Adriatic Coast, Italy
An introduction to the Adriatic Coast
Forming the very shapely 'calf' of Italy's celebrated, slender 'boot', the Adriatic Coast is lined with splendid beach resorts, like Adriano (near Ravenna) and Vigna Sul Mar (near Ferrara) and features a wealth of historic monuments, castles and National Parks of outstanding, natural beauty.
Ideal for the family camping holiday in Italy, the rich Emilia-Romagna region at the 'top end' of the Adriatic Coast is home to the nation's 'beautiful people', who zip from hillside retreat to classic racetrack in their locally crafted supercars.
Of course, Venice is the main focal point of this magnificent Mediterranean inlet, but the velvety `Blue Flag' sands and gently rippling waters are just as grand an attraction and merit further discovery, especially when the lights go down and the stylish beach bars come alive.
What to eat and drink on the Adriatic Coast
The wealthy Emilia-Romagna region is understandably famous for the sublime quality of its food. With historic Bologna at its centre, you'll be spoilt for choice when it comes to hearty, meat sauces to smother your pasta.
But don't miss out on the other local specialities, which will linger in your taste buds' memory long after you've left for home. Try capellacci di zucca (marrow-stuffed pasta), give the salama da sugo a go (liver sausage), the pampapato chocolate cake is pure, sweet heaven and the piadina farcita (savoury flat bread sandwiches) are a rare treat at any time of day.
The area is renowned for its barbecued meats and freshly caught seafood too, followed by the intriguingly named 'zuppa inglese' (boozy trifle). As for wines, whilst not Italy's most prodigious producer, the region is well-known for its Sangiovese, Albana, and Trebbiano varieties.
What to see and do on the Adriatic Coast
Who could resist a day out in Bologna, ancient University City with an artistic, trendy twist? Or the tiny Republic of San Marino, nestling in the Apennine Mountains? You might want to venture out to Comacchio, a fascinating town built on over a dozen different islets, joined together by 'toy town' bridges.
For a change of pace, the Po Delta national park is a tranquil joy, criss-crossed by cycle ways, luxury residence of eels and herons dipping in and out of the reed beds.
There's plenty to appeal to the traveller in Ferrara too, with its myriad medieval features, narrow vaulted streets, Palazzo di Lodovico Il Moro, the monastery, museum and more.
And if you're a keen arts enthusiast, you simply cannot overlook Ravenna, a city that's bursting with Byzantine masterpieces and sparkling mosaics (you might want to try your hand at making some).
Cultural centre it might be, but Ravenna's beaches also host the very latest advances in water sport activity, whilst the trendy bars and cafes are a major draw with concert-goers.