While visiting Bologna, I took a trip to the countryside of Emilia Romagna to taste wine, visit vineyards, and photograph medieval castles!
Our tiny car weaved through the country roads like a go cart on a race track. Elaine, our guide for the day, hails from New Jersey, but fell in love with an Italian and has called Italy her home for over ten years.
One thing that never ceases to amaze me is the driving habits of the locals in Italy and it was soon clear to me how much of a local Elaine had become. I’m normally an anxious passenger, but I relinquished control and busied my mind by admiring the passing vineyards.
Despite my love for Bologna, I longed to see the countryside of Emilia Romagna. Under the Tuscan Sun propelled the vineyards of Tuscany into the spotlight, but what about the other wine regions in Italy?
Castles and Vineyards in Emilia Romagna (Near Bologna)
Our first stop was Agriturismo Racemus in Ziano Piacentino, where we met a lovely couple who run the farmhouse and B&B, which is open to travelers wishing to taste homemade cuisine and wine. We spent the afternoon eating and drinking on their large covered porch, overlooking miles of vineyards. Laura was a gracious host, serving various fresh Italian dishes and copious amounts of wine from their own vineyard.
With full bellies and a bit of a buzz, we climbed back into Elaine’s car for another picturesque drive to our next location. It was time to visit a castle! At the top of a steep hill, our guide parked her car in front of the towering exterior walls of the Rocca D’ Olgisio.
The Rocca D’ Olgisio is one of the oldest castles in Piacenza, dating back to at least 1037. The Bengalli Family has owned the castle since 1979 and built five gorgeous hotel rooms inside the fortress. Tom, the castle’s “guard” dog, greets the guests of the castle and had no problem posing for multiple photos.
Where to Stay in Emilia Romagna
There are quite a few options in this area, ranging from hotels, Bed and Breakfasts and castles. A couple of my recommendations include:
Rocca D’ Olgisio, the castle I visited in Pianello Val Tidone. They offer five double rooms, starting at 50 Euros per person, all with an amazing view of the valleys below.
Podere Casale, a charming farmhouse with a pool in the hills of Ziano Piacentino. Room rates start at 50 Euros per person. (Note: The farmhouse is close from November to March for the winter season.)