Po plain and its surroundings: Parma's Correggio paintings, Verdi's villa at Sant'Agata, the medieval splendor of Bologna's palazzi and Ferrara's alleyways, and the Byzantine beauty of mosaic-rich Ravenna-glittering as brightly today as it did 1,500 years ago.
You would never visit Emilia-Romagna for the weather. In this predominantly flat landscape, the winters are gray and cold, and the summers are airless and hot, though sea breezes on the coast offer some respite. If you are here in summer, get up early and do as much as you can in the morning. Ideally, mid afternoons in summer should be left unplanned; the hours after five are best for sightseeing and traveling. In winter make sure you are equipped for the frequent rain and damp, penetrating cold. Dense low-lying fog is common throughout the plains in fall and winter and can be starkly beautiful, but it can also be very hazardous on the road. No matter what season, make sure you reserve ahead for rooms: the cities are often filled with commercial conventions and business conferences.
Emilia-Romagna has a reputation for an efficiency uncommon in most of the rest of Italy. Even the smallest hotels are well run, with high standards of quality and service.