From my visit to Italy earlier this year, I have to confess that Bologna was my favourite city in Italy. Most people usually visit the typical bigger tourist cities like Venice or Rome and smaller cities don’t get that much attention (which is not that bad actually). The good thing about traveling to smaller cities and places you’ve never been before is that you can’t get disappointed that much, but you will be much more surprised what this hidden gem has to offer!
- It’s not too busy
Bologna is a student city with 380k inhabitants. Its university is the oldest in Europe and you will see many young people around the city.
During my visit there weren’t too as many tourists as you find in other bigger cities like Rome or Milan. You can enjoy wandering around the city, go out for meals and go for shopping without the usual tourist crowds. The only downside about Bologna for not being a rather non tourist spot, is that you will need to speak Italian… some younger students might speak English, but staff in stores or restaurants rather speak Italian. But don’t be afraid to practice a bit Italian!
- The food
Bologna is famous for its food.
What I liked most was that there weren’t the typical tourist traps as other cities usually have. And don’t miss out on Italian coffee! After that experience the taste of coffee will never be the same again. What else can I say… eat as much as you can! I really wonder how Italians manage to stay in shape when they’re living in a foodie’s paradise.
- Getting around is easy
Bologna is easily accessible via airport or train. (If you arrive by plane, there is a bus which brings you to the train station, from there you can change to other buses or take a cab to the city centre). Once you are in the center, you can explore the city by foot – no transport needed! I would therefore recommend to choose an accommodation which is close to the city center, it makes exploring easier.
- Wandering in Bologna is just amazing, not only because there are not masses of tourists, but also because of the architecture. It’s historic centre is well preserved and has a lot of covered walkways (porticos) in the city, which means that even if it rains you don’t need an umbrella as long as you walk under the porticos. For a view over the city you can go up the Asinelli tower.
- Hidden secrets
Every places has the obvious landmarks, but if you are done with exploring the city, shopping, eating gelato or pasta – what more is there to do? Look for the 7 secrets of Bologna! Grab your friends and look for the things you might miss otherwise.