THE GREAT AMERICAN VACATION
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Anywhere in Emilia-Romagna, the story goes, a weary, lost traveler will be invited into a family's home and offered a drink. But the Romagnesi claim that he'll be served water in Emilia and wine in Romagna. The hilly, mostly rural, and largely undiscovered Romagna region has crumbling farmhouses dotting rolling hills, smoking chimneys, early Christian churches, and rowdy local bars dishing out rounds
and rounds of piadine (a pitalike thin bread filled with meat, cheese, vegetables, or any combination thereof, and then quickly grilled). Ravenna, the site of shimmering Byzantine mosaics, dominates the region.
Heading southeast from Bologna, Via Emilia (SS9) and the parallel A14 autostrada lead to the town of Faenza. From here, go north to the Adriatic Coast on the SS71 to reach Ravenna. Alternatively, the slower SS16 cuts a northwest–southeast swath through Romagna.
In the Middle Ages Faenza was the crossroads between Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany, and the 15th century saw many Florentine artists working in...