Have you heard about the “MotorValley” before? I hadn’t, until I was invited to visit this area in the region of Emilia Romagna in Italy recently.
To begin with, the area stretches along the Via Emilia, which is a millennium-old Roman road that gave its name to the whole region. Along the road, you can find cities such as Bologna, Modena, Parma, Piacenza, Reggio Emilia, Forlì, Ferrara, Ravenna, Cesena and Rimini.
Built on the initiative of Roman consul Marcus Aemilius Lepidus in 187 BC, these days the road has become the ultimate travel guide for a slow-paced holiday.
Expect a mix of culture, nature and fine dining – and of course many fast Italian motors and cars, as well as some awesome Italian car factory tours you can take and my favourite museums… so fasten your seat belt and drive along with The Travel Tester!
HIGHLIGHTS MOTORVALLEY ITALY
1. Ducati Factory & Ducati Museum
Our first stop in the MotorVally was the Ducati Museum Bologna. Now, I have to be honest and tell you I didn’t know much about Ducati bikes (or am that much of a bike fan in general), but I was super interested in the Ducati factory tour, since I have a weird obsession with production lines (makes me relaxed and feel organized – I suppose).
Preparing for a visit to the Ducati factory in Italy was a little bit stressful (they put stickers on the lenses of your phone and you have to put all your cameras away), because what’s happening inside has to stay a secret… …although I thought: if you want to steal their ideas, you could just book a tour, right? Hmm….
Anyway, it added a bit to the feeling of being a VIP – especially since in the Ducati Museum, we could actually sit on one of the Ducati Scrambler Bikes.
Can recommend a visit if you’re in the area!
See their Website > www.ducati.com
Book a Tour > www.getyourguide.com [Bologna: Ferrari, Ducati, Lamborghini Factory & Museum Tour]
2. Scrambler Ducati Food Factory in Bologna
Since the 1960s, Ducati brought imagination, sharing with others and adaptability to the streets with the creation of their Scrambler bike. From this spirit, they also launched a new catering format: the Scrambler Ducati Food Factory.
There are two locations of the Food Factory in Bologna, and we visited the one located on Via D’Azeglio.
Besides the modern interior design (of course featuring a few of the iconic bikes), the dishes on the menu represent the culinary excellence of the Emilia-Romagna region, mixed with a bit of USA spirit. Expect lots of fresh pasta and cold cuts and cheeses, but also creative spins on the Italian ‘piadine’ and of course the pizza, but also beef hamburgers and pulled pork with barbecue sauce.
This restaurant is open every day from early morning until evening, ready to welcome you for either breakfast, an aperitif, brunch, dinner or an evening drink.
See their Website > www.scramblerducatifoodfactory.it
3. Autodromo di Modena (Ferrari Test Drive)
This destination will make your heart -literally- go faster: how about driving a Ferrari over a race track?
It’s possible at Autodromo di Modena, and in the blog (click below), you can read all about this thrilling experience.
Highly, Highly recommend this if you’re not afraid of a little (ok, a lot) of speed and being shaken around a bit (ok, also a lot…)
See their Website > www.autodromodimodena.it
Book a Tour > www.getyourguide.com [Ferrari Full Day Experience with Test Drive, Lunch & Gadget]
4. Museo Enzo Ferrari (Ferrari Museum)
While there is no Ferrari factory tour, Museo Enzo Ferrari is a car museum Italy can be proud of. Definitely a must-visit for anyone loving great design and learning about the history of this iconic automobile.
I loved the interesting guided tour we got, as she shared our many fun behind-the-scenes stories about Enzo Ferrari himself and the company he built because he loved racing. You’ll leave the museum knowing a lot more about this epic car brand and also the importance for the local history.
Want to know more about this museum and what you can see and do here? Then make sure to click below and read my in-depth review:
See their Website > www.musei.ferrari.com
Book a Tour > www.getyourguide.com [Ferrari Full Day Experience]
5. Lamborghini Factory Tour & Museum
At the impressive MUDETEC Lamborghini museum Italy, you can not only see some of the best Lamborghini cars in the collection and learn more about the history of the company, but also take a literal step behind the scenes on a thrilling factory tour.
This Lamborghini museum is a must-visit for any car lover out there. Make sure to make it to the top floor, where you can find a simulator to try yourself how hard it is to actually drive a Lamborghini race car around the track!
See their Website > www.lamborghini.com
6. Maserati Factory & Maserati Museum
Personally, I didn’t get to experience the Maserati Factory tour, but we did see the Maserati Museum / showroom and learned a thing or two about the history of this successful car company.
The showroom and attached museum-section is quite small, so expect to only spend about an hour max here, but if you’re interested in this gorgeous car and perhaps want to sit in one of them (like we did, but ask first, of course!), this is the place to go.
They offer a guided tour of the showroom, which lasts for about 40 minutes, but if I have to be real honest, the presentation we got was very dry and a bit boring, going into pretty much every little detail and date he could tell us about the company.
I am personally very bad when it comes to guided tours, as I’m more a visual than an auditory learner, so I zoned out after about 10 minutes and woke up right about when we were allowed to walk around on our own.
7. Panini Collection & Hombre Farm
The Panini car collection is the final not-to-miss stop during your time in the Motor Valley. Definitely make sure to read my article below, as this collection is super unique and features some rare models.
At the next-door Hombre Farm, which belongs to the descendants of the Panini family, you can get a behind-the-scenes look at the production of Parmigiano Reggiano. Don’t forget to taste it and bring back home a piece!
See the Panini Motor Museum Website > www.paninimotormuseum.it
See the Hombre Farm Website > www.hombre.it
* BONUS: One Day in Modena
One of my biggest surprises on my most recent visit to Emilia Romagna was the gorgeous city of Modena. I really wish we had more time here (I was on a press trip, where you usually only see the highlights), because I kept looking around me, putting all my 5 senses to work and taking it all in.
Here I discovered fantastic architecture, Ferrari’s in the middle of the street (see proof below), the best gelato, a brilliant market (where my Italian blogger friend pointed me in the direction of the best cheese stall), stunning porticio (covered arches under the buildings), a visit to the Pavaroti Opera House (where they were just practicing – lucky us!) and even a visit to a balsamico farm, where I tasted my first ever gelato with this liquid gold. Unique, loved it!
Book a Tour in Modena > www.getyourguide.com
Best Accommodation in Modena > www.booking.com
I’m working on a full Modena guide, so check back soon for more details. Here is a visual sneak-peak already:
* BONUS: One Day in Bologna
Bologna has to be one of my favourite cities in Europe. It’s relaxing, yet always busy, the food is good and you can never get bored walking the beautiful orange streets, both during the day as in the evening.
I’m currently updating my one day in Bologna guide, because I’ve been back here multiple times in the past few years, but you can check my free 2 hour walking guide to Bologna here to start with (sorry if the images are broken, working hard to fix all the old content on the site, but only have two hands, haha!):
Book a Tour in Bologna> www.getyourguide.com
Best Accommodation in Bologna > www.booking.com
Cheap Flights to Italy > www.skyscanner.com
PLAN YOUR TRIP TO ITALY!
Here is more information to help you plan your trip:
Time Zone in Italy? Italy is on Central European Summer Time, GMT+2
Currency in Italy? Euro (EUR). Check the latest exchange rate here.
Electrical Plugs in Italy? In Italy the standard voltage is 230 V and the frequency is 50 Hz. The power plugs and sockets are either of type F (two round pins, thick or thin) and L (three round pins). The thick F-type pins won’t fit in the L-type pin, so always make sure to bring an adaptor that fits the 3-pin sockets as well!
We recommend getting a universal travel adapter to never worry about having the right plug on your travels!
Languages Spoken in Italy? Italian, but English is widely spoken, especially in the more tourist areas, such around Bologna and Modena.
Best time to visit Italy?The best time to visit Italy is either in the spring (April-June) or fall (September and October). In these months, the weather is fair and moderate and there will be fewer tourists around.
How to get to Italy? Check skyscanner.com for the best flights to Italy >>
Map of the MotorValley Area
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Disclaimer: I visited the Motorvalley in Italy on invitation of the STS travel blogging conference, organised by iambassador and Emilia Romagna tourism. All opinions and photos in this article are 100% my own.