Discovering the UNESCO gems of Romagna

An unforgettable journey combining history, culture and natural beauty

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Italy, with 59 sites, tops the world ranking as the country with the most UNESCO World Heritage sites in the world; Romagna definitely plays its part in this list, counting several wonders between art and nature.

The cities of art in Romagna that boast this prestigious recognition are Ferrara and Ravenna, custodians of works of extraordinary artistic, cultural and historical value; but the region also counts a number of other recognitions, with some real world-class gems: from the splendid ceramics of Faenza to the priceless volumes of the Biblioteca Malatestiana in Cesena, and the splendid naturalistic areas of the Po Delta and the Vena dei Gessi Park.

  • Length
    72 hours
  • Interests
    Art & Culture
  • Target
  • First stop – Ferrara Ferrara

    Let’s start with Ferrara, a city included in the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1995 as a Renaissance city, in homage to the lively intellectual life that characterised it in the 15th and 16th centuries. Significant urban planning works such as the Addizione Erculea and the work of artists such as Piero della Francesca and Andrea Mantegna date back to this period. 

    Ferrara is an outstanding example of a Renaissance city, with its intact historic centre and urban planning that profoundly influenced the development of cities in subsequent centuries. Four years later, this recognition was extended to the Po Delta area and the Delizie Estensi, the monumental residences of the Dukes of Este that exceptionally illustrate the influence of Renaissance culture on the natural landscape and are undoubtedly worth a visit

  • Second stop - Po Delta Comacchio

    Just a short distance from the city of Este, the landscape undergoes a radical transformation as we immerse ourselves in the evocative Po Delta Park

    Here, the river splits into numerous forks of water before flowing into the sea. In 2015, the Po Delta was recognised as a Biosphere Reserve under the UNESCO MaB Programme. This extraordinary territory is characterised by dunes, lagoons, pine forests and brackish wetlands, as well as a thousand-year-old Salina. The Biosphere Reserve covers 15 municipalities, 6 of which are in Emilia-Romagna (Argenta, Codigoro, Comacchio, Mesola, Ostellato and Goro).

    From the picturesque landscapes of the Comacchio Marshes with their extraordinary colony of pink flamingos, to the Mesola Woods; from the sinuous loops of Ostellato to the Argenta Marshes Museum. These fascinating and unspoilt places offer an extraordinary travel experience surrounded by nature.

  • Third stop - Ravenna Ravenna

    Following the Romea State Road, we move on to Ravenna, the home of mosaics, which houses no less than eight monuments, considered by Unesco to be World Heritage Sites: the Basilica of San Vitale, the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, the Mausoleum of Theodoric, the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo and Sant'Apollinare in Classe, the Baptistery of the Arians, the Neonian Baptistery and the Chapel of Sant'Andrea.

    An award testifying to the extraordinary importance the city had between the 5th and 6th centuries A.D. in the ancient Mediterranean region. A unique importance, highlighted above all by the magnificent mosaics that adorn its ancient buildings. It is difficult to choose between the eight monuments as each one holds a treasure chest of beauty that will leave you speechless.

  • Fourth stop - Faenza Faenza

    At the intersection with the road connecting Ravenna to Florence lies the town of Faenza, which, thanks to the links that the local Manfredi seigniory was able to establish with the Medici family, was an important political and cultural meeting point from 1300 onwards. For centuries the city has been graced with monuments that still retain their charm and its name is linked to UNESCO thanks to the International Museum of Ceramics (MIC).

    Founded in 1908, this institute houses an exceptional collection of about 60,000 works from different parts of the world and historical periods: from archaeological finds from Ancient Mesopotamia to the works of the most renowned contemporary artists, such as Picasso, Matisse and Chagall, and a section full of Faenza ceramics dating back to the Renaissance. Its diversity and the vast collection of works it houses mark it out as a Witness Monument to a Culture of Peace, officially recognised by UNESCO.

  • Fifth stop - Cesena Cesena

    Continuing southwards, we arrive at Cesena, one of the main tourist destinations in Romagna. In the late 14th century, the city reached its peak under Malatesta dominance, culminating in the creation of the Biblioteca Malatestiana

    In 2005, UNESCO recognised this library as a 'Memory of the World', praising both its architectural structure and its precious codices. Founded in 1452 by Malatesta Novello, Lord of Cesena, this is the first Civic Library in Italy, which has remained practically intact over the centuries to the present day. Today it houses almost 380,000 volumes, including numerous priceless manuscripts.

  • Sixth stop - Gemmano Gemmano

    Let us now move on to the Rimini area, where we find one of the most recent additions to the list of natural assets of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites; the Gessi dell'Emilia Romagna. The caves and karst phenomena found in evaporitic rocks, in fact, have been recognised as of universal value for their unique and original characteristics. These include those found in the Romagna Chalk Vein Regional Park, extending from the Sillaro valley to Brisighella in the Lamone valley: we are in the presence of the longest and most imposing chalk relief in Italy, characterised by the presence of peculiar karst morphologies, including dolines, blind valleys and numerous caves. 

    UNESCO recognition was also extended to the nearby Onferno Caves, in the municipality of Gemmano, which represent a karst complex of considerable value. The original name evoked the peculiarity of this place: the presence, below the rocky outcrop on which the town stands, of a cave complex that stretches more than 850 metres into the bowels of the chalky outcrop of the Val Conca. The beauty of the caves is set in a natural context of extraordinary value, whose particularities and landscapes can be appreciated by walking along the various paths that cross it. As you meander through its caves, you will also get to meet the true hosts, the more than six thousand bats of at least six different species that inhabit its underground environments.

  • Seventh stop - Bagno di Romagna Bagno di Romagna

    The last leg of our journey takes us to the territory of Bagno di Romagna, gateway to the Casentino Forest National Park. 

    The park's ancient beech forests and the Sasso Fratino Integral Reserve have joined the UNESCO World Heritage List: robust trees bordering on longevity for deciduous broadleaf trees over 500 years old, so much so that Sasso Fratino enters the top 10 of the oldest deciduous forests in the entire Northern Hemisphere. A fairytale place where you will feel part of nature.

Last update 31/05/2024

For more information

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Information offices

IAT - Ufficio Informazioni Accoglienza Turistica Ferrara
Largo Castello - Ferrara (FE)
+ 39 0532 419190 Opening: all year round
Ufficio Informazioni e Accoglienza Turistica - Comacchio
Via Agatopisto - Comacchio (FE)
+ 39 0533 314154
IAT Ravenna
Piazza San Francesco, 7 - Ravenna (RA)
+ 39 0544 35755 + 39 0544 35404 Opening: all year round
IAT Faenza
Voltone delle Molinella, 2 - Faenza (RA)
+ 39 0546 25231 + 39 0546 25231 Opening: all year round
IAT-R Cesena
Piazza del Popolo, 9 - Cesena (FC)
+ 39 0547 356327 Opening: all year round
UIT Gemmano
Provinciale Oferno, 107 - Gemmano (RN)
+ 39 0541 984694 Opening: seasonal
I.A.T. Ufficio Informazioni e Centro Visita Parco Nazionale di Bagno di Romagna
Via Fiorentina, 38 - Bagno di Romagna (FC)
+ 39 0543 911046 Opening: all year round

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