Photo Tour: Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Emilia-Romagna is in the northeastern part of Italy, south of Veneto (where Venice is). I was there around New Year's Day, 2004. Here's a look at some places (mostly) off the beaten path — including a bit of neighboring Marche.

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Dozza is a hilltop village not far east of Bologna. The whole town has been made into an open-air gallery; you can wander the narrow streets and see a variety of fun art. The views of the surrounding countryside are artistic, too:
Shutters' discussion
View west at sunset
Street scene

Brisighella, which is a bit farther southeast of Bologna, is known for the climbs up the surrounding hillsides to towers, in spots with great views down:
Clock tower
Looking down on Brisighella

Just past sunset in Casola Valsenio, the Christmas decorations were whimsical and pretty: This town is in the next valley west of Brisighella:
Nativity scene in Casola Velsenio
Christmas stars above the street
Ravenna is known for its Byzantine mosaics. Just south of town, the Basilica di Sant'Apolinare in Classe has some of the best:
Caesar statue outside St. Apolinare
Dome of St. Apolinare
Candles inside St. Apolinare
Wall at St. Apolinare in Clase

Ravenna is also known for its pine forests. About 10 km northeast of Ravenna is Marina Romea, a seaside village with a forest running along the beach. There are big wetlands, too, with lots of walking paths. (You can get there on a city bus.) The beach and the forest (and Marina Romea) are almost deserted in the wintertime, but a sunny day (with a warm cap... and maybe a warm cup, at the bar on the seaside road) will make it a nice outing. Check out the nearby village of Porto Corsini, too; it has restaurants along both sides of the harbor and a car ferry between.
Forest at Marina Romea on a frosty morning
Deserted beach at Marina Romea

The harbor at Cesenatico (a seaside city southeast of Marina Romea and Ravenna), extends on boat-lined canals through part of the shopping area. Every Christmas, Cesenatico takes advantage of this setting to make an unusual nativity scene on board a fleet of boats. It's especially dramatic at night. And this night, the real moon added a bit of its own drama by perching just above one boat's electric star:
Cesenatico nativity scene (with a real moon) Cesenatico nativity scene

The website I saw for San Giovanni in Marignano (click on guida alla visita and informationzi turistche at the left edge) made the city seem like a beautiful place with lots to see in the historic center. When I got there, though, there didn't seem to be much! (I had trouble even finding an interesting part of the center, but there was a nice place to get an espresso, and there were a few nice views. Did I miss the rest?) Oh, and the city isn't actually in Emilia-Romagna; it's just across the southern border, in Marche.
San Giovanni in Marignano
San Giovanni in Marignano

San Leo is just over the border in Marche. It's another village in a spectacular setting, perched at the end of a road that winds around the edge of a hilltop. The first photo at the left below shows the other side of the hilltop, which is capped by a monument that was (like so many I saw around Emilia-Romagna) part-covered with scaffolding for restoration. I got there just as the sun was setting, which is a great time for dramatic photos:
San Leo's hilltop (from the other side)
Sunset across the valley from San Leo
San Leo at sunset
Sunset view from San Leo

Although it's not exactly a tourist magnet, there's a fair amount to see in Bologna. It has lots of museums of all kinds. There's also some nice strolling to do around the city center. (It's not as boring as that sleepy traveler might make it look.) The dark, tilty towers are a city landmark. Although they aren't as beautiful or famous as the one in Pisa, they sure do lean!
Bologna towers
above a storefront
Snoozing backpacker
side of a church (?)

[Next page: The Republic of San Marino]
[Tour start: Northern Italy, 2004] [Tours]

(These photographs are Copyright © 2004 by Jerry Peek. Much higher-resolution versions of most images, and many other images too, are available at Jerry Peek Photography. Photos are available at reduced prices, or free, for non-commercial use.)

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