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457km (283 miles) NW of Rome, 97km (60 miles) NW of Bologna, 121km (75 miles) SE of Milan

A visit to this little city on the Roman Via Emilia, about an hour north of Bologna, delivers a slice of the good life. Residents of one of Italy’s most prosperous cities are surrounded by art-filled palaces and churches bestowed upon them by the Renaissance Farnese family and later Marie-Louise, wife of Napoleon. They enjoy the music of their own Giuseppe Verdi in a grand opera house, and when it comes to food—suffice it to say that this elegant little city gave us our favorites hams and cheeses. Enjoying the beautiful monuments, maybe listening to some music, stepping in and out of tempting food shops, and sitting down to some memorably delicious meals fill a very satisfying day or two.