The duality of Emilia-Romagna is evident even in its history. Emilia is named for the road that connected Rome with Northern Italy (Via Emilius) and Romagna is named after Romània (the name of the Eastern Roman Empire after the fall of Rome). It was in this area that one of Europe's oldest universities was founded, the University of Bologna. Politically, the region's history is one of instability as it was controlled by varying political entities until it finaly became part of the Modern Italian Republic.
The northern province of Emilia-Romagna lies south of the Veneto and east of Toscana. It is comprised of two historic regions, those of Emilia and Romagna. Emilia constitutes the northwestern portion of the region while Romagna covers the southeastern area. These two areas today are the embodiment of old vs. new. Emilia is home to modern industries like car production (Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Ducati, etc.). Romagna, on the other hand, is home older crafts, like clothes and wine. Each region makes wine, however, they make very different wines. Emilia is home to Lambrusco production where Romagna is more famous for Albana di Romagna and Sangiovese di Romagna.
To some degree, Emilia-Romagna is home to many of Italy's most famous foods. There are three PDO’s for olive oil, all of which lie in the Romagna area. The city of Parma is well-known for its production of cheeses and hams (Prosciutto di Parma and Parmesan). Many of the traditional meat dishes that came from Romagna were cooked on a spit and crusted with locally-grown herbs.
Winemaking has long been associated with Emilia-Romagna, and, as a result, Italy's first DOCG for white wine was actually in Emilia-Romagna. It was called Albana di Romagna and it is still respected today as an easy-to-drink white that can be paired with local seafood dishes. Sangiovese also found a home here, and many of Italy's taverns serve the inexpensive, yet flavorful Sangiovese di Romagna as a pleasing food wine.
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