STAY: The superb five star deluxe Grand Hotel Majestic Già Baglioni, is the oldest hotel in Bologna. Situated on the main street and within walking distance of most major landmarks it is by far the most prestigious place to stay in the city. Prices start from €266 for a Classic double room with breakfast. For something a little more unusual try the Il Convento Dei Fiori Di Seta, a chic four-star boutique hotel housed in a 14th-century convent. Religious-inspired frescoes sit alongside Mapplethorpe-style flower photos and modern light fixtures. Rooms start from €79 per night.
EAT: In Bologna the aperitivo is almost as important as lunch and dinner and the place to be seen is Café Zanarini on the Piazza Galvani. A calice (champagne glass) of prosecco or pignoletto is accompanied by a selection of carefully prepared and presented stuzzicati, the Italian equivalent of tapas. Then, to experience some of the best traditional cuisine in the city, head to AlPappagallo, a Bolognese institution with pictures on the wall of its many VIP and celebrity guests. Here you can enjoy a traditional tasting menu including tortellini in a capon broth and tagliatelle with Bolognese meat ragu, two of Bologna’s famous dishes.
SHOP: Food, books, clothes, shoes, art, antiques and particularly leather goods (including wallets and belts) are among the best souvenirs to be found in Bologna. The four main shopping streets lead off the central Piazza Maggiore in crossroad formation, all the big-name Italian designers can befound here, as well as a proliferation of antiques and bookshops. For a real taste of the city enjoy wondering through the narrow streets of the old city market, the Quadrilatero (4), where you will find stalls overflowing with local produce, from seasonal fruit and fresh fish to tortellini and mortadella, an Italian sausage that is the speciality of Bologna.
VISIT: The Fountain of Neptune (3), located in Piazza del Nettuno, next to Piazza Maggiore (5), is one of the symbols of the city and the work of the Flemish sculptor, Giambologna completed about 1567. While in the Piazza Nettuno, visit the Biblioteca Salaborsa. One of the favourite meeting places for the people of Bologna, it was once the location of the city’s economic centre, today it is a place of culture, with its rich, multi-media library. At the centre of the building is a covered square, with a glass floorthat provides a view of the original city. Here, you can enjoy a coffee, while admiring the art nouveau ceilings and seeing close up the archaeological remains on which the city stands today. The Archiginnasio of Bologna (2) in the Piazza Galvani, is one of the most important structuresin the city, once the main building of the University of Bologna, the oldest university in the western hemisphere founded in 1088. It is also home to theTeatro Anatomico (Anatomical Theatre), built in 1637 where anatomy lessons were once held, which is well-worth visiting.
Feature Becky Ambury
Photographs Gordon Sinclair, Ian G Dagnall, Photobliss/Alamy; Shutterstock.TweetRead more →