Italy is usually synonymous with famed dishes bolognese ragu or lasagna but Bologna, home of these iconic dishes is rarely touted as a must see Italian city. My friends, if we can impart any travel advice on to you it would be to visit Bologna.
Not only is Bologna home to Italy’s (arguably) most famous pasta dish, it also boasts Europe’s oldest university dating back to 1088.
Bologna is filled with historical architecture echoing an ancient past but the lively university students bring vibrant life to the city making for the perfect contrast of old and new culture.
Top things to do
Quadrilatero, the old medieval market and food shopping area is a great starting point to explore Bologna. Although it can become overrun with tourists around lunchtime the traditional stalls, pasta shops and quaint eateries set the vibe of the city.
Eat at Osteria dell’Orsa
We gained the pounds hunting down the best bowl of Bolognese in Bolonga to save your waste-line (you’re welcome). At a hefty 6 Euro Osteria dell’Orsa is the tagliatelle Bolognese of your dreams. Fun fact; authentic Bolognese isn’t made with spaghetti! It’s made using tagliatelle.
Towers of Bologna
The ‘Two Towers of Bologna’ or Torre degli Asinelli & Torre delle Garisenda are the main landmarks of the city. Garisenda, the smaller of the two towers has an impressive lean that would rival the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Asinelli stands 102 meters tall and If you need a workout and can face the 500 stairs to the top the views from of Bologna are incredible.
Grab an aperitif facing possibly the most unattractive church we’ve come across in Italy, the San Petronio Basilica or ‘the unfinished church’ with initial foundations laid in 1388 and finished in the 1950’s this monstrosity is the 10th largest church in the world.
The cafe’s across the square are a great place to catch the afternoon sun and the San Petronio Basilica is the perfect talking point. Useful when you’ve been travelling with the same person for four months.
Put on your walking shoes
Bologna is flat, fairly condensed and the perfect city for exploring on foot thanks to it’s 40km of Porticos. A Portico is basically a porch that lines the street sheltering you from the rain, sun or any other ghastly attack from mother nature.
Weekends in the city centre
Every weekend the main city streets are closed to vehicles and taken over by buskers, street performers and hundreds of locals giving the city a fairground feel perfect for families.