These three cities make up the culinary heart of northern Italy, known worldwide for their prosciutto, parmesan, and balsamic vinegar, and for the local pasta-making giant, Barilla. Opera also has deep roots here. Giuseppe Verdi was born near Parma, and the late Luciano Pavarotti hailed from Modena. If you missed dinner in Parma, you wonâ€™t be disappointed in Bologna, with its tortellini, green ravioli, truffles, and more. This is known as the wealthiest city in Italy, and the most progressiveâ€”it boasted the longest-standing Communist mayorâ€”due in no small part to its university, which is among the oldest in Europe.