City of culture, dolce vita and good food, Bologna is full of surprises, easy to discover when taking the time to wander the narrow streets and stroll under the archways. The city will delight you with a particular art de vivre and fantastic cultural heritage.
Bologna has many nicknames: the Learned, the Fat, the Red…So many terms to describe this medieval city which is also capital of the Emilia-Romagna region and the seventh largest city in Italia.
La dotta (the learned one) welcomes about 100,000 students, predominantly Italian, French, Spanish and German, who make for a quarter of the entire population and sit every day on the benches of the oldest University in Europe. As centuries went by, the University of Bologna saw many prestigious names fill its ranks, like Petrarch, Erasmus and Copernicus. In more recent times, Umberto Eco taught semiotics in this centre of excellence, whose buildings are filled with history.
The city also knows how to throw a party. When the night falls, the narrow streets come alive and people gather to have coffee or drinks. At a street corner, or under an archway, little osterie become more numerous and you will want to try the traditional aperitivo: order a drink, and for a few euros more all-you-can-eat antipasti. Inhabitants of la Grassa (the fat one) give a place of honour to gastronomy and food. Restaurants serve tortellini, mortadella ham and of course many local specialities like the famous tagliatelle al ragù alla Bolognese.
Typically Italian, Bologna is a warm, dynamic and glimmering city. However, to enjoy calm and serenity, you will have to leave the city centre. For instance, you could revel in the beautiful vista from the top of the hill that leads to the Madonna di San Luca sanctuary. With its rooftops made of red tiles and ochre buildings, Bologna becomes la Rossa (the red one), a serene city that just unveils one of its many facets.
When to go
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© Text and photography courtesy of EnVols