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Bologna in a day

Bologna is located in northern Italy and is the capital of the Emilia-Romagna region. It is known for its rich history, cultural heritage, and excellent cuisine, including the famous ragù sauce.

It is home to one of the oldest universities in the world, founded in 1088. The city’s architecture is also noteworthy, with many medieval towers and ancient buildings, such as the Two Towers and the Basilica of San Petronio.

Bologna is often referred to as “La Dotta, La Rossa e La Grassa” (the learned, the red, and the fat) due to its intellectual traditions, the red color of its buildings, and its reputation for delicious food.

Bologna has a rich history dating back over 2,500 years. The area was first settled by the Etruscans, followed by the Gauls, and then the Romans, who founded the city of Bononia in 189 BC.

During the Middle Ages, the city became an important center of learning and culture. The city also played a significant role in the development of the Italian Renaissance and was a center for art, literature, and music. Bologna was ruled by various noble families and was a major center of political and economic power in the region.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, the city became an important industrial center, known for its manufacturing of machinery, textiles, and food products. Today, it is a vibrant city with a rich cultural heritage and a thriving economy.

Bologna is home to many beautiful landmarks and historical sites. Some of the most notable ones include:

The Two Towers – These iconic medieval towers, Asinelli and Garisenda, are among the symbols of the city.

Piazza Maggiore – The main square of Bologna, surrounded by some of the most important buildings of the city, such as the Basilica of San Petronio and the Palazzo del Podestà.

Basilica of San Petronio – This impressive Gothic-style church is one of the largest in the world, and it features a unique mix of artistic styles.

Archiginnasio – A historic building that was the seat of the University of Bologna until the 19th century, it now houses a museum and library.

Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca – A beautiful church located on a hill outside the city, it is famous for its long portico of 666 arches.

Fontana di Nettuno – This beautiful fountain, featuring a statue of Neptune, is located in Piazza Nettuno, near Piazza Maggiore.

Santo Stefano complex – A group of seven interconnected churches and chapels, this complex is one of the most interesting and unusual sights in this incredible city.


Bologna is famous for its cuisine, and there are several traditional dishes that are a must-try when visiting the city. Here are some of the most popular ones:

Tagliatelle al ragù – A dish of flat ribbon pasta served with a meaty tomato-based sauce, typically made with beef, pork, and red wine.

Tortellini in brodo – Small, ring-shaped pasta stuffed with meat, cheese, or vegetables, typically served in a clear broth.

Lasagne alla Bolognese – Layers of wide pasta sheets, with a meaty ragù sauce, béchamel sauce, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

Mortadella – A type of cured meat made from pork, similar to bologna, and traditionally produced in Bologna.

Crescentine fritte – Small, fried dough pockets, typically served with cured meats, cheeses, and pickled vegetables.

Tigelle – Small, round breads, traditionally cooked on a terracotta griddle, and filled with cured meats, cheeses, or spread with lard.

Cotoletta alla Bolognese (Bolognese-style breaded cutlet) – A veal or pork cutlet, breaded and fried, and typically served with potatoes or vegetables.


Bologna has many secrets and hidden gems that are worth exploring. Here are some lesser-known things to see and do in the city:

Hidden canals – Bologna has a network of underground canals that were once used to transport goods around the city. Some of these canals can still be seen, such as the one beneath Via Piella.

Hidden art – Bologna is home to many hidden works of art, such as the frescoes in the Oratory of Santa Cecilia or the hidden sculpture in the courtyard of the Archiginnasio.

Gelato University – Yes, you read that right! Bologna is home to the world’s only gelato university, Carpigiani Gelato University, where you can take a course in the art of making Italian ice cream.

Hidden rooftops – Bologna has many hidden rooftops that offer stunning views of the city. Some of the best ones can be found in the Quadrilatero area.

Porticoes – Bologna is known for its covered porticoes, which stretch for over 40 kilometers throughout the city. Some of these porticoes lead to hidden courtyards or unusual architectural features.

Historic shops – Bologna has many historic shops and markets, such as the Mercato di Mezzo or the Tamburini deli, which have been selling traditional food products for centuries.

Jewish heritage – Bologna has a rich Jewish heritage, with a beautiful synagogue, Jewish cemetery, and kosher restaurants to discover.

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