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!
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.
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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