The birthplace of tortellini, Bolognese sauce and epic balsamic vinegar, Emilia-Romagna is the gastronomical center of the Italian peninsula. Each city is but a stop on this culinary journey. Eat your way through Parma’s world-famous prosciutto, gorge on mortadella in Bologna, nibble pasticcio in Ferrara. When you’ve had enough, wash it all down with a refreshing glass of Lambrusco, a sparkling red popular in the region. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to work off all the calories you’ve just accumulated. The region’s many urban areas conceal a healthy collection of well-preserved sites and artistic treasures but lack the tourist hordes of Venice or Rome. Take advantage by bicycling along crumbling medieval walls, partying in neon discos, and gazing at ornate Byzantine mosaics. Top it all off with a generous slice of panpepato, chocolate cake with almonds, candied fruit and icing.