Posted September 7, 2010 by BookingBuddy
If you’re inclined to follow the road less travelled, then head to Bologna the next time you’re considering an Italian break. Unlike other Italian cities such as Rome and Venice, Bologna hardly ever features on the tourist itinerary. This northern city has some of the best-preserved medieval architecture in Europe, with the red hues of the buildings earning it the nickname La Rossa (The Red). Some of the most striking examples of medieval buildings are the Towers of Bologna. Several towers can be seen throughout the city, but the most famous ones are the Two Towers – Asinelli and Garisenda. The gridded layout of the streets – first laid out in the Roman era – make the city a dream to navigate. Piazza Maggiore is surrounded by some magnificent buildings, including the Palazzo dei Banchi, Palazzo dei Notai, and San Petronio Basilica. Spaghetti Bolognese appears in a slightly different guise here – you’ll find it in many restaurants under the heading ‘ragu’, served with tagliatelle instead of spaghetti.
Il Convento dei Fiori di Seta Hotel – Revisit Bologna’s past with a stay in this former convent, built in the 14th century. The hotel’s rather long and unusual name alludes to its past as a convent where the nuns produced silk for artificial flowers. These days, the 10 rooms have been modernised to a high standard, and feature plump pillows, colourful paintings and headboards, as well as TVs and internet access. Guests can start their day off with a hearty buffet breakfast in the dining area. The hotel also has a well-stocked shop selling biscuits, sweets, cured meats and other regional delicacies. Room rates start from about £120, with breakfast included in the price.
Drogheria della Rosa – Housed in a former pharmacy, this cramped, homely looking trattoria seems to be a favourite with both locals and visitors. Its chef, Emanuele Addone, is known for both his friendly, over-the-top personality, as well as his skills in the kitchen. The menu consists of traditional Italian comfort food, made with quality ingredients. Start with some antipasti – creamy soft buffalo mozzarella, Parma ham and mortadella. Then go for some tagliatelle, heaped with thick ragu sauce, or tortellini stuffed with cheese.
Sanctuario della Beata Vergine di San Luca – The pastel pink bulk of the Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca stands on a hill overlooking the centre of Bologna. The traditional way of getting to the Sanctuary was to walk through the Portico di San Luca, a monumental covered walkway shaded by 666 arches. This 3.5 kilometre walk is still done by many pilgrims and visitors. However, a road leads up to the summit these days, so you can also make it easier on your legs by taking a bus to the top. The journey up here is worth is for the views over Bologna, and the inside of the basilica. The interior is filled with a fabulous collection of religious paintings and relics, the most famous of which is a gilt-covered representation of the Virgin Mary.
Check here for Bologna travel information.