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Apr 11, 2013 01:36 PM

Emilia Romagna - Zibello, Modena, Parma


Faithful 3 year lurker here - I actually used several of your suggestions when we visited Venice and Tuscany in 2011. This fall, we are returning to Italy to experience Emilia-Romanga (ER) and Piedmont for 8 nights. However, we are only spending 2 nights in ER since the main focus of our trip is truffles, chocolate and wine in Piedmont.

We have two nights booked in Castelvetro di Modena in the middle of October. I am trying to put together an itinerary that is going to include one meal reservation a day. (We don't like being tied to a completely rigid schedule when we travel without kids - we enjoy some spontaneity.) We also are not star chasers - but on special occasion, don't mind dropping $300 for meals - we are saving such a meal for Piedmont.

This is what we had in mind:

1. Arrive in Milan in the early morning. Rent car & start driving south. Stop in Zibello for lunch at La Buca & a tour of the culatello.

2. Time in Modena. Seek out balsamic vinegar tour & lunch - was thinking: (1) Pedroni tour & Osteria di Rubbiara for lunch or (2) Guisti or Villa San Donnino & Hostaria Giusti for lunch.

3. Leave Castelvetro di Modena for Piedmont early morning. We had discussed visiting Torrechiara Castle before lunch. Based on previous posts, we are considering Ai Due Platani for lunch because it is in the direction of Parma & the highway that would take us to Piedmont. If the weather is beautiful, we could drive to and stroll around Parma. If the weather is cold or rainy, we could start our drive to Piedmont.

Now, I have the following questions -

For the day in Zibello, does the culatello tour at La Buca need to be booked when you make reservations? Any other culinary items/places we should seek out when we are in that area?

For the day in Modena, any thoughts on what places that I listed that might make the better experience overall? We are torn. Also, any outstanding gelato and/or bakeries in Modena that are a must visit?

For our last day in ER, are there any other suggestions for lunch in the area? Our lunch budget - without wine - is 50 Euros.

Thank you for all your input!


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  1. Is your lunch budget per person or for the two of you?

    1 Reply
    1. re: jen kalb

      For both of us for that day - but budgets are meant to be broken - so I'm open to suggestions. I'm trying to keep a few meals on the cheaper side so we can splurge on truffles and wine in Piedmont - but I'm also realistic - definitely no more than 75 Euros, wine excluded! :)

    2. There is no need to book a tour. The culatelli just hang in a cellar behind the restaurant. Same thing at Antica Corte in Polesine; there the cellar is larger.

      It takes about two minutes to explain how culatello is made and one minute to look at them hanging. It is all in the eating. Ah, what flavor and aroma. Nothing like it.

      After the meal, just ask to see the cellar and they will be happy to show it to you.

      There is nothing special in that area culinary wise except culatello. 24/7 culatello. If you go to La Buca, think about having spalla as well as culatello.

      1 Reply
      1. re: allende

        Thanks for your advice, Allende! Spalla is on my list of food to order at La Buca!

      2. you could set up a visit to a Parmigiana producer while in ER.

        1. concur with Allende here, the culatello cellar is almost part of the restaurant and no need to book. Actually in terms of Italian cuisine we found La Buca quite dull except for the culatello, but nowhere else was open in town and they do a good "culatello tourism" trade and have been there for ever, so it's worth the trip. there is another restaurant well rated in guide books in nearby Busetto, but it also was closed when we made our culatello expedition.

          our review at

          1 Reply
          1. re: Villasampaguita

            I don't have my travel notes nearby but I wonder if you are referring to the place where you drink wines out of bowls?

            Thanks for your input!

          2. Agreed. La Buca ... eat ... get up ... see cellar.

            Castelvetrano is a spectacular, unknown gem.

            In Modena: Acetaia Giorgio gives great tours, right in town, can wlak to Giusti afterward. (A little bit of a walk, but Acetaia Giorgio is fantastic.)

            Definitely go on a Parmigiano tour. In fact --- jeez -- I love Piemonte (ask Sampaguita!), but give Emilia Romagna its due. Like, an extra day?

            Trip seems a bit (understatement) rushed.

            I ate at Cavallino Bianco near Zibello once. Also great lunch. In ??? Polesine Parmense? Along the river, for sure.

            1 Reply
            1. re: pedalaforte

              Good to know we are based in an unknown gem - there is not much online re: the place. Do you have any favorite places to eat in the town itself? We are staying at Locanda Del Feudo in the old city.

              Based on recommendations here in this thread, I'm going to get a parm tour scheduled. It was an idea that was tossed around for awhile.

              This ER leg is rushed - I strongly agree. It wasn't part of the original plan - we like to park ourselves in one spot for a week and take is slow. We are returning to Italy next year & will likely be in ER for at least 10 days.

              Thanks for your input!