F1 2024 Insider's Guide No. 07 – Emilia-Romagna

16 May 24


F1-2024-Insider-s-Guide-No.-07-Emilia-Romagna - GLOBE-TROTTER

The circuit at Imola in Emilia-Romagna is legendary for motorsport. Steeped in history and tragedy, over many decades it has seen fast and dramatic racing. It is famous for wheel-to-wheel battles – including those that saw now Aston Martin Aramco Formula One® Team driver Fernando Alonso duel with Michael Schumacher for victory in 2005 and ’06 – but, sadly, also for claiming the lives of Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger in 1994, which led to significant modifications and a safer circuit. Nestled in Italy’s stunning Emilia-Romagna region, the locale for this race is just as enchanting as the circuit itself.

What makes Emilia-Romagna so enticing?

Emilia-Romagna is Italy’s food capital with exports including Parmesan cheese, Parma ham and balsamic vinegar from Modena. Bologna’s restaurants make it known as ‘the fat city’. The mountain kingdom of San Marino used to give its name to the Imola Grand Prix from 1981 to 2006, and it’s worth trekking up to one of Europe’s smallest sovereign nations if you’re the kind of person who wants to discover the more quirky destinations of the world. The coast at Rimini will provide all the beach fun you could ask for, while Tuscany is next door with its iconic cities of Siena, Florence and Pisa - each of which has incredible cathedrals and piazzas filled with life.

How to find joy in the journey?

Catch one of Trenitalia’s iconic trains south to the sun. The train famously rolls onto a ship and travels across the Straits of Messina on its way to Palermo, skirting the dramatic coastline. Stop at beautiful Cefalù with its jagged rocky outcrops and hilltop castle and stay a night at Le Calette, a friendly family-owned hotel with sumptuous private beaches where Jennifer Coolidge and the White Lotus crew stayed while they were filming at the town’s beach. At the end of the line in cosmopolitan Palermo visit the famous Villa Igiea with its incredible art nouveau furniture and frescos, historic rooms and a restaurant serving dishes to die for like John Dory on creamed garlic potatoes.

What’s new in Northern Italy?

The Venice Art Biennale has just kicked off offering a look at some of the most interesting and innovative visual art from around the world, with each country’s pavilion hosting artists from that nation. It continues until November. Meanwhile in nearby Florence you can stay in a brand-new set of luxe rooms among historic architecture, which opened this month. Algila Firenze Apartments comprises two locations, Luxury Torrigiani and Lifestyle Tournabuoni - two newly opened complexes of high-quality apartments set in historic 18th-century townhouses in the historic heart of Florence, which enables you to be close to the city’s artistic history and the Uffizi Gallery and also be a short drive from the Imola Circuit.

Where should I go next?

Take a trip to Italy’s neighbouring and less visited country – the misunderstood Albania. This beautifully mountainous and enigmatic country will get you thinking. An illuminated tunnel is one of the capital city Tirana’s newest artistic attractions. Terminal for Tirana was commissioned by the Albanian Ministry of Culture and the Tirana Art Lab and has just opened. Artist Karolina Halatek is interested in near-death experiences, and her newly installed work explores this theme. Terminal for Tirana has just been installed in a newly designed public space near the entrance to the Mother Teresa Hospital. The aim is to offer a glimpse into another dimension and provide a moment of reflection. Sou Fujimoto’s ‘Cloud’ - a former Serpentine Pavilion moved from London is another art attraction just around the corner. Stay at the luxurious Maritim Plaza Hotel while you’re in Tirana.

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