Terracotta roofs of red and orange shades make up the colourful city of Bologna, one of Italy’s true hidden gems. Located in the Emilia-Romagna district in the north of the country, Bologna is famous for its cuisine and being the birthplace of Bolognese sauce.
Things to do in Bologna
Piazza Maggiore is Bologna’s main plaza where you can enjoy shopping in boutique stores, rummaging through book shops and sipping coffee al fresco at one of the many outdoor cafes. One of the biggest and oldest squares in Italy, it is surrounded by medieval buildings like the Palazzo del Podesta and the giant Basilica of San Petronio.
For the best views of Bologna, head up to the top of Asinelli Tower. Built in the 12th century, Bologna’s largest tower is taller than the Leaning Tower of Pisa. You can climb the 498 steps in this medieval structure and look out across the beautiful Emilia Romagna.
Just above the city, atop a forested hill, sits the Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca. This beautiful Basilica church dates back to the 18th century and now serves as an active place of worship. Take a taxi or hike up to the church to admire its curved domed profile.
Bologna is famous for being a hidden gastronomy capital, so make sure you enjoy some of the local delicacies. Head to Diana restaurant near the central plaza to dine on Italian sausage called “mortadella” and minced pork filled pasta known as “tortellini in brodo”.
Getting around Bologna
Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport sits just a few minutes away and is served by taxis and the Aerobus. Explore Bologna on the efficient bus system or make use of the local taxis. The city centre is compact and walkable, while renting a bike can make traversing the hilly terrain a pleasant alternative.