Why Emilia-Romagna Should Be The Next Destination You Explore in Italy
Kate Lough sits down with Julia Prestia, who owns and runs the Roncolo 1888 estate alongside her husband, to hear about the untapped magic of her home region, Emilia.
Can You Describe Emilia-Romagna to Someone Who has Never Been?
“Emilia is the next destination to explore in Italy. It’s also known as “La Terra dello Slow Mix”, and is a region of the authentic, the unexpected, and the unexplored. Here one can enjoy la dolce vita at its finest: it’s home to the Food Valley and the Motor Valley, the beautiful countryside of the Apennine hills as well as the cities of Bologna, Ravenna, Parma, and many more.”
Why is it Known as Italy’s Food Valley?
“Because of its world-known culinary traditions, it’s a paradise for foodies in search of tradition, authenticity, and thoughtful processes that date back to ancient times. Parma ham, culatello, Parmigiano Reggiano, and Aceto Balsamico are some of its richest and most savored culinary offerings. You’ll find these delicacies in Michelin-rated restaurants as well as in street food. Emilia-Romagna’s food and wine heritage is a reflection of the region’s culture — there are 19 museums dedicated to food!”
Tell Us the Story Behind Roncolo 1888…
“We bought the estate in 2005 from the Venturini Baldini family — they were looking for a successor as they were getting older. My husband and I had fallen in love with the beauty of the estate and the idea of creating the first luxury resort in this up and coming destination.”
Can You Describe the Estate?
“It’s an avant-garde agricultural estate in the heart of the Emilian countryside — the so-called ‘Terre di Canossa’ — in the soft green foothills of the Apennine mountains, between Parma and Reggio Emilia. Surrounded by a natural reserve, our 130-hectare estate is an oasis of nature that allows our guests to leave behind their daily lives and relax. It’s been focused on sustainable farming since the beginning, and certified organic since 1994. Today, we produce organic wines, balsamic vinegar, and olive oils; and our guests can experience Emilia through pasta classes, sommelier-guided wine tours, and balsamic tastings in our own Acetaia di Canossa.”
What are Your Favourite Wines from the Region?
"Definitely Lambrusco. It’s joyful, refreshing, and interesting — and it’s been vastly underrated by the masses. People are starting to discover a new generation of dry, premium Lambrusco and it’s exciting to see momentum for this new category of wine across the world.
How are You Trying to Change its Perception?
“Lambrusco is a spectrum of styles, tastes, and colours, as it’s a family of grape varieties. While it always comes as a sparkling wine, it can range from very dry or sweet, from fresh and crisp to fruit with notes of spice, while also tannic. During the Seventies and Eighties, Lambrusco was actually the biggest-selling wine to the US, but the wines sold then were extremely sweet and not the best quality, so its reputation suffered. At Venturini Baldini, we are trying to show the world that Lambrusco can be very high quality and produced 100% organically.”
Where do You Like to Drink it?
“I love to have a Cadelvento Spritz, our very own Lambrusco spritz cocktail, on the terrace of the estate’s Ristorante Limonaia.”
What are the Must-Visit Towns in Emilia?
“Parma, Modena and Reggio Emilia.”
And the Must-See Monuments or Sights?
- Castello di Canossa, with the fascinating history of the Matilde di Canossa.
- The medieval village of Votigno di Canossa.
- Castello di Torrechiara, the 15th-century love nest of Pier Maria Rossi and Bianca Pellegrini.
- La Pilotta in Parma.
- Collezione Maramotti in Reggio Emilia.
Do you Have a Favourite Lunch Spot in Parma?
“Firstly, Antica Corte Pallavicina, where the first thing that greets you is an imposing iron pig to make it clear that he is king here. This is a gastronomic experience that focuses on culatello, the famous ham from Parma, and is unique and unforgettable. Secondly, Bread, which offers a sensational panini experience in a beautiful garden restaurant.”
What about the Restaurant Scene in Modena?
“One of the world’s best chefs, Massimo Bottura’s Osteria Francescana is in Modena. Or there is La Franceschetta.”
And Dinner in Bologna?
“No visit to Bologna is complete without a visit to the buzzing Via Delle Pescherie Vecchie, one of the best foodie streets in Italy. Go to Salumeria Simoni and enjoy a platter of cold cuts with a glass of Lambrusco.”
Where do You Recommend Visiting Emilia’s Coast?
“Riccione. Head to the Hotel Lungomare and its seventh-floor terrace, where you will find a chic seafood restaurant with stunning sea views. Next, you must try the piadina, the traditional flatbread from Romagna — and Il Vicolo is the best in town. Finally, if you want excellent cuisine with an impeccable location looking out over the Adriatic, visit the Gente di Mare restaurant.”
Julia Prestia is the Owner of Roncolo 1888; Find out more here.
The campaign was financed according to EU Reg. N. 1308/2013.
Read also: Why You Should Head To Italy’s Piedmont This Autumn.
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