Imagine Venice without the canals. The locals think Bologna is as beautiful as La Serenissima, and after a couple of hours here you’ll probably agree with them. The home of the oldest university in Europe, still filled with students, this medieval city has a 21st-century vitality all of its own.
Towers, terracotta rooftops and trattorias in this lively little city.
Things to do
The Bolognese love their motorcars. There’s an international motorshow held here every winter, and lots of museums showcasing Italian engineering at its finest. The Ducati Museum, the Lamborghini Museum and the Ferrari Museum all jostle for your attention.
You won’t have to venture far from your luxury hotel to see the two icons of Bologna. The 12th-century Torre degli Asinelli and Torre del Garisenda towers both lean and have many steps to climb. But each offers fabulous views of the surrounding city and countryside beyond.
Wander the city and buy hand-made pasta and local cheeses in the small shops as you go. Sample local delicacies in little restaurants, like wafer-thin mortadella studded with peppercorns, and bowls of hearty ragù. Bologna prides itself on outstanding local produce, and the fine dining is superb.
To get a taste of the student life in Bologna, walk over to Via Pratello. There are lots of lively bars and plenty of live music to enjoy.
Top tip from SLH