Bologna was a city we were going to skip because we weren’t sure we’d have the time on our road trip. Thankfully we said F it and drove up for the day. Bologna is a really cool city that isn’t actually overrun with tourists like Florence, Rome and Venice.
Known as the learnt, the fat and the red, Bologna is a city filled with history. Known as the learnt because it is where the first modern university was founded way back in 1088, the fat because it is actually considered the culinary capital of Italy and the red because of well its political history.
We arrived , checked in to our Airbnb and set out to explore. First port of call was to grab some food. We stopped in one of the markets called Mercato Delle Erbe, within the market you’ll find Altro, a large hall which hosts a few different food options. We went for the pizza, which was delicious. I would definitely recommend checking this place out as there are some really cool options and its a real local vibe.
Bologna old town is pretty small so it is easy to cover a lot of ground in a short period of time. The old town is beautiful so be prepared to have your camera out every step of the way. We started off in Piazza Maggiore, the main square where you will find the town hall, Basilica di San Petronio, Palazzo Re Enzo a 13th-century palace and a pretty weird fountain. Just off of Piazza Maggiore you’ll find Quadrilatero a particularly beautiful street with arches all around. Here you will find an abundance of cool cafes, trendy stores and great spots for food and wine.
From there we walked towards Bologna’s very own leaning tower which is situated at the corner of Via Rizzoli and Via Zamboni and just off from there you will find the old Jewish quarter with charming tiny streets. One thing I definitely wanted to see was the university, which I would definitely recommend checking out as it is known to be one of the most beautiful universities in the world.
For shopping check out Via dell’ Indipendenza, Via Ugo Bassi, Via Rizzoli and Via D’Azeglio, these streets lead out in a sort of crossroads from Piazza Maggiore, it is on these streets that you will find everything from high street to high end. The streets Via dell’Archiginnasio and Via Farini are other hot spots for shopping, it’s on Via Farini you’ll find Galleria Cavour which is a luxury shopping mall.
After all the exploring it was time for dinner, we went to Gessetto Ristorante and of course got had to get Ragu, I mean when in Bologna and all that! It’s a cute restaurant situated in a small square. After dinner, we wanted to go for a drink and stumbled upon this outdoor food market with cute fairy lights strung up in trees. We got a Spritz and a beer from the bar and took a seat among many locals. It is situated in Piazzetta Francesco Molinari near the park called Giardino del Guasto. After a few drinks, we headed back to the Airbnb and called it a night.
The next morning before driving to Lucca we went to tick one more thing off our Bologna bucket list and that was climbing up through the Portici di San Luca leading up towards Santuario Madonna di San Luca. The walkway consists of 666 arches. It is an up hill climb and is about 3.5k, going up is tough but its actually going down that is more annoying. This spot is a really cool place to get pictures and when we went around 10 am it wasn’t too busy, which means no people in your Instagrams!