A trip to Italy means visiting Rome, Venice, and the Tuscan region. But how about taking a day trip to Bologna? Now you must be wondering why Bologna. That’s exactly how I reacted when my friend included it in our itinerary, but I’m glad we took a stop. It was completely worth the visit, and I’ll tell you why:
Home to the oldest university in Europe
The Bologna University is Europe’s oldest centre of learning. It dates back to the 11th century and its notable alumni are Georgio Armani, Enzo Ferrari and Pico Mirandolla. People from all over the world come to study here.
Take a walk around the campus and feel like a student once again.
Bologna has the world’s largest covered walkway comprising of 666 arches which stretch for almost 40 kilometres. Under these arches, you’ll find shops, students lounging around, and once in a while a rare tourist stopping for photographs.
The portico of San Luca connects the town to the Sanctuary on the top of the Colle Della Guardia. On further inquiring we got to know that this portico was constructed to create more street space and craftsmen used the area to shield themselves from the weather while working.
Many people don’t know this, but Bologna with its colourful gastro bazaars, food tours, and restaurants, is the official food capital of Italy. You can have your pick from the multitude of eating joints scattered across the city, opt for a cooking class, or, simply wander around the Old Medieval food market. A word of caution, though: a lot of the traditional establishments have their menus in Italian only. If you are an English speaking native, make sure you carry a pocket dictionary with you, or download a translation app which will see you through.
Spaghetti Bolognaise, Ragu bolognaise and Bolognaise sausages – it all started here. Tortellini and Tagliatelle are also products of this region. With an abundance of food everywhere, the city is rightfully nicknamed La Grassa (the fat one).
Bologna is also regarded as the trade hub of Italy. The city is architecturally grand – where the modern meets the rich past. Before you leave make a quick stop at Gilberto’s chocolate shop. Over a hundred years old, it’s one of the oldest establishments in the city. Pick up some wine and chocolates to take back as gifts – perfect way to end the day.
-TS writer Tanya Anand