Bologna holidays will transport you to one of Northern Italy’s most vibrant, exciting cities. Nestled in the foodie region of Emilia-Romagna, Bologna is the home of Italy's favourite pasta creation – tagliatelle al ragù alla Bolognese – and is often referred to as the country’s culinary centre.
But Bologna isn’t just renowned for its outstanding cuisine. From its medieval palaces to its bustling markets, this location boasts an endless list of delights. Wander through the central square and witness impressive architecture or visit one of the city’s 50 museums displaying works by historical figures such as Mozart and Michelangelo. However you spend your time, holidays to Bologna promise spectacular views, great culture and exquisite food.
Bologna is steeped in rich history, making it a treasure trove of impressive architecture. One of the city’s famous historical sites is Palazzo d'Accursio, a complex of buildings home to the Bologna city council since 1336.
This fascinating site features a mix of architectural styles, but much of its current appearance is owed to its 15th and 16th-century makeovers. Inside, you can climb up the weaving staircase and visit the succession of chapels. On the second floor is the palazzo's Collezioni Comunali d'Arte, showcasing a wonderful collection of 13th- to 19th-century sculptures and paintings.
Bologna is also home to Università di Bologna, one of the oldest universities of the Western world. The university’s history spans nine centuries, dating back to 1088. It has been the place of study of many illustrious students and professors, including Laura Bassi and Ulisse Aldrovandi.
Bologna is a foodie’s haven. Considered the gastronomic heart of Italy, the city is overflowing with superb restaurants and unique products that make dining here a real treat.
Bologna is of course famous for its tagliatelle al ragù alla Bolognese – ragù served over tagliatelle pasta. Stroll into just about any pasta osteria (restaurant) in the city and you’ll be able to sample this tasty dish. Some of Bologna’s most-loved eateries include Da Cesari, Il Posto and Ristorante San Pietro, serving authentic Italian fare.
Holidays in Bologna offer the chance to indulge in some of Italy’s finest cuisine. Another of Bologna’s popular foods is mortadella – emulsified sausage. This is commonly served as an appetiser but is also often presented on a charcuterie board with other meats, bread and cheeses.
Bologna’s Quadrilatero – a collection of interconnecting lanes – is dotted with tiny stalls where you can try this meat for yourself. The Quadrilatero is an excellent place to shop for some of the city’s best fresh food. Many of the stalls also have small restaurants located at the back – a great spot for some light lunch.
Architecture and City
During the Middle Ages, Bologna went through a period of rapid development and prosperity, paving the way for it to become the dynamic and forward-thinking place it is today.
Bologna’s magnificent towers are just one example of medieval architecture that remains to this day. The city was home to over 100 defensive towers throughout the Middle Ages, giving it the nickname of la turrita, meaning city of many towers. Its most famous are Torre Prendiparte and Torre dell’Arengo, which were used to bring people to the piazza (square) to hear important announcements. Many structures situated around the piazza also date back to the Middle Ages, including Palazzo del Podestà and Palazzo Re Enzo.
Bologna’s porticoes (a porch that is held up with grand columns) are another important reminder of the city’s medieval past. Their construction began in the 11th and 12th centuries because the city’s university was continuing to expand. The porticoes are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and are located throughout the city centre.