Bologna is known for its authentic and historic atmosphere, different from other Italian cities. When exploring the city, it is essential not only to observe Bologna‘s main tourist attractions and monuments, but also to submerge oneself into the culture and actively experience what the charming city has to offer. In this Bologna Travel Guide, you will find the must-do activities that have to be undertaken by every traveller wishing to experience Italy like a local!
Firstly, taste the food – Italy is famous for its delicious cuisine, and Bologna’s local specialities are not an exception. Try pasta – tagliatelle, tortellini, lasagne, mortadella, and Bologna’s signature sauce – ragù, which in Bologna is eaten not with spaghetti, but with tagliatelle. Cheese, especially ParmigianoRegianno, is worth including in your daily life – it originates from Parma, a city about an hour drive from Bologna, and you can even take up a tour of one of cheese factories in the region!
It is also essential to explore local markets where you will find quality food for very affordable prices. There you can buy traditional balsamic vinegar, which can cost around €100 per bottle because of its incredibly long aging process – a minimum of 7 years is required, but some of the batches are left to sit for 15-45 years. In Quadrilatero, the medieval food shopping area, you can find all sorts of Bolognese and regional delicacies, and enjoy the charming view of outside stands and old Italian shops.
To exercise after all the delicious food, hike up to the top of the hill to reach the Basilica of San Luca. The gorgeous baroque church can be reached along a monumental roofed arcade – the longest portico in the world, a feature unique to Bologna. The walk allows you to observe the countryside, and the cathedral offers fabulous views of the surrounding area as it is located 300 metres above the city.
Finally, finish the day with an Italian tradition – aperitivo in one of the bars in the city centre. Order a Spritz, Prosecco or Lambrusco, and enjoy the complimentary snacks or even a full buffet that is a part of the evening. You can also choose to try gelato as Bologna has numerous authentic gelaterias that offer probably the best gelato in the world!