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It took several trips to Italy before I realized how much I enjoyed small town Italian life. Once you get out of Rome, Florence, and Venice, and even beyond my beloved Bologna, the atmosphere changes enormously — especially when you visit the cities that foreign tourists get to see.
Not all of the towns pictured here are necessarily small — Parma has a population of 80,000 and Ferrara, more than 120,000 — but even though they’re cities, there is something different about them. They’re intimate and friendly, and the locals are always pleased to show them off.
Here are some of my favorite pictures from the smaller towns in Emilia-Romagna:
Bagno di Romagna gets all decked out for Blue Night. The lighting turned the chiffon bright blue.
The Ponte Verdi in Parma. Verdi is Parma’s most famous resident, and this year they’re celebrating the 200-year anniversary of his birth with festivals and events all summer long.
I love the black decay on this bridge; it gives it so much dimension.
I find a bachelorette party in Bagno di Romagna — in front of a church. Of course!
I wish this picture of Ferrara conveyed just how hot it was that day. I felt like I was melting, and as a result, the streets were empty as all the locals shut themselves indoors.
Anyone up for some wine? In some parts of Italy, this is how you buy it! Bring in your bottle and fill it up like you’re at a gas station.
Not a lot of cathedrals blow me away (Maltese cathedrals excepted, as they are INSANE), but Parma’s Duomo was a shock. The outside looks like nothing — a plain white building. Inside is this.
I love this cartoleria (stationery shop) in Ferrara. Naturally, there’s a bike parked right next to it!
Parma: a city of a thousand pastel colors. A lot of places in Emilia-Romagna remind me of Liguria and the Italian Riviera, where pastel colors dominate.
I like to think that the cheesemaker on the right paused as he held the burlap-covered mixture of Parmigiano Reggiano in his arms and thought to himself, I love you, cheese.
Another view of Brisighella. Some of these houses haven’t changed much over the course of centuries.
This is my favorite shot of all: a group of friends in Bagno di Romagna head back home at the end of a great night.
Planning a Trip to Italy:
- What NOT to Do in Italy
- Solo Female Travel in Italy: Is it Safe?
- Ultimate Guide to Driving in Italy
- How to Stay at an Agriturismo in Italy
- 40 Italy Landmarks to Experience Once In Your Lifetime
- 30 Stunning Mediterranean Islands To Visit In Your Lifetime
Cool Places in Southern Italy:
Cool Places in Sicily:
- The Joys and Challenges of Traveling in Sicily
- Where to Go in Eastern Sicily
- 23 Fun Things to Do in Palermo, Sicily
- Complete Guide to the Aeolian Islands, Sicily
- Aci Trezza: A Laid-Back Coastal Town in Sicily
- Visiting Sicily in the Winter: Worth it or not?
- 30 Iconic Dishes To Try In Sicily
Cool Places in Northern Italy:
- Three Weeks in Northern Italy: An Itinerary
- Parma, Italy: A Colorful, Artsy, Delicious Town
- Where to Stay in Rome: Best Neighborhoods and Accommodation
- Three Days in the Dolomites: A South Tyrol Getaway
- Best Day Trips from Florence, Italy
- The Immaculate, Bursting Mosaics of Ravenna, Italy
- 25 Best Food Experiences in Emilia-Romagna, Italy
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Many thanks to Eurail.com for their support of the European leg of the SOTM Tour. All opinions, as always, are my own.
18 thoughts on “Photo Essay: Small Town Emilia-Romagna”
Ha, I love the self-serve wine station! I wish we had that in Montreal.
Me too, I love that! 🙂
Is that even for real???
Did you see many of those?
Had never heard of it!:)
My favorite picture is the one of the bachelorette party, though. It makes me feel like I’m part of something intimate.
Love the picture of the bachelorette party in front of the church! These posts from Italy have been so useful whilst I’m planning my own trip there in the fall. Thanks 🙂
Wow love these photos!
Haha, I tried to figure out what the wine pumping one was without reading the caption. I never would of guessed.
Awesome pictures. I want to try the wine fill up station! Such a great idea.
that area does look like the coastal towns in Liguria with all those pastel colors, loved the tour….but wish I could try the wines through cyber space 🙁
That gas station-style wine shop is brilliant!
It looks beautiful. I love the smaller Italian towns. A few years back I stayed with a local in Modena when he hosted a 70s fancy dress party. I’ve never seen people put in so much effort with their outfits! I remember drink driving being an issue though. Don’t get in a car with an Italian!
That sounds like an epic party, Arianwen!
Wow I love the photos!!! I’ve always wanted to travel to Italy. The people, the architecture, the food and of course the WINE!!! That was my favorite photo by the way:) La Dolce Vita indeed!!!
I love you pictures! Had been living in Emilia Romagna for years and recognize half of the places. It’s so nice to see it!
You might find this interesting: http://nullnfull.com/2013/04/29/4-seasons-in-ferrara/
Wow! I love how you can buy wine like you at a gas station. It’s amazing how European countries drink so much yet never seem to have the drink problems like the UK has!
I love small towns too. I always try and speak the local language so that people think that I’m a local 🙂
It’s their relationship with alcohol from a young age…makes much more sense in Italy.
Beautiful place. That wine spot might be a bit dangerous hehe.
I love the little towns through Europe. Country Spain was one of my favorite travel spots. We are in Italy later this year for the first time, so I’m sure I’ll love it too!
Waouw, your pictures are so beautiful.
I do not know Italy well, I know only Verone and Venise with a school trip.
This town looks awesome! So why not?
I’m sorry for my English, I learned gradually through travel.
Valerie, blog envievoyages.blogspot.be
I love the wine ‘gas’ station! I had no idea those existed. haha