After the famous cities of Venice or Milan, it’s time to marvel at the fantastic destinations that await in northern Italy. Find out about the delectable dishes of Romagnola cuisine, and the best slices of sun you’ll ever have.
My days in northern Italy were replete with pasta so delicious, I felt like someone’s grandma had everything handmade for her favorite son’s homecoming party. In addition to that, I had a refreshing Italian swim, walked through the town that inspired the famous tale of star-crossed lovers, and visited a country within a country.
Welcome to Lago di Garda, the largest lake in Italy, neighbor to its more famous cousin, Lago di Como. Leave it to Italians to transform an unassuming body of water into a haven of happiness: when Italians see a lake sitting right by where they live, they take out their beach blankets, slap on some sunscreen, and have a good time in the water.
The city that inspired the tale of Romeo and Juliet was a short drive away by car from Lago di Garda’s shores. Spend a day in Verona and linger at famed Piazza delle Erbe.
Verona was declared a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2000 for its architecture and urban structure. If you’ve got lovelorn teenagers with you, they will love visiting Cassa di Gulietta, Juliet’s House, located on Via Cappello. The house is ancient, but Juliet’s balcony was added as a tourist attraction in 1936. Visitors flock here daily, smitten with the idea of romance. You’ll also walk past Romeo’s house on Via Arche Scaligeri.
In Misano Adriatico, Province of Rimini, the Romagnola region welcomed me with cuisine so satisfying that it made any other Italian dining experience pale in comparison. We’re talking hand-rolled pastas prepared in meat broth so savory, you would think that anything you ordered was once Ossobuco before they threw in all the other ingredients. I was delighted to find out that the Emilia-Romagna region was considered the gastronomic heart of Italy—one with a tradition of pork fat and pasta pockets containing indulgent treasures such as pumpkin or pork loin.
Finally, for motor sports enthusiasts, be sure to visit the famed Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, located just five kilometers away from the coastline.
The Republic of San Marino is the third smallest nation in Europe—right after the Vatican and Monaco. It is a quaint country completely surrounded by Italy, and is 10-25 kilometers away from the Adriatic Sea, depending on where you are staying.
The capital’s historic center and Mount Titano were declared as part of the Unesco World Heritage Site in 2008. San Marino is a diminutive domain that functions as its own nation, complete with powder blue license plates that identify its vehicles. Watch out for the sharp curves that wind around the rocky mountain as you head up to the capital that bears the same name as the country. Relish views of the surrounding countryside and the Adriatic coast if you visit on a clear day.
There’s a little something for everyone as you make your way from Lago di Garda to San Marino. Whether it’s the seaside feel you want or an exquisite dining experience, indulge in the best that northern Italy has to offer.
Photographs courtesy of Lily C. Fen
Learn more of the adventure that awaits for you in Italy as told by Lily inside the magazine, available in all leading bookstores nationwide or downloadable from Magzter.