Chris and Sandra wanted an authentic Italian adventure, and chose the perfect spot for it: the northern city of Bologna.
It has cuisine, culture and – luckily for us – two visitors with an eye for detail, as we hand over to them…
The centre of Bologna, particularly Piazza Maggiore, is like walking onto the set of a historical film. It resembles its original 15th century layout, and yet the city has a young feel to it, mainly due to the number of university students.
Bologna is billed as the gastronomic capital of Italy and it didn't disappoint. The locals’ favourite, Osteria dell'Orsa, was a little rough and ready, but the food was excellent. And at 21€ for two people, you can’t go wrong. Just around the corner is Gessetto Ristorante, an accidental discovery that turned out to be a great spot with outstanding food, lovely wine and friendly service.
We made a trip to Museo della Storia di Bologna, a contemporary museum on the history of the city, which tells the story from pre-Roman times to present day in a way that’s accessible to everyone. Our next stop was to see a fascinating group of medieval churches, which can be found at Via Santo Stefano. Originally there were seven churches but now only four remain.
One of the best views of the city is from the top of Basilica di San Petronio, the church of the patron saint of Bologna and the fifth largest in the world. And of course there is the church on the hill overlooking Bologna, Basilica Santuario della Madonna di San Luca. It contains a portrait of the Madonna reputedly painted by St Luke and brought from Palestine, and is connected to the city walls by the world’s longest portico.
We stayed in the Royal Carlton, a ten-minute walk from Piazza Maggiore, in an extremely comfortable and spacious room – definitely at the top end of a 4 star hotel. Breakfast was the usual hotel buffet offering, very well done with attentive service. Not to mention, the hotel was five minutes walk from the city centre and we certainly made use of the central location by taking the train to Ravenna, Modena and Parma.
Ravenna, am 80-minute train trip away, is home to churches with outstanding 6th century mosaics in what can only be described as a delightful town. Even if looking around old churches isn’t your idea of fun, we think these would impress you!
Parma is fairly similar to Bologna, a university city with an outstanding pink marble Baptistery linked to the cathedral.
Modena, our closest adventure, as it’s only 30 minutes from Bologna, is a charming town with a beautiful 11th century cathedral.
We had a great week in Bologna! ,which certainly lives up to it's reputation for food!
Chris & Sandra