Postcards from Bologna
Bologna is the historic capital of the Emilia-Romagna region, in northern Italy. Those that aren’t in the know, often overlook this impressive and architectural laden city, opting for Rome, Florence and other Italian destinations. With a plethora of piazzas, medieval structures and references to the Renaissance, this is one place that should most definitely be on your list. It is well-known among literary, history and art fans thanks to the art scene. The world's oldest university resides in Bologna, as does the Torre degli Asinelli (the two most prominent medieval towers in Bologna), Basilica di San Petronio (one of the world’s largest churches) and Basilica Santuario di San Luca. Thanks to such impressive and well-conserved monuments and churches it’s no surprise that the historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Believe it or not, the intermix of cultures, class and politics indicates that this city once served as the cultural crossroads of Italy.
Art and history lovers can divulge in over fifty museums and art galleries in the medieval marvel. There is a strong literary side of Bologna with a variety of independent bookshops and incredible libraries. Dante, Boccacio, and Petrarca studied here. Porticoes, piazzas and palazzos are emblematic, making Bologna a picture perfect place to visit. Casa Isolani in Strada Maggiore is one of the eight wooden porticoes in tact currently, whilst the quadriportico is the largest one in the city. As far as squares go, centrally located Piazzo Maggiore is the most majestic with many flocking to simply have a drink, people watch on a sunny day or admire Basilica di San Petronio, Palazzo dei Notai, Palazzo d'Accursio and Palazzo del Podestà.
Food is at the essence of this lovely city, it is, after all, referred to as “La Grassa” (The Fat – that rich cuisine). Whilst walking around you'll find it difficult to not pop into deli stores, bakeries and charming cafés with terraces. But don't be mistaken, as some of the best bites in Bologna are at "no frills" bars and restaurants. They do more than deliver. Family run establishments prepare classic dishes such as tagliatelle al ragù, leading them to attract long queues an hour ahead of opening time. This is the case at Osteria dell’Orsa, which is ridiculously affordable, delicious and relatively quick when it comes to service. There are of course an array of places to eat at, which is why we recommend embarking on a food tour. Curious Appetite provides extensive tours in the city perfectly pairing culinary experiences with culture. If you fancy making pasta, popping in delis to sample local cheeses and wines and more, be sure to view her Bologna offerings.