24 Hours in Bologna, Italy
My Journey in Northern Italy
Bologna is the capital of the Emilia-Romagna region in Northern Italy. In addition to having some of the best food in the country, it also holds the oldest university in Europe, has two impressive towers overlooking the city and has hidden canals plus so much more!
In June 2018, my family took a trip to Switzerland and Northern Italy through SitInMySeats Travel. Bologna was the last stop on our trip and during the time we were there I was so excited to meet up with my two good friends Ian and Nick. Ian is a good college friend of mine and I met Nick last year when I visited Ian in Sicily. We have been great friends since then! This was also the first time I have seen them both since my trip last year. Needless to say, we had such a blast together again in this great city!
Discover all you can do in this beautiful city within 24 hours.
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During our time in Italy, we took the train via Rail Europe to each of the different cities we visited. In addition to rail travel, you could also rent a car in Italy or fly to your prospective destinations.
Things to do in Bologna:
Climb the Torre Asinelli or Torre Prendiparte:
Torre Asinelli – Unfortunately, we did not make our way to the famous city of Pisa during our time in Northern Italy, so the Asinelli Tower in Bologna made up for that! In fact, the Asinelli Tower is much taller than the Leaning Tower of Pisa and offers spectacular views of Bologna. If you are looking to climb up this tower, it is recommended that you book your tickets in advance (especially if you’re only there for the day) because it is quite the popular attraction in the city and there are only a limited number of people allowed in the tower at once.
Torre Prendiparte – What was once a prison and defense tower is now one of the most unique landmarks in Italy. The 12th century Torre Prendiparte offers amazing views of Bologna from its terrace and also is a unique bed and breakfast for those visiting! (Isn’t that so cool?)
Visit Bologna’s Cathedral:
The Cattedrale Metropolitana di San Pietro is the primary cathedral of Bologna. Dating back to the late 16th century, this beautiful cathedral features stunning Baroque architecture and Romanesque details. It is definitely a must-see when visiting Bologna.
Discover the Hidden Canals:
Guess what? Venice is not the only place to see canals in Italy! If you wander throughout the city of Bologna, you might find some of the most quiet and beautiful canals. Many of these canals date back to the Middle Ages, but unlike Venice, most of them are closed off to the public.
Savor some of the Best Dishes in the Country:
Since our day in Bologna was the last full day we had in Italy, we definitely weren’t going to hold back when it came to eating! Yes, that is correct, Bologna is known for its food and the word diet was the last thing on our minds. Here are two amazing restaurants we ate at during our time in this magical city:
Trattoria Oberdan da Marino: Recommended from a Bolognese local was the amazing restaurant of Trattoria Oberdan da Marino! As I have mentioned in my previous blog posts on Italy, asking a local resident for food recommendations is the best way to find a great dining spot.
This wonderful trattoria offers typical Bolognese dishes such as prosciutto di Parma, pastas with Bolognese sauce, tortellini, lasagna and even vegetarian dishes! We all enjoyed a delicious platter of prosciutto with melon as well as tomato, mozzarella and basil salad with olive oil as an appetizer. For lunch, I savored tagliatelle pasta with porcini mushrooms in a cream sauce. It was delicious to say the least!
Trattoria Del Rosso: At night, we went to a great restaurant recommended by both Ian and Nick called Trattoria Del Rosso. The mission behind Trattoria Del Rosso is to provide local meals to visitors that are typically served in a Bolognese household. Their dishes range from house-made pastas, lasagna, tortellini and amazing desserts such as tiramisu. For dinner that night, I enjoyed pappardelle pasta with fresh pesto, tomatoes and pine nuts. It was, yet again, to die for!
Discover more amazing restaurants in Bologna with TripAdvisor.
Shop Your Heart Out:
Following behind Milan, Florence and Rome in the shopping world is Bologna. On a nice day, like the day we were in the city, head down the glam streets of Via dell’Indipendenza, Via Ugo Bassi, Via Rizzoli and Via D’Azeglio! You can find any store from big Italian name brands to boutiques and antique shops to bookstores in this city. To cool off while you shop, stop in one of Bologna’s wonderful gelato shops! Click here for a list of the best gelato spots in the city.
Grab an Apertivo in the Piazza Maggiore:
The main square in Bologna is one of a kind. Between the gorgeous architecture, historic cathedral, the amazing Neptune Fountain (pictured below) and everything else, there is so much to love about the Piazza Maggiore! In the middle of the afternoon, Nick, Ian and I stopped at a bar that was situated in the Piazza Maggiore and enjoyed a refreshing aperol spritz! It was the perfect way to relax, enjoy the atmosphere and people watch. In addition, the Piazza Maggiore will sometimes hold concerts as well. The day before we arrived, a famous Italian music artist performed there!
Feel Like Royalty:
Once again, SitInMySeats Travel set us up with another beautiful hotel called Hotel Corona d’Oro. This 4.5-star hotel is located in the heart of Bologna and offers 40 rooms that are all uniquely decorated in a classic Italian style, characterized by an elegant and enchanting atmosphere.
My brothers and I stayed in the Double Room Deluxe and it was seriously magical! Our ceilings were ornately painted; we had a balcony with amazing views of the two towers in the city and classical music played throughout the room (even in the bathroom, which was perfect when you took a shower)! Even though we stayed in amazing hotels in every city we visited during our time in Italy, the Hotel Corona d’Oro was definitely my favorite! It made it feel like I was staying in a royal palace. In addition, the hotel’s breakfast was also amazing!
*A BONUS: Rent a Ferrari or Lamborghini for the day!
If you are looking for the chance to drive your dream car, then right outside of Bologna is where you can feel like a superstar! Push Start Maranello in Maranello, Italy allows auto enthusiasts to rent high-end Italian cars from Ferrari to Lamborghini for the day and test drive them through the nearby mountain areas and towns. My friend Ian had the opportunity to experience a day at Push Start Maranello and had the time of his life!
Click here to discover everything else you could see or do in and around Bologna.
Overall, I had an amazing time in Bologna and definitely think it is a city that cannot be missed when traveling through Northern Italy. If you have any questions regarding my trip to Italy, please feel free to also send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, contact me via social media or leave a comment below.
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