Photo: Gala Placidia's Mosaics, Ravenna
When you think of La Riviera Romagnola the first image that come to mind may be that of the well organised sandy beaches of the Adriatic Coast, with the traditional hospitality, great resorts, Spas, summer sport facilities and lively nightlife. Rimini, Riccione, Cesenatico, Cattolica are all popular destinations for sea lovers. But the area is not just about having a great time relaxing or having fun by the beach and it offers great opportunities to create a perfectly balanced holiday to make everyone happy.
Art and culture
The Adriatic Coast of Emilia-Romagna has a rich cultural heritage. Following the Via Aemilia and the Adriatic Coastline, you will come across some of the most important artistic and cultural landmarks of the area, from Romanesque churches to Medieval libraries, from Byzantine mosaics to archaeological sites, evidence of the glorious past of the area. Ferrara and Ravenna are the two most important historical centres in the area followed by Forlì, Cesena and Rimini.
Ferrara, now a UNESCO World Heritage site, with its beautiful Medieval and Renaissance architecture, was one of the most active centres in Italy during Renaissance times thanks to the Este family. Today, you can visit their family castle and the Schifanoia palace.
Castello Estense, the most iconic building of the town, is located in the very heart of town. It is a brick building surrounded by a moat, with four massive bastions whose construction started in 1385 and then partly restored in 1554.
It is believed that the “Palazzo Schifanoia" takes its name from the expression "schivar la noia", meaning literally to "escape from boredom", which accurately describes the original intention behind the construction of the palazzo and the other family villas where the Este court used to gather to have fun and relax.
In Ravenna you experience a wonderful journey through different Mediterranean cultures, with amazing Oriental mosaics, monuments and churches, eight of which are now listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites.
The city was the capital of the Western Roman Empire from 402 until 476 and later the capital of the Kingdom of the Ostrogoths and the Exarchate of Ravenna until 751.
During Byzantine times and the greatest of barbarian rulers, Theodoric, the holy buildings of Ravenna were decorated with amazing mosaics.
The earliest and best preserved of all mosaic monuments, and at the same time one of the most interesting Woorld Heritage sites in the city, is the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia (c. 430), a simple brick building in the shape of a cross with an interior dome, which Honorius created for his sister Galla Placidia when she died. The images depicted in the mosaics are more natural and informal than in the later art of Ravenna, but their beauty is undeniably striking.
The other magnificent UNESCO listed buildings in Ravenna are: Neonian Baptistery (c. 430), Arian Baptistry (c. 500), Archiepiscopal Chapel (c. 500), Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo (c. 500), Mausoleum of Theodoric (520), Basilica of San Vitale (548), Basilica of Sant' Apollinare in Classe (549).
For those interested in the art of making mosaics, the city also offers various mosaics classes in local artists’ workshops.
The Riviera Romagnola’s hinterland is blessed with natural parks, reserves, wild coasts, dunes, pinewood forests, lagoons, mountains and fertile plains.
A fourth of the territory is covered with forests most of which are protected by Natural Parks and Reserves. From the banks of the river Po to the Apennines, passing through the salt-pans of Cervia, there are different natural environments which offer to all nature lovers a wide range of options.
An adventurous visit to the caves of Onferno, a walk along the Apennines, trekking in the Mounts Cusna and Cimone, birdwatching, fishing in the Park of the Po Delta, biking around the Po valley and touring by motorship around the marshland between Ravenna and Ferrara are only some of the possibilities this area offers.
So whether you love to enjoy nature at a slow-pace in full relax or in a more active sporty way, you have plenty to choose from.
Also known as the “Riviera dei parchi” (literally Riviera of the Funfairs/Parks), the area offers a great variety of funfairs, theme parks and aqua parks.
Obviously, the sunny weather and the sea make water the central element of summer fun in the area for families or group of friends. You can choose between the water chutes and swimming pools of the famous Aquafan in Riccione or Atlantica in Cesenatico, Oltremare in Riccione or Le Navi in Cattolica or enjoy the amazing shows in the Dolphinarium in Rimini.
Other options are the largest funfair in Italy Mirabilandia or Fiabilandia, the first funfair along the Adriatic Coast, and the funny Italia in Miniatura (Miniature Italy) in Viserba di Rimini, which offer an educational journey through Italy. Great fun for adults and children alike.
Golfing along the Coast
Beyond sun, beaches, funfairs and artistic cities, the Riviera offers great opportunity to golf lovers.
There are many areas to play along the coast, all surrounded by nature and situated a short distance from the sea. Golf courses are both located along the coast and in the hinterland and hold a record: 8 different paths along 100 kilometres.
There are 24 magnificent Championship courses situated close to one another and ready to welcome you all year round.
Golf lovers can enjoy beautiful and well-equipped 18- or 9-hole courses while beginners can take advantage of skilled trainers to learn how to play or join classes set up by the best Golf Clubs along the Riviera.
The Delicacies of the Riviera
This is a journey to be made slowly, through sea, plains, hills and mountains, strolling through ancient villages, entering small shops, stopping along the road to taste food and wine which, in these areas, are much more than nourishment, “art and science”, as Pellegrino Artusi, the famous gastronome and native to the area put it.
Enjoy the local soups or pasta dishes, passatelli, strozzapreti or tagliatelle al ragù; the wines, Lambrusco, San Giovese, Trebbiano or the sweet Albana; the desserts, bustrengo, rice cake, walnut cake, or the cheese, formaggio di fossa or squaccherone. Not to be missed the Piadina Romagnola, the region’s famous snack – a circles of flat bread heated and folded around fillings of cheese, ham or other ingredients. You can find the recipe here
More news about Emilia-Romagna
Information about feasts and celebrations in Romagna
The weather in Emilia-Romagna.
Map of Emilia-Romagna
Accommodation in Emilia-Romagna