Bologna is the largest city in the Emilia-Romagna region of Nothern Italy. Compared to the other cities in this article, it is the least touristy but the tourist numbers are increasing every year for this fascinating city.
Steeped in medieval history, this city is considered an important cultural and artistic centre and was named Europe’s Capital of Culture in 2000. The architecture is incredible, the entire city is full of beautifully decorated arches, (or Porticoes). This enchanting city will have you dreaming of Italy for years to come.
The city has an Italian authenticity that you don’t find in cities that attract more tourists in Italy, but in Bologna you’re amongst locals. The language barrier can be more of an issue here with the older residents. But most young people speak English (it’s a university city after all!), and the locals are keen to help you out!
One of the most wonderful things about Bologna (and Italy) is the food. Bologna is the home of Spaghetti Bolognese (known locally as Tagliatelle al Ragu) which I couldn’t recommend highly enough! This region is also the home of Parma Ham… who doesn’t love Parma Ham?!
Top Places to visit
- Bologna’s leaning towers
- Bologna University – particularly the Anatomical Theatre
- Food Markets
- Unlike many other cities in Italy (particularly Rome and Venice) Bologna doesn’t (yet) have a charge for sitting outside in popular areas. People watch while listening to live music on Piazza Maggiore, and drink some of the finest coffee in the world!
- Always order the house wine! This part of Italy is rich in vegetation and some of the best wine in the world is made here, so don’t waste your money paying for imported wine on the wine list. I assure you the best wine you’ll drink is the house wine which is inexpensive because it’s usually local! Unlike where I’m from (the UK) where the house wine is usually the cheapest (and most disgusting). Here, they choose the best local wine as their house wine, and the best wine local to Bologna is going to be GREAT wine!
- Go to dinner late and off the main streets. Though there aren’t as many tourist traps in Bologna you’ll find the few they have on the main streets. Bologna is a beautiful city to get lost in, and also quite a small city (so you won’t get too lost!). If the restaurant is busy at 8.30 then it must be a good one. Get a table and order what everyone else is having! That’s my top tip for eating anywhere!
This concludes my introduction to the beautiful city of Bologna, one not often written about but certainly worth a visit, it’s a romantic city that will sweep you off your feet and have you head over heels for Italy! You can read more about my adventures in Italy here.