There is always something new to discover in a country like Italy — even for Italians. Thanks to a special person, I had the chance to visit Bologna and fell in love with it at once. Emilia Romagna’s main urban center is one of the most beautiful and ancient cities in the country, and a treasure trove of artistic riches. And that’s not all: Bologna’s food is delicious, there are a lot of secrets to discover and plenty of other things to do. Of course, there are also numerous sights to visit, but since the weekend only lasts a few hours, we picked the best ones according to G&I Custom Luxury Travel.
Book your trip with G&I Custom Luxury Travel, we are here with a list of activities for you!
Ristorantino Il Tinello (Via Dè Giudei, 1c)
You can’t be thinking of leaving town without trying tortellini, right? In this little place, just a few steps away from the Due Torri, the two towers that are a landmark of the city, you will eat the best tortellini in brodo (tortellini in a broth) in town. The place isn’t very touristy, but still, it is very small so we really recommend that you book. And if you really don’t like tortellini, don’t worry: tagliatelle al ragu — also known as bolognese to foreigners — are the wonderful fallback option here.
Trattoria Del Rosso (Via Augusto Righi, 30)
In case you hadn’t realized yet, we really are giving you insider tips today. This is a trattoria that is part of the city’s history and a point of reference for locals. Their fresh pasta is rigorously handmade by the women working here. From pappardelle to lasagne, everything has the genuine taste of bygone times. I tried their spezzatino di manzo (beef stew)… And I still remember its delicious taste!
Vasinikò (Via Santo Stefano, 40)
Trust us: the best pizza in town is here… And their primi are great, too. This is a rather new place that opened recently, and it is managed by a bunch of young, friendly guys from Naples. It is big and has a lot of tables, and to honor the restaurant’s name, which means basil in the Neapolitan dialect, basil green is everywhere in the decor. We couldn’t help suggesting a pizza place: this is Italy after all!
WHAT TO SEE
Basilica di San Petronio (Piazza Galvani, 5)
This church is the biggest in town and one of the largest in Italy, too. Its unusual facade will already entice you and make you want to explore the church — which is great! Inside, on top of lots of famous paintings and a statue by Michelangelo, there is a work of art that will leave you awestruck: the famous painting that shows Prophet Mohammed in hell — an artistic masterpiece that has caused lots of controversy over the years.
Torre degli Asinelli (Piazza di Porta Ravegnana)
Looking for the best view in town? Then you should head to the top of this tower, the most famous symbol of Bologna. Don’t worry about the fact that it is leaning, it is solid enough to hold your weight while you make your way up the 498 stairs. Take a deep breath, climb up and get ready for a beautiful view.
Finestrella di Via Piella (Window of via Piella)
Guys, this is a true gem, one of those secret tips we love to discover and share with you. At first sight, this alley will look pretty boring — but you will discover very soon why locals love it. The window of Via Piella facing the Moline Canal, that winds through the buildings of the city, is a very unusual site, and absolutely deserves a visit. It looks like a corner of Venice in another location. Canals were very important for the city in medieval times, and some of them were used as waterways. The Moline Canal, specifically, was used to produce the energy necessary to power the 15 water mills of the town — as the name says, since “Moline” means “mill” in Italian.
Complesso delle Sette Chiese (Via Santo Stefano)
This might be a bit of an obvious tip, but this cluster of seven churches in one complex is a must-visit, especially since you can access it for free. You will visit beautiful medieval courtyards, crypts and cathedrals — it’s hard to explain. Just go see for yourself, it’s wonderful and moving.
Everyone knows Bologna is the city where you can stroll underneath arched colonnades: these arches are in the city center, they’re in the outskirts and even on the way to San Luca sanctuary: and this specific sanctuary is a special one, because the way up to it is the longest colonnade in the world! It’s a wonderful way to get a break from the heat in summertime, and in winter, it’s very nice for a little hike. Start training, so it will be easier for you to walk up under the colonnade — the walk is 4km long. San Luca Sanctuary and a beautiful view on the city will be awaiting you on top.
Mercato della Piazzola (Piazza dell Otto Agosto)
Last but not least, a shopping tip for those who will be here at the weekend, this place couldn’t be missing from our list and it is one of the biggest markets of the region — only open on Friday and Saturday. People from faraway areas of Italy come look for all sorts of stuff in the 400 stalls of this market, whose products range from regular clothing to vintage clothes, or flower-print shoes. The good thing is, you can find all sorts of stuff here starting from just 2 euro!
You’re not really thinking that Italy is all about seas, sunshine and summer holidays, right? I am mostly talking to you, readers from abroad: did you know that Italy is actually a widely recognized ski destination, thanks to its two beautiful mountain chains, the Alps and the Apennines? Curiosity to explore these mountains is growing every year, as does the wish to learn to ski or go snowboard for many people. Over the last few years, skiing spots have also been invaded by visitors who can’t really ski, but who still want to breathe pure mountain air, and get a break from polluted city air. Snow is fun for everyone, after all, no matter if you’re a child or a grown-up, you will love it. We chose 6 spots in the Bel Paese, and we are introducing them here, from North to Central Italy. So, grab your gloves, your scarf and your sunscreen: we hereby declare, Winter has officially started!
Madonna di Campiglio
Fall is here, temperatures have dropped, and here we are, reaching for our books again! But it’s not time to lock yourself up at home, yet: the last days of sunshine are still making us want to go out and enjoy the beauty of Milan. Our solution to the cooler temperatures is, why not go have a coffee while surrounded by books, in one of the (luckily) numerous bookstore-cafes in town? Here are 5 cafes we particularly love. You pick which one you want to test first 🙂
(Corso di Porta Ticinese 40)
This brand-new bookshops hasn’t even been open for a year, and it is just a few steps from popular spot Colonne di San Lorenzo. It has two floors: downstairs is the bar, while upstairs you will find a few tables to study and work, with open wi-fi. You will be surrounded by a selection of books from independent publishing houses, as well as a few bestsellers.
(Viale Monte Nero 6)
This place’s tag line is, more than books — and we find that is an excellent starting point, don’t you agree?? Large wooden tables and colorful chairs are awaiting you in this wonderful location near Porta Romana. You can have more than just coffee or a hot beverage when it gets cold: you can also stop by for breakfast, lunch or happy hour, which is always a good way to be pleasantly surprised by their several new ideas of food and beverage. Our tip: go for aperitif and order a Spritz: you will be offered 8 different options, including an organic one with pomegranate! Furthermore, from 7pm on, it is also happy hour for books, with a 15% discount on every purchase!
Libreria del Mondo Offeso
(Piazza San Simpliciano 7)
Originally a small independent bookshop, it shed its skin and embraced modernity by changing location, moving to one of the most character-filled squares of the city center, and opening a small bar. Trust us: just walking past will make you want to go inside, and spend the whole day reading! Breakfast, with bread and jam, and aperitif, with a glass of wine are the best moments to enjoy this space, which has a bit of Parisian flair to it.
Gogol & Company
( Via Savona 101)
A vintage touch and an unexpected calm atmosphere make this one of our favorite spots in town. Some people go there to discover new books and new publishers — this bookshop is very intent upon promoting new writers — and some just go to impress someone on their first date. Try a dish from their menu, or maybe a cold pressed juice. You’ll see: reading has never been this pleasant.
(Via Sant’Agnese 12)
A guarantee, both for readers looking for new books, and curious foodies. This place is perfect for lunch, thanks to the menu that ranges from panini to cakes: enjoy both, surrounded by a selection of books that includes classics from the past, as well as modern classics that it will be your pleasure to discover.
Set in a 65 hectare park, in Tuscany, you find the Sammezzano Castle .
Already from the outside you can see that it is a very special place, once inside you can not help but say ” wow “.
Absolutely charming interiors and incredible story of the man who built it: Ferdinando Ximenes d’Aragona , (Florence 03/10/1813 – Sammezzano October 18, 1897), architect, engineer, botanist, a scholar of the East, the protagonist “forgotten” of years of Florence Capital.
The Park and the Castle are also the story of a great character, Ferdinando Ximenes d’Aragona, who has devoted a lifetime to realize their dream of the East: “Non Plus Ultra”
The castle opens very few times during the year but it is a must visit as it is one of the most important examples of orientalist architecture in Italy.
The construction work of the park and the castle were carried out between 1843 and 1889, so much of the life of that Ferdinand was devoted to this titanic.
The Sammezzano castle is one of the most important examples of orientalist architecture in Italy.
And if you will walk in the rooms you’ll understand that it is absolutely the case.
Every detail is designed and unique. Yes, only one.
Because each room is different from the others make you travel step by step in distant places, from China to Arabia to Spain.
This place will hit you, you can not remain indifferent. Its history and its colors will remain in the eye for a long, long time.0 Read More
Bologna is known to be beautiful, enjoying, we eat well.
But Bologna is also much more, it told in pictures and words.
A city is like a person: has a character. If a city has an outgoing and friendly character like Bologna you can even come to think that this image describes it perfectly. You may think that in fact there is no other, and that what has to show and offer the visitor Bologna: the art of living, the beautiful streets, the smiling people, the elegant shops and the opulence of cuisines via Orefici or Old Fish.
Then there is the cultural Bologna: library, university, political circles and civil debate. It also addresses the Film Library for the restoration and conservation of historical films, not just film.
The oldest film in the world was patented in 1888 by Hannibal Goodwin. George Eastman stole the idea and put it into production.
The films may be old, very old things. so they may have been projected so often as to be torn in several places. Not to mention the loss of quality that have suffered with the passage of time and copy after copy. Each copy of a film is always a bit ‘less similar to the original: the gap of difference is the quality that is lost every time the copying.
The oldest film in the world was patented in 1888 by Hannibal Goodwin. George Eastman stole the idea and put it into production.
The Film Archive collects and preserves in analog and digital form thousands of historical films but also operates as an institution of preservation of a heritage of images that belongs to the whole world. In his library Renzo Renzi fact preserves more than a million historical photos of Bologna, Pasolini manuscripts, sketches of Charlie Chaplin and countless original poster of the Italian and world cinema masterpieces.
When a film enters the Cineteca restoration cycle is first analyzed, then repaired, replenished the missing parts and then digitized. From then on his recovery it becomes a matter of binary codes and patience, painstaking, slow, patience.
Acquired digitization, it is made safe a copy last unchanging original: each copy you print from now on will be exactly the same as the digital all”originale does not suffer any loss of quality.
Scanning a film collects any information held, including dust and scratches. The signs of aging and degradation. The work of the restorers is to report back in time the material they have in their hands: it is as if they were clean, scrape, remove the coating deposited by the years and use up to the instant in which the film was printed. To do so they must know how the film was produced: that with cameras, on what medium, what the state, as has been preserved, which has been developed with acids. This set of information allows them to take back the path that will lead them to the origin of that translucent tape, at the time zero, the first frame.
This is why the work of the restorer is almost philological: must know in fact the most common techniques of shooting at the time it was produced the film on which it works, the tools with which it was obtained, even what was the prevailing taste at the time: that type of color change and contrast was fashionable, which details you wanted to make it obvious that the director subtleties adopted.
Each frame is analyzed, cleaned, balanced, compared with the original, compared to other similar time, calibrated. And so for thousands and thousands of frames, using dedicated software and above all patience with an external eye seems pure alienation.
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One of the many reasons why travelling in Italy is so wonderful is that all 20 regions offer their own unique culinary delights. The list is long but bellow we have the Top 5 for you!
Literally translated as ‘white pizza’, this foccacia style pizza bread can be found in all bakeries in Rome. Be sure to head to one of our recommended favorites for pizza bianca that is light, fluffy, crispy and salty!
From baccala (salt cod) to fiori di zucca (zucchini flowers), to seafood in Rome fried foods reign supreme. You hear fried and you’re thinking of your heart immediately, but a little every now and then won’t kill you and when they taste oh so good, so just give in….remember you’re on holiday!
When Italians think of food in Rome without question the first thing that comes to mind is carbonara; it’s painful to imagine life without it.
Pizza in Rome has nothing to do with the kind you find in Naples just 2 hours down the road. In Rome, pizza is thin- really thin. There is no lip to the crust and if it’s done well it has a nice “char” to it.
Buon appetito!0 Read More
Marina Sarli is an Italian NGO veteran who found her Ithaca in Athens. She is this week’s featured Out-of-Towner, offering us personalized views, insider experiences and know-how of Greek life.
Marina Sarli. Although I was born and raised in a city in the mountains, my parents decided to give me a name that means ‘’she, who came from the sea.’’
That’s a regular cause for laughter among my friends, since nobody seems to understand what I do. I will give it a try, though. I am doing a job I really like. I work for NGOs as a consultant, project writer, manager and trainer. I am very active in Greece with the two associations I’ve founded, Fair Trade Hellas and theGreek Bank of Memories. Because of my job, I basically live on a plane, from Athens to Italy, to other EU countries and mainly to Brussels, where I work with policy and advocacy for sustainable development.
I’m always late, but not for the serious stuff, so 18 years ago I didn’t miss the appointment with my husband and 6 years ago with my daughter, who came to make my life more chaotic but richer.
Where on earth I am from
I am from Potenza, a small town in the south of the unique country that is Italy. Although in the south, Potenza does not share the usual Mediterranean weather. Potenza has the second highest altitude in Italy, so I grew up surrounded by mountains and snow. Nowadays, I say that I am generally from Italy, since my family has moved to Modena, while my friends and work keep me often around Tuscany and in wonderful Rome.
Rate your homeland vs Greece
The incredible beauty of the Italian towns versus the incredible beauty of the Greek sea. I do not agree so much with that “una faccia, una razza” (one face, one race) phrase implying that Greeks and Italians are the same. For example, one evident difference between Italians and Greeks is that the former have a goofy approach to life, while the later a complaining one. The good thing is that they are both good at taking initiative in order to survive in the best way possible.
I came to Greece because…
I fell in love with a Greek man. And then I fell in love with Greece. I am still with the same Greek man I met 19 years ago, and I am still in love with the country that I encountered 14 years ago.
I’ve fallen in love with…
The color of the sky – this blue is so exclusively Greek. The weather of Athens and the fact that, 360 days a year, I know I’ll have sun around me. The way details of the city can surprise me, from Pittaki street in the district of Psyrri, to the aroma issuing from some hidden corner in the chaotic center of Athens. The food, the people and how genuine they are, the substance against form, the heterogeneity of the people. Sometimes I go to Italy and I feel that we are all like clones, dressing the same and following the same model. Greece, on the other hand, leaves room for one’s personality to develop. It’s as if there’s some sort of existential anarchy that makes even the most decadent corners of contemporary Athens seem beautiful – as if the decadence was an aesthetic choice.
I get mad because…
1) Of bureaucracy. I could tell of the thousand times that made me think ‘’Enough! I am packing and leaving! I am going back home NOW.’’ But then I exit the public building, I see the light of the Greek blue and I never pack. 2) Greek spelling: simply OH MY GOD!
If I knew then what I know now…
I would not have underestimated how quickly you can gain weight with the best chef / Greek mother-in-law near you.
Greece in the palm of my hand…
Pebbles from the beaches and the sea I love.
MY FAVORITE PLACE TO:
“MANI MANI” restaurant in Koukaki / Acropolis
watch the sun set:
party all night:
I’m not a party animal, but Gazarte
At the second Kourvoulia beach in Ithaca. My summer starts there.
Ropa Lavada or any other non-mainstream shop
watch the world go by:
On the stairs of Odeon of Herodes Atticus, with the Parthenon right above me and the people walking in the pedestrian area in front of me.
If not on my sofa, then the National Gardens in Athens
connect with Greek culture:
In any taxi cab
The one and only Ithaca, even though I have my shelter in Italy too.
feel like a local:
In Varvakeios Agora (Athens’ central Market place)
Blown your budget on designer threads and flash meals in Milan? Don’t sweat, this fantastic city has plenty of fab free attractions that won’t put a dent in your wallet!
Dedicated to the patron saint of Milan, Sant’Ambrogio is one of the oldest churches in the city and one of the finest examples of Romanesque architecture in Italy. It’s perfectly preserved thanks to numerous restorations, and its historical significance is second only to the Duomo cathedral. Exhibitions and other events occasionally take place in the atrium. Free guided tours are available every Saturday—for bookings, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The districts of Navigli and Porta Ticinese have been important places for trade and commerce since the Middle Ages because of the canals and waterways that run through them. Today, this area is the heart of Milan’s nightlife, with streets full of lively bars and restaurants. It’s a great place for a relaxing waterside stroll and people watching.
The MACAO art project began in 2012 with the “occupation” of an empty skyscraper in downtown Milan. After various adventures (including being evicted from the skyscraper by police), its founders relocated to an old slaughterhouse in the city’s eastern suburbs to continue promoting underground culture and political participation. Now, MACAO has become a permanent meeting place for art-loving locals and visitors.
Located between the beautiful Arco della Pace (“Arch of Peace”) and Castello Sforzesco (“Sforza Castle”), Parco Sempione is a charming place to spend a relaxing day. It has a peaceful atmosphere (rare for central Milan), making it one of the most-loved parks in the city. If you’re a fan of basketball, exciting matches take place between local youths at the little court near the amphitheater.
The Natural History Museum is one of the oldest public cultural institutions in Milan. It was officially opened in 1844 on the site of an old convent, and the collections were moved to the Museum’s current location in the Porta Venezia public gardens at the beginning of the 19th century. It regularly hosts exhibitions and other events of great international importance, however its appeal is linked to its permanent palaeontology, mineralogy, zoology, botany, and entomology exhibitions. There is free admission on the first Sunday of every month.
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Often times, heading off the tourist track will bring pleasant surprises – such as the five towns featured below. Small yet packed with interesting art and architecture, uncrowded, each with their own distinctive personality, these towns should definitely be added to your Italian travel list.
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