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Bologna City Breaks

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bologna holidays, italy

Explore Bologna

Situated inland almost midway between Venice (155km to the northeast) and Florence (117km to its southwest), Bologna is fondly referred to as La Grassa (Fat) due to its deliciously rich cuisine, La Rossa (Red) for ochre-coloured roofs and political leanings, and La Dotta (Learned) in celebration of the world's oldest university. Although lesser known than many Italian cities, Bologna rivals most for its culture and culinary excellence. The historic centre boasts impressive shaded porticoes lined with cafés and boutiques, a vast Gothic cathedral, lively piazzas and numerous churches and monuments. First settled by Etruscans and Celts, it has endured occupations by Romans, Visigoths, Huns, Goths and Lombards. And, once boasting more than 100 towers, just 20 remain of these medieval signs of wealth and power; of which the leaning Torre Garisenda and Asinelli are the best preserved. The city is a vibrant collection of history, concerts, clubs, events and exhibitions; perfect for a short break or combining with a few days on the coast.

Culturally-rich Centro Storico with its colonnaded porticoes is easy to explore on foot and Piazza Maggiore provides a good start point with its imposing, unfinished Basilica di San Petronio and 'Giant' 16th century Neptune Fountain. The university, dating back to 1088, covers an entire district; walking tours include the fascinating Teatro Anatomico where, in the 17th century, public dissections were carried out! The streets of Quadrilatero boast market stalls, trendy cafés, delis, and a mesmerising market. For art lovers there's Modern Art Museum of Bologna, MAMbo, and Pinoteca Nazionale for collections by Giotto, Raphael and Titian. Don't miss the Two Towers; built in 1109, 98m tall and leaning less than its twin, Torre Garisenda, Torre degli Asinelli has 498 steps; the views are definitely worth the climb. Of note, also, is Basilica di Santo Stefano, a wonderful mix of religious buildings spanning several centuries.

As a gastronomic capital, local cuisine relies on meat and cheese with cotoletta alla bolognese, breaded veal cutlets with ham and cheese, tortellini and capon broth, delicious mortadella, and famous ragù, amongst the specialities; ragù simmers for hours and is served with tagliatelle, never with spaghetti! There's Parmigiano Reggiano, prosciutto from Parma and balsamic vinegar from Modena; wines include Pignoletto, Lambrusco di Modena and Sangiovese di Romagna. Eatal y World With its vast agri-food farm and vineyard, FICO Eataly World, on the city's outskirts includes a massive farmers' market and more than 40 restaurants, trattorias and street stalls plus workshops and cookery courses.

Eataly World
With its vast agri-food farm and vineyard, FICO Eataly World, on the city's outskirts includes a massive farmers' market and more than 40 restaurants, trattorias and street stalls plus workshops and cookery courses.

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Featured Hotels

Grand Hotel Majestic Bologna

Grand Hotel Majestic gia' Baglioni

5 star

The most prestigious hotel in Bologna, Grand Hotel Majestic gia’ Baglioni has played host to many distinguished guest since its opening in 1912 and continues to provide exceptional service.

Al Cappello Rosso, view of restaurant

Phi Hotel Bologna, Al Cappello Rosso

4 star boutique

Occupying the premises of a former osteria (tavern) dating back to the 14th century, Al Cappello Rosso is centrally located a few steps from Piazza Maggiore in the heart of Bologna and is an ideal base for exploring the city’s many attractions.