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Driving is the best way to get around Emilia-Romagna. Roads are wide, flat, and well marked; distances are short; and beautiful farmhouses and small villages offer undemanding detours. A car is particularly useful for visiting the spa towns of Romagna, which aren't well connected by train. Historic centers are off-limits to cars, but they're also quite walkable, so you may just want to park your car and get around on foot once you arrive.
Entering Emilia-Romagna by car is as easy as it gets. Coming in from the west on the Autostrada del Sole (A1), Piacenza will be the first city you'll hit. It's a mere 45 minutes southeast of Milan. On the other side of the region, Venice is about an hour from Ferrara by car on the A13.
Bologna is on the autostrada, so driving between cities is a breeze, though do take special care if you're coming from Florence, as the road is winding and drivers speed. The Via Emilia (SS9), one of the oldest roads in the world, runs through the heart of the region. Straight, low-lying, and now thoroughly modern, its length can be traveled in a few hours. Although less scenic, the A1 toll highway, which runs parallel to the Via Emilia from Bologna, can get you where you're going about twice as fast. From Bologna, the A13 runs north to Ferrara, and the A14 takes you east to Ravenna. Note that much of the historic center of Bologna is closed off to cars daily from 7 am to 8 pm.
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