Emilia-Romagna: A pocket guide

The relatively few tourists who make their way to Emilia-Romagna do so for the food. Mortadella hails from here, as does Parmesan, pecorino, balsamic vinegar, white truffles, and a host of other culinary delights. The region of Emilia-Romagna runs southeast from Milan to the Adriatic and includes Bologna, Modena, Parma, Ferrara, and Piacenza. Famous dishes include chicken breasts cooked in butter with thin slices of truffles; tortellini en brodo; and cheese tortellini with artichokes.

The pasta known as tortellini—those little pouches filled with cheese or meat—was actually invented in Emilia-Romagna. Legend has it that when Lucrezia Borgia checked into the small town of Castelfranco Emilia, near Modena, the innkeeper was so captivated by her beauty that during the night he peeked through the keyhole into her room, but all he saw was her navel. In typical Italian fashion, he turned his desire into inspiration, making a new pasta in the shape of Lucrezia’s navel in homage.

The cuisine of Emilia-Romagna is less about tomatoes and olive oil and more about butter and cream, making this a great winter destination: There is nothing better than sitting down to a mountain of eggy golden pasta swathed in cheese when it’s foggy and freezing outside. Fall and winter bring chestnuts, mushrooms, truffles, and game—all perfectly accompanied by a bottle of deep purple Sangiovese di Romagna.

Tortellini Bolognesi
Tortellini Bolognesi

Meet the Experts for Emilia-Romagna