A few months ago, I visited Venice, Italy for a few days during which I realized I was very close to Bologna so I decided to head there for a day trip. An hour and a half from the main train station in Venice, Bologna remains relatively hidden to tourist masses which makes it an excellent getaway for the otherwise tourist-swamped Italy.
Bologna is one of the oldest cities in Italy and is was declared European capital of culture in 2000, the UNESCO “city of music” in 2006. It is also one of the wealthiest cities in Italy, often ranking as one of the top cities in terms of quality of life.
I often judge a place by how much I want to return after visiting. Bologna gave me plenty of that. Venice, which is of gorgeous of course, didn’t.
As usual you can follow me on Instagram (@gmr83) for more pictures from Bologna and around the world.
Without further ado, below are reasons why I think Bologna is one of the most charming cities in Europe and is well worth a visit:
- Architecture: Bologna is home to stunning churches, monuments, and museums. The architecture is simply gorgeous and easily recognizable with its unique red color. You can easily spend a few days if you want to visit all the museums and churches, and the best part is that almost all of them are within walking distance from each other.
- Canals: Venice gets all the reputation for its beautiful canals but it is far from being the only Italian city that has those! At some point in history, Bologna had one of the most advanced waterway systems in Europe. Today, the canals are in hidden spots around the city and it is interesting finding them during your stay.
- Food: Bologna is the food capital of Italy, no matter what the Romans, Neapolitans, and Sicilians tell you! Emilia-Romagna, the region in which Bologna is located, is home of Parmigiano-Reggiano, balsamic vinegar, prosciutto di Parma, spaghetti Bolognese, tortellini, and much more. Click here for some mouthwatering pictures of what to expect in terms of food. Also, check The Culture Trip for the best places to experience those dishes! You may want to bring jeans that are a couple of sizes larger just in case.
- Bologna University: Want to hang out where geniuses like Copernicus and Dante once studied? How about Giorgio Armani? All three of them studied at Bologna University. Founded in the year 1088, this university is the second oldest in the world and the oldest in Europe.
- Porticos and archways: The historical city of Bologna has the most porticos in the world with nearly 40 kilometers of beautiful walkways and gorgeous arches you can stroll through. These beautiful archways provide shelter from the rain and the heat so you have no excuse to stay indoors when you visit! The Travel Bunny has some nice pictures of the porticos if you want to see why you will be stopping every 2 minutes to take pictures! http://thetravelbunny.com/2012/07/31/bologna-porticoes-top-sights/
- Accessibility: Bologna is a transportation hub in northern Italy which means that you are only a short ride away from tourist destinations like Venice, Milan, Florence, and Cinque Terre.
Have you been to Bologna? What did you like the most?