The most beautiful places in Forlì-Cesena, Modena, Parma, Piacenza & Reggio Emilia



The great geographical and scenic diversity of Emilia Romagna has always fascinated travellers. Big cities, sleepy little towns, mighty mountain ranges, wide coastal strips and green hilly landscapes are enough to capture the imagination of travellers. Unsurprisingly, several of the most beautiful places in Italy of the private association “I borghi più belli d’Italia” are located here. Five provinces – Forlì-Cesena, Modena, Parma, Piacenza and Reggio Emilia – feature eight such magical places that will show you a completely different side of Emilia Romagna and make your next holiday particularly unique.


Province of Forlì-Cesena

Until fairly recently, the Province of Forlì-Cesena in the south of Emilia Romagna was one of the few provinces in Italy without its own most beautiful place, which only changed in summer of 2023. Beyond the two main cities and the magical Cesenatico right on the coast, this area is characterised by a beautiful hinterland with some mountain communities that are definitely worth a visit and a little exploration tour.


Bagno di Romagna

One of Romagna’s most popular bathing and spa resorts is hidden behind large ring walls. Baths containing sodium bicarbonate and sulphur reach temperatures of 41 to 45 °C and are used by numerous thermal spas and wellness resorts as places of holistic well-being. However, Bagno di Romagna (approx. 5,600 inhabitants) has many other beautiful things to offer beyond these baths. The Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta with its seven chapels is considered a gem of Tuscan Romagna and probably dates back to the year 861. More than 70 coats of arms adorn the Palazzo del Capitano, once an important centre of power. Just outside the town you will find the Chiardovo spring, whose water is said to help with mild gastrointestinal complaints, as well as the Corzano hill with its old castle, a sanctuary and a mule track lined with bronze statues.


Province of Modena

Extending across almost the entire width of the region, the Province of Modena covers 2,690 km² and is located in the centre of Emilia Romagna, bordering Lombardy and Tuscany. In addition to the provincial capital of the same name with its beautiful World Heritage Site, another one of Italy’s most beautiful places with medieval Apennine flair awaits you in the far south.



When the Celts travelled through the region in the 4th century BC, they also left their mark on Fiumalbo (approx. 1,200 inhabitants), as old huts, known as “casoni”, impressively demonstrate. Today, numerous medieval stone buildings shape the charm of the village surrounded by dense forests. The Tuscan-influenced Oratorio San Rocco with its frescoes welcomes you at the entrance to the village. Find several other churches in Fiumalbo, including the much-rebuilt San Michele Arcangelo with its comparatively modern belltower and San Bartolomeo Apostolo on the main square, which was completely rebuilt in 1592 and is decorated with impressive paintings.


Province of Parma

Is it really all ham and cheese? When you think of the Province of Parma, a richly laid table full of regional specialities expands in your mind. The products and recipes of this region are world-famous, not to mention the beautiful city of arts Parma. And then there are two of the most beautiful places in Italy that you should definitely visit.


© ferron

© ferron


Well-paved alleyways lead through the hilly town of Compiano (approx. 1,100 inhabitants), not far from the road connecting Emilia Romagna and Liguria. The town takes its name from an old castle of unknown origin that was inhabited until 1987 and remains in good condition. Aristocratic palaces and tower houses line your walk to the central piazza with its marvellous views. The church of San Giovanni Battista, presumably of Lombard origin, stands out with its particularly ornate interior, such as the 15th century wooden sculpture Santo Crocifisso Miracoloso. The imposing old town hall and the courthouse with its magnificent terrace are also not to be missed.



At over 11,000 inhabitants, Montechiarugolo is one of the largest municipalities in the Province of Parma and one of the most populous of the most beautiful places in Italy. The medieval village dates back to the 10th century and its mighty castle is certainly one of the most interesting sites. In its present form, it was probably built in the 15th century, but you can discover even older defence system all around. The Palazzo Civico, an important administrative and event centre, is a delight with its salons and loggia. Among the many churches, the Chiesa di San Quintino stands out, only rebuilt at the beginning of the 20th century after old Romanesque plans (the parish church was first documented in 1230). Several monasteries and oratories invite you to take long walks – certainly one of those places where you can easily spend more than just a whole day.


Province of Piacenza

The next stop on our grand tour of Emilia Romagna takes you to the far north-west of the region. Piacenza is an exciting city in its own right, a hidden treasure in the midst of large metropolises and beautiful landscapes. Surrounded by Lombardy, Liguria and Piedmont, this little gem is home to three of the most beautiful places in Italy.



The centre of Bobbio (approx. 3,700 inhabitants) is where the Irish monk Columban of Luxeuil founded an abbey in 612 that was later supported by Lombard princes. The San Colombano Abbey, dissolved in 1803, used to possess great religious and cultural importance as its monumental buildings, the huge basilica with a 12th century mosaic floor in the crypt, and the library once filled with Irish manuscripts can attest. A short detour to the Porta Nuova hamlet takes you to the charming cathedral square with its old buildings, including the 11th century cathedral and the bishop’s palace of similar age, which was rebuilt around 400 years later. Bobbio’s landmark, however, is the Romanesque Ponte Vecchio. Although it was later rebuilt and decorated in Baroque style, its first records date back as far as 1196.





Sense the spirit of days long gone, neatly captured by the brick houses and cobbled streets, in every nook and cranny of Castell’Arquato (approx. 4,600 inhabitants). One of its main attractions is undoubtedly La Rocca Viscontea, built between 1342 and 1349 by order of the city of Piacenza, one of the most important fortifications in the whole of northern Italy. Inhabited by the Visconti and Sforza families, among others, you can still marvel at one of the former four towers today. The Rocca itself now mainly serves as a venue for the three major local festivals. Don’t sleep the town itself with its small churches and palaces, such as the Palazzo del Podestà with its enchanting loggia and imposing staircase.



At just under 2,500 inhabitants, Vigoleno, which is actually part of Vernasca, is definitely small but beautiful. The entire village life takes place in the heart of the large castle. You never really know where the castle ends and the medieval village begins, as it is easy to get lost in the labyrinth of paths and corridors, not to mention all the renovations and modernisation work carried out during the 19th century. You can see this special mixture as soon as you arrive. At different times of day, the light reflects on the walls creating unique atmospheres. All sorts of treasures, such as the Romanesque church of San Giorgio, the Oratorio della Beata Vergine delle Grazie with its sandstone façade and the mighty old cistern, can be found on almost every corner.


Province of Reggio Emilia

Another province in the heart of Emilia Romagna marks the end of this exciting journey. Surrounded by the Po in the north and the Apennine ridge in the south, Reggio Emilia is one of the lesser-known highlights of the region. Several small towns and villages, a variety of landscapes and the charming capital Reggio nell’Emilia provide stylish and often surprising highlights. The Province of Reggio Emilia is also home to one of the most beautiful villages in Italy.



The fertile landscape of the Po Valley with its rivers, meadows and fields surrounds Gualtieri (approx. 6,700 inhabitants), best known for its Piazza Bentivoglio. Once described by art historian Cesare Brandi as one of the most beautiful squares in Italy, the old medieval village and newer Renaissance architecture come together here. Three streets meet in the piazza, providing a direct view of three of the town’s most important sights. The church Santa Maria della Neve, completed around 1600, harmonises perfectly with the porticoes of the piazza. The five pyramids above the gable were added some time later for structural reinforcement. The town tower with its octagonal lantern fulfils the classical design rules of its time. And then there is the mighty Palazzo Bentivoglio with frescoes, paintings, decorations and stucco of incredible value.


Back and forth through Emilia Romagna, to magical places, towards the coast, the mountains or the fertile plain: the most beautiful places in Italy in the provinces of Forlì-Cesena, Modena, Parma, Piacenza and Reggio Emilia are a reflection of the region’s rich history and offer real treasures that are sure to captivate you. These suggestions will surely make for an amazing next holiday!

Comments are closed.