To visit Italy and taste the food there has always been a dream of mine. And me being located a few miles away made it the ideal weekend get away.
This time around, I visited Bologna since Florence and The Machine were playing a show there and it felt good to visit a remote part of Italy.
I landed in the Bologna airport, which might be the smallest airport in the world! I was relieved to see my friend, who is currently based in London, waiting for me at the terminal. It was my first time flying alone and it had gotten a bit lonely. We bought bus tickets from the airport and got to our rented flat.
View from our window of typical Bolognese buildings.
I made it sound like we instantly found our hotel room, but that would be a lie. It took around an hour, four people giving us directions and a call to the owner to get there. Basically, all the buildings look similar in Bologna and no signs were in place to show it was a rented room.
We went into the hotel room, unpacked some of our stuff and as I traditionally do whenever I’m travelling, I started nagging my friend to get into the shower so that we could leave. I don’t actually holiday when I am on holiday, I come back home tired but with a mind full of memories.
On the second and third we explored Bologna to the full!
We started the scond day off by going for breakfast just around the conrer. All bread filled with a variety of meats and cheeses in Bologna. I went for the classic Parma Ham. The restaurant offers free water too, even though Bolgona is perhaps the most budget friendly place I have visited so far.
We then headed for the fountain of Neptune, which was swarming with students in the afternoon. It is located in Piazza Nettuno, which is literally 2 steps away from the hub of Bologna so you can’t really miss it. It is also rumoured that the founders of Maserati were inspired by this statue when looking for their company logo, as the Maserati brothers lived in Bologna. Bologna is still very fond of it motor companies. Souvenirs of Maserati, Ducati and Ferrari are everywhere.
Piazza Di Nettuno
Then we moved onto the main square, Piazza Maggiore . We asked about a canal ride that we had researched on the internet at the tour centre. However, it was not being done any longer as the canal had become unsafe. Instead, we got maps of Bologna and decided on catching a hop-on, Hop-off bus instead. It was the ideal option considering we only had two days to explore the city.
The bus stops at around 15 different attractions. The first stop we got off at was next to a hospital funnily enough, but the view was impeccable. We later went down the road, and I had the most delicious ice-cream . The little coffee shop made around 3 flavours of ice-cream everyday, but the milk was fresh and the ice-cream was made daily. I obviously went for chocolate and was not disappointed.
View from Ospedale Rizzoli
We then got the bus back and stopped at Via Rizzoli, next to the two towers Bologna is famous for. Bologna used to be full of such towers, however over time only a few are left standing. These particular two were built very close to each other as two noble families were competing over who can build the highest tower. Unfortunately, one of the towers started leaning and so construction had to be stopped. However, the Asinelli tower still stands straight and proud and can be climbed at a small fee of 3 Euros. 498 steps later and you feel like you can rule the world from the top. The view is breathtaking, all of Bologna’s rust-coloured buildings can be seen and the weather made for perfect visibility too.
Sitting on top of Bologna’s Asinelli Tower
The friend that was travelling with me, being scared of heights didn’t quite enjoy the view so much, but she did enjoy the ice-cream we had when we went back down. Ice-cream is everywhere, in all flavours and mostly in large sizes to a point were you have to stuff it in your mouth or else you’ll end up feeding it to the floor, and this ice-cream was definitely not worth wasting.
That evening, and the next ,we dined at the Osteria dell’Orsa. It was our first choice as it was just down the road from where we were staying and it was highly recommended online. The first night we had bruschetta as a starter and a plate of Bolognese as a main. I am not usually a fan of pasta and I will never order it when I am out but I could not possibly have left Bologna without tasting the Bolognese. I also had a tiramisu for dessert. On the second night we went again (we had clearly enjoyed our first meal), had the same bruschetta but opted for meat instead.Everything was delicious, particularly the Bolognese. The fresh ingredients and the simplicity of the sauce recipe leaves your stomach feeling light , airy and ready for a drink. This is also a great place to eat at if you’re travelling on a budget. I can be quite difficult to get a seat especially if you are a big group as it is always very busy but we were lucky on both days being just the two of us.
Food from Osteria dell’Orsa
Later went next door,to The Jukebox Cafe for cocktails. The menu was infinite and can be a bit intimidating, with around 20 different options of Gin and Tonic, plus, guests can a choose their song on the juke box for free. We also saw a man who looked just like Ted Mosby from How I met your Mother in there. But I can’t guarantee he’s always there 🙂
On the last day, we rode a small wooden train that took us to the Basilica Di San Luca. This came at an added price to the standard bus tour but the train looked very cute and, why not, right?
The church can be hiked to , which I bet would be a wonderful exeperience but I was not feeling too well on the day so I was glad we were travelling in our tiny wooden train. The Basilica is breathtaking and the view more so. The church sits atop a hill some 300m over the city. The air is fresh , the serenity is impeccable and running fresh water is at the top.
Basilica di San Luca
The rest of the trip mainly consisted of shopping on Via Dell’Indipendenza, all kinds of Italian brands can be found there, there’s even a Disney store! We also briefly entered the San Petronio Basilica in the main square, went for another ice-cream and ate it whilst watching a musician play his guitar and singing Italian folk songs.
Portico arches which Bologna is full of and famous for
All in all, Bologna oozes with culture, hospitality and ice-cream!