- The signature food of Emilia This region's food—prosciutto crudo, Parmigiano-Reggiano, balsamic vinegar, and above all, pasta—makes the trip to Italy worthwhile.
- Mosaics that take your breath away The intricate tiles in Ravenna's Mausoleo di Galla Placidia, in brilliantly well-preserved colors, depict vivid portraits and pastoral scenes.
- Arguably Europe's oldest wine bar Nicholas Copernicus tippled here while studying at Ferrara's university in the early 1500s; Osteria al Brindisi, in the centro storico (historic center), has been pouring wine since 1435.
- The nightlife of Bologna This red-roofed city has had a lively student culture since the university—Europe's oldest—was founded in the late 11th century.
- The medieval castles of San Marino Its three castles dramatically perch on a rock more than 3,000 feet above the flat landscape of Romagna.
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