Bologna is another one of my favourite in Italy, after Rome and Florence it is one of my favourite city in the country. Bologna is the capital and the largest city of Emilia-Romagna region. Known for being a hotspot and the starting ground of gastronomic findings of Italian cuisine, you would also find typical brick terracotta-roofed architecture and porticos, theatre and nightlife. For those who are interested, Bologna is also home to the oldest university in the western world. It is a popular place for students since, it is kind of a balance between a town and a city. It is a city, but not as huge or as expensive like Rome or Milan. The quality of life here is definitely one of the highest in the country. I would say this. If you want to enjoy life, this is the place to be.
Bologna is the last city of my tour in Europe. I can’t believe how fast two months have gone by. While my money is well spend, I am so sad that the adventures are coming to an end. There are two things that you will notice in Bologna. The porticos that are one of the most well preserved in Europe. These covered walkways are attractive and can be found all over the city. The other being the brick kind of buildings that are attractive. Its architecture is noted for its palette of terracotta reds, burnt oranges, and warm yellows. Luckily, somehow, I managed to have a little nice peak over the city from my budget room.
Couchsurfing is something very endearing to me and one of the greatest gem that I have encountered during my travels. I have had so many great experience and made so many friends during my adventures. Some of them are like family to me. It is kind of a risk but can be so fun when you found a host that click with you. One of them Eleonora whom I have met when she was in Singapore a while back. Coincidentally she shared on her plan to study in Bologna later on. I was much looking forward to meeting her when I was coming Bologna. We met on the first night that I was there seeing that that is the only time we have in common.
It is sure nice to meet her after so long. Seeing that both of us are not to famished, we went to a local bar that is one of the most happening on in town. This bar is a little special since they employed people with disabilities, I think that it is really nice since these people can also make a living for themself and they like us, can have fun also. I had a perfect mojito while we catch up on each other lives.
Of course, having a friend in town means I GET TO HAVE A FREE TOUR AROUND THE CITY. And a photographer of course! While the weather was kind of great during the week that I was here, in this season, the sun sets pretty fast. So it was kind of dark and hard to take pictures. The weather was kind of weird, since the previous week it actually snowed and then now the sun is back out. Eleonora showed me some of the favourite spot in town and then parts of the university as well. We had a pretty good time before saying goodbye to each other. Hopefully I will see you soon again Eleonora!
Unlike much cities in Europe, what you should do in Bologna is to undertake “food travelling” It is a laid back lifestyle that you should be after. Have a fresh cup of cappuccino at an espresso bar, a gelato in the afternoon and of course some cold cuts and bread with wine together with friends. That is how a day should be spend in Bologna. If you are walking around the city, you can also enjoy the various street performance around the city.
Some of the sights in Bologna that you have to see definitely have to be the Twin Towers. The two names of the tower are Torre degli Asinelli (Tower of the Asinelli) and Torre dei Garisenda (Tower of the Garisenda). They are considered the landmark of the city and can be seen far away. Definitely, they are also the highest structure in the city. Both of them are built in the 12th century. For an after lunch exercise and the greatest view of the city, climb up the Torre degli Asinelli! The higher of the two. It cost 3 Euros and surely is a must do in Bologna.
The view is perfect at the top and the air is refreshing as well. This is probably helped by the fact that it is also one of the hardest climb that I ever did in the whole trip. There are around 500 steep and narrow steps to the top and I made the huge mistake of lugging up my shopping bag as well. Phew. Check out the view and also the inner part of the tower.
Another famous meeting place in town is also the main square in Bologna, Piazza Maggiore. It is located in the centre of the city surrounded by many shops and important buildings such as the Basilica of San Petronio, the City Hall Building, the portico dei Banchi and the Palazzo del Podestà.
Here comes the food part of Bologna. An area that I really love in the city is the alleys near the Piazza Maggiore. It is between the Piazza Maggiore and the twin towers. Here you can find numerous tiny boutiques and food stalls. Most of them being food and market vendors. Deli are the most common. Here you can buy local food, such as hand-made pastas and gorgeous cheeses. Everything look so nice and fresh. One of the popular stalls here to grab salami and other food products is A.F. Tamburini.
You can even find handmade pasta all over the town. I was even caught engrossed in one the stalls where I could see the chef making them by scratch in the stall.
The next morning, I spend most of the time doing some last minute shopping since this is one of my last city. After that I took a walk through some of the streets and alleys in the city to admire the porticos.
I believe that it will be rather tough to find something that is not nice in Bologna. Given that this is the culinary city of Italy. One of the place that I will recommend for lunch is the Trattoria Del Rosso. They are famous for serving traditional Italian cuisine. They served up a very affordable set lunch that is only 10 euros. It comes with a basic cream base pasta and then for the main, it is a traditional pork stew that I love a lot. Bread and water is also included in the set lunch. Surely it is one of the cheapest place in town.
Instead of choosing to dine out at a restaurant for a usual dinner. I will recommend you to go for a Aperitivo instead at one of the many numerous bars or stalls that I have shared earlier on. The whole street was so crowded, I believe it is located on Via Pescherie Vecchie. In fact there are many there, just find something that you believe the ambience is good. Trust me the whole place is filled with people trying to find a table.
I settled on one of the bar that look very good. Usually Aperitivo refers to before dinner drinks and usually comes with some snacks. It is kind of like Tapas in Spain. However now, both Tapas and Aperitivo is more commonly being used as a replacement for dinner. Aperitivo is more common in northern Italy, especially in places like Bologna or Florence. Most of it goes by the basis through ordering a drink. It is like a party. You will order and pay for a drink, then you can help yourself to the buffet. It cost me 8 Euros. i had an Aperol Spritz, which was perfect.
The buffet was pretty comprehensive. There are bites. breads, pizza, a couple of salads and even hot offering. It was pretty filling actually. Check out the pictures. This is so much better than the usual dinner!
This pretty sums up my time in Bologna. A city that I love a lot. While I doubt that I will make any special plans to be back soon since I pretty cover up the place. Who knows. Definitely, the food will be the main reason that I will be back.