Bologna - Small City, Big Heart
For those unaware, Bologna is located in the center of Northern Italy, home to around 1 million people and surprisingly Italy’s 7th most visited city. When searching for a city break one of the most deciding factors has to be the flights, everything from time, cost and location. Thankfully, Bologna has it’s own airport that’s no more than a 15 minute drive into the city center. Bologna is such a small city that you’ll struggle to find anything but a great location for a place to stay. Similarly you wont struggle to find beautiful examples of local heritage, Bologna is one of the best preserved cities in Europe, around every corner your eyes are met with more and more stunning architecture.
The most notable structures have to be the medieval towers that dominate the skyline. Between the 12th and 13th century it’s estimated that Bologna was home to around 180 towers. To this day the purpose behind them remains a mystery, although the most common hypothesis is that the wealthiest families would compete to build the highest tower, these days fewer than 20 are still standing in one form or another. The tallest tower (Asinelli) can be scaled from within and boasts breath-taking views across the city, well worth the 498 steps to the top!
When picking Italy as your destination you only have one thing on your mind after the weather –the food. Often in places like Rome and Milan, you’ll pay over the odds for average grub, however Bologna is completely the opposite. There’s nobody trying to drag you into their restaurant with obscenely cheap deals, it’s a case of this is what we serve and it’s up to you. Being so spoilt for choice, the local tourist board kindly recommended Ristorante Da Cesari on a Saturday night, by goodness weren’t wrong. We enjoyed the BEST STEAK EVER here, put it this way, a knife wasn’t necessary, a must go for anyone with an appetite.
After a spot of lunch with Alice from the tourist board, it seems that Bologna is currently going through a transitional period, so much so that some locals have said it’s getting too busy, and they want less tourists even if it means they suffer financially. This really goes to show just how organic Bologna is as an Italian city and means that you should visit sooner rather than later. We highly recommend buying the Bologna Welcome card, which grants access to the most popular attractions including the Asinelli tower, it’s available online from €25 and is a no-brainer if you want to make the most of your time here.