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An eBook to highlight the jewels and the wonderful art located in Emilia Romagna, Italy The authors of “The Art Cities of Emilia Romagna” are travel bloggers who come from all corners of the globe. Each one took part in the “Blogville Emilia Romagna”, project, and this eBook is a collection of their travel stories, tips and advice. Written for travellers by travellers to help you get the most out of your trip to the Art Cities of Emilia Romagna.

Graziano Prantoni, President of “Product Grouping Cities of Art, Culture and Business of Emilia Romagna” says: “We made this free e-Book because we wanted to create a fresh and new guide for everyone who wants to experience our cities. We use the word “experience” because this is what every blogger wrote about in the different stories their own experiences. In addition to presenting the cities as traditional guide book does, the authors also showcase their own personal experiences – like connecting with locals and finding delicious restaurants and artisan shops – they had while visiting the region. Inside this ebook, you’ll find a plethora of great hints and travel tips that are perfect for anyone who wants to visit and experience Emilia Romagna like a local”.

The e-book will follow the ancient Roman road Via Emilia, the “artery” of Emilia Romagna, giving readers an insiders look at all these Emilia Romagna art cities have to offer when it comes to culture, history, motorsports, and wine and food. Starting in northern Emilia Romagna at Piacenza and the Po River, will take you through the region until your final stop at Rimini on the Adriatic Sea. One thing to remember along your journey through this rich cultural region is that the best sights and must-do activities included in this e-book are not only from the art cities but also in the surrounding areas.

Prantoni says: “In Parma, you will discover the home of Giuseppe Verdi, Parma Ham and Parmigiano Reggiano, a popular Italian cheese known throughout the world. In the area of Reggio Emilia, the third city that you will encounter on the road in this guide, you will find the home of the Italian Tricolour flag and Traditional Balsamic Vinegar. The e-book then takes you to Modena, which is home to famous car producer Ferrari and the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena. The city is also known for the UNESCO World Heritage Ghirlandina Tower, Dome and Piazza Grande. Before entering Bologna you will have a stop at the Lamborghini and Ducati Motors factories, located in the heart of the Italian Motor Valley. Bologna is also the heart of the Via Emilia and one of Emilia Romagna’s best art cities. It’s famous for its leaning towers, it’s 40 km long Porticoes, musical heritage and traditional Italian pasta dishes, such as tagliatelle with ragu and tortellini in broth. Heading to the Adriatic Sea you will stop in Ferrara, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that features rich Renaissance architecture”.

Arriving on the coast, another UNESCO World Heritage Site of the region awaits you: Ravenna and its magnificent and magical mosaics. The next stop on the Via Emilia road is Faenza, known for the production of the top quality “faience” ceramics. Just a few kilometres away heading south on the Via Emilia lie the cities of Forli and Cesena, rich in art and culture. This is an important wine production area and Cesena also hosts one of the oldest libraries of the world, the Biblioteca Malatestiana. The last stop on this trip through the art cities of Emilia Romagna is Rimini, which is known for its ancient Roman centre and a 2,000 year old Roman bridge that is still used today. It is also in Rimini where the gateway to the ancient Roman roads Via Emilia and Via Flaminia starts at the Augustus Arch.

I hope you enjoy not only reading the eBook but also the journey through the different cities that make Emilia Romagna a region unlike any other in Italy. I hope to see you soon strolling through our Art Cities of Emilia Romagna “ (Graziano Prantoni).

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 © Photos: ROBERTO ALBORGHETTI ; Tiberius (or Augustus) Bridge photo is from Wikipedia (free use).


Rimini is the capital city of Italian vacations. It is located on the Northern coast on the Adriatic Sea. It is approximately 110kms southeast of Bologna, about three hours South of Venice and also three hours North of Rome. It is mostly a place where Italians go on vacation but also British, German, French and Russian tourists love to go there. But in Rimini – the city of the great Fellini! – visitors find some spectacular monuments: the Malatesta Temple (Tempio Malatestiano), the Arch of Augustus and the Bridge of Tiberius or Augustus.  

The Malatesta Temple – as Luigi Orsini writes in his book “The Malatesta Temple” (Bonomi Editore, Milano) – is perhaps “the only monument in the world of which it can be said that it lifted an architect to the heights of glory, immortalized the power of a potentate, and made vivid through the ages a woman’s smile. That edifice which Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta entrusted to Alberti’s genius for the perpetual exaltation and honour of the divine Isotta degli Atti, his mistress and consort, comprises in itself, the sweetest harmonies of art and sentiment, exquisite line and colour, subtle forms of mysticism, passion’s potent spell, in a perpetual union of real and ideal, of energy and dream, of mind and matter”.

The Tempio Malatestiano is the cathedral church of Rimini. Officially named for St. Francis, it takes the popular name from Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta, who commissioned its reconstruction by the famous Renaissance theorist and architect Leon Battista Alberti around 1450. St. Francis was originally a thirteenth-century Gothic church belonging to the Franciscans. The original church had a rectangular plan, without side chapels, with a single nave ending with three apses. The central one was probably frescoed by Giotto, to whom is also attributed the crucifix now housed in the second right chapel.

Malatesta called on Alberti to transform the building and make it into a kind of personal mausoleum for him and his lover and later his wife, Isotta degli Atti. The execution of the project was handed over to the Veronese Matteo di Andrea de’ Pasti, hired at the Estense court. Marble for the work was taken from the Roman ruins in Sant’Apollinare in Classe (near Ravenna) and in Fano. The Temple is immediately recognizable from its wide marble façade, decorated by sculptures probably made by Agostino di Duccio and Matteo de’ Pasti. Alberti aspired to renew the Roman structures of Antiquity, though here his inspiration was drawn from the triumphal arch, in which his main inspiration was the tripartite Arch of Constantine in Rome. The entrance portal has a triangular pediment over the door set within the center arch; geometrical decorations fill the tympanum. Due to the strong presence of elements referring to the Malatesta’s history, and to Sigismondo Pandolfo himself (in particular, his lover Isotta), the church was considered by some contemporaries to be an exaltation of Paganism.

Not so far from the Temple, located in the centre of the city, we admire the amazing Arch of Augustus (Arco d’Augusto), an Ancient Roman monument constructed in 27 BC for the Rome’s first emperor. Thought to have been the gateway to Ancient Rimini which would have formed part of the city walls, the Arch of Augustus is a fairly ornate structure depicting various deities such as Neptune, Apollo and Jupiter.

Outside the city centre, looking towards Bologna, on the old Consular road, the Via Emilia, we find the Bridge of Tiberius or Augustus, so-called through being constructed on the decree of Augustus, although afterwards finished by Tiberius (from 14 to ai A. D.). It is of white travertine, of the Doric order, and is composed of five great arches, of which the central one measures 10.50 metres in diameter and the others, 8.75 metres. The piles are laid obliquely in order to second the current without interfering with the Via Emilia, which passes above. The last arch, towards the town, was broken by the Goths in 552 to prevent the crossing of Narsete. It was restored in 1680 on the order of Innocent XI by Agostino Martinelli of Ferrara.