The best things to see and do in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy during your trip to the Formula 1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix 2024 at Imola
- The 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix is scheduled on May 17-19
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- Tickets are now on sale / F1 Experiences Ticket Packages are also available
- All images © F1Destinations.com. The Editor attended the 2022 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
Autodromo Imola is located in the town of Imola in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. Imola lies between the region’s largest city, Bologna, and the Adriatic coastline – which is home to the seaside resort of Rimini and the small republic of San Marino. Not only is the area picturesque, it is filled with historical points of interest, is rich in culture and is also at the heart of Italy’s automotive industry. Read on to learn more about what the region has to offer.
The largest city in the region – and closest to Autodromo Imola – is Bologna. The city is known as the ‘Fat, Red, and the Learn’d City’, with its rich cuisine, red-roofed buildings and the University of Bologna, which is the oldest university in the western world. Bologna benefits from a more relaxed atmosphere than the country’s other larger cities. While it may not attract as many tourists as Milan, Venice or Rome, there’s still plenty to do here.
The medieval Asinelli Tower is one of the best places to take in Bologna’s architecture and the beautiful rolling hills surrounding the city. Sadly, due to the unstable foundations of the neighbouring Garisenda Tower, both towers are now closed to the public and unlikely to be opened again in the near future.
Another great place to overlook the city is at Madonna di San Luca, around an hour’s walk from the city centre, which sits 300 metres above Bologna. If you’d prefer, you can access the church via the San Luca Express bus – though the view is very much worth the walk!
To discover some of Bologna’s hidden history, head to Via Piella to find a small remaining section of the city’s canals. The waterways in Bologna were once extensive, but most were covered over in the mid-twentieth century.
Bologna’s Food Scene
Some of Italy’s top food products are sourced from the Emilia-Romagna region. Food tours of the city are popular amongst foodies and are the perfect way to learn more about the region’s food culture. The atmospheric Quadrilatero district is your go-to place for the city’s best markets, selling everything from fresh fruit and vegetables to the best local cheeses, meats and pasta. Fresh products from Mercato Delle Erbe are also highly recommended.
The seaside resort of Rimini sits on the coastline of the Adriatic Sea, around 90km east of Autodromo Imola. Although the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix takes place in April and you won’t be able to take full advantage of the resort’s 15km stretch of golden beaches, the area still caters to many tourists.
Ancient Architecture in Rimini
A fine example of a Roman relic can be found at the Arco d’Augusto, constructed in 27 BC. Rimini is also home to another of the area’s unfinished cathedrals. Tempio Malatestiano, whose construction took place over a period of 600 years before being declared ‘finished’ in the 1400s, sits among the city’s many piazzas. The immaculate Ponte di Tiberio, a bridge with five arches built in 20AD, can be viewed from the banks of the Marecchia river.
Family activities in Rimini
With Rimini being a seaside resort, you’ll find activities for the whole family here. Check out Italia in Minatura, north easy of the city centre, which features many of Italy’s famous landmarks in miniature form. Adrenaline seekers will be in their element at Mirabilandia Theme Park, which is one of the most popular theme parks in Italy. For something more relaxing, head to Parco Giovanni Paolo II to find a quiet spot to check out the local wildlife or take a ride on La Ruota Panoramica, a 55 metre high observation wheel on the fringes of the Adriatic Sea.
Food in Rimini
Due to its coastal location, you’ll find lots of fresh seafood on the menu in Rimini. The luxury GB Restaurant ranks among the best in the city, as does the Michelin-starred Guido Restaurant. Street food is big in Rimini. Burgers, pizza gelato – whatever you’re looking for, it’s likely there’s a kiosk for it somewhere in the city!
Of course, Imola’s star attraction is Autodromo Imola. The circuit has played host to Formula 1 races since 1980. It was the scene of one of F1’s darkest weekends, when Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna lost their lives at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix. A statue of Senna is located in Acque Minerali Park and remains a point of pilgrimage for many of the Brazilian’s fans. Guided tours of the circuit are also available on select days throughout the year, while the circuit also hosts regular track days.
The small republic of San Marino – the country from which F1’s race at Imola took its name from 1980 to 2006 – sits 90km southeast of the circuit. Monte Titano dominates the skyline of the picturesque small republic. Atop of each of the three peaks are fortifications, of which the fairytale-like Guaita tower is the most iconic, which are represented on the country’s flag. Take in the views from Funivia di San Marino, a cable car offering panoramic views of the local surroundings.
Learn more about the republic’s history in the National Museum – Museo di Stato – located in the historic Palazzo Pergami Belluzzi. For something more quirky, check out the Museum of Curiosities – Museo delle Curiosità – a collection of strange and unusual objects and artefacts.
San Marino is famed for its fine wines. The vineyards at Consorzio Vini Tipici are the best place to sample the best of the area’s wine offerings. Tax-free shopping in the republic means you can pick up wine, gifts, clothes and food at cheaper prices than in other nearby cities.
The area surrounding the Imola circuit is commonly referred to as ‘Motor Valley’ thanks to its strong ties to the motorsport world. There are four international racetracks, the factories of six Italian manufacturers and a plethora of motorsport museums and collections.
There are also two Lamborghini museums in the area. At the Lamborghini Museum in Bologna, you can take a tour of the marque’s production line. The Ferruccio Lamborghini Museum is just outside of Bologna and looks at the life of the brand’s founder.
More information on Motor Valley can be found on the area’s official website. If you’re not hiring a car during your trip, the Mi Muovo Multibus travel pass is a great way of getting from city to city in the Emilia-Romagna region.