Listen to our Bologna podcast and follow in the footsteps of Andrew and Emily from Along Dusty Roads with our guide to Bologna in Italy...
Bologna is located in north-east Italy and is the capital of the Emilia-Romagna region. Known as 'la dotta, la rossa e la grassa', (the educated, the red and the fat one) on account of its historic university, terracotta rooftops and phenomenal grub, you'll find Bologna is a city bursting with things to see, do - and eat.
The colour scheme: The first thing you'll notice when you arrive in Bologna is the warm terracotta tones of the cityscape. Most of the city's buildings date back to medieval times, when Bologna was one of Europe's leading centres of culture, thanks mainly to the city's university which was established in 1088.
San Petronia Basilica: The engineers behind San Petronia Basilica had ambitious plans in the 16th century to construct the biggest church in the world. When church officials in Rome caught wind of their designs, they (understandably) had other ideas which is why the church remains unfinished to this day.
The Fountain of Neptune: The city's emblematic statue of Neptune hides a pretty impressive secret - take a walk around the fountain to see for yourself.
The Asinelli Tower: Tackle 498 steps for rewarding birdseye views of Bologna's skyline. Affectionately referred to as 'medieval Manhattan', the city's mix of pre-Renaissance towers, modern buildings and rolling hills provide a spectacular backdrop for a selfie.
Osteria del Cappello is the perfect spot to grab lunch in Bologna. Headed up by Marco Franchini, this historic restaurant serves up local specialities made with ingredients selected with sustainability in mind. When it comes to drinks, you'll find an excellent selection of locally-produced wines and beers too.
Osteria del Capello, Via de' Fusari, 9, 40123 Bologna
L'Immagine Ritrovata is where movie magic happens in Bologna. The city's film laboratory is world-renowned for its digital restoration of classic movies. Old cinema reels arrive to the lab in their original tin cans and are operated on with surgical precision so that images and soundtracks can be converted into a digital format. Makeover complete, the classic films are screened outdoors at the Cinema Ritrovato Festival which takes place each summer under a blanket of stars on Bologna's Piazza Maggiore. P.S. The festival rolls out live orchestras to accompany silent movies. What could be more perfect?
Cinema Ritrovato Festival is an annual summer event in Bologna, usually taking place in June. For dates and further information see Il Cinema Ritrovato Festival.
Prepare your very own traditional pasta dishes in the cosy surroundings of a local's kitchen. Le Cesarine offers cookery courses where you learn from scratch how to make a starter dish, pasta dish and a dessert - and of course, sample the goods along with a great local wine. Not only is this a great way to learn a new recipe or two, but it's also a fantastic way to connect with locals.
Courses are available in Bologna (and across Italy) and can be booked online via Le Cesarine.
The Ducati Museum, (part of the Ducati headquarters), is dedicated to sharing the history of one of the world's most famous motorcycle companies. Alongside exhibits of Ducati race bikes including Paul Smart's Imola 750 and Mike Hailwood's Isle of Man NCR, you can also watch newly minted Ducatis being assembled in the factory.
Ducati was established in 1926 as a small manufacturing company specialising in radio parts and other electronics. In the years that followed World War II, the factory found its niche, becoming Italy's leading producer of cheap and reliable transportation. Today, Ducati is famous for its race bikes, seen regularly in the World Superbike and MotoGP championships.
The Ducati Museum is located on Via Antonio Cavalieri Ducati in the western part of Bologna, just a short bus ride from the city’s main train station. The museum is open daily, with closures during Christmas and Easter - check Ducati Museum for details.
Ducati Museum, Via Antonio Cavalieri Ducati, 3, 40132 Bologna
For the perfect, central location (and a roof terrace with a view-and-a-half of Bologna's terracotta skyline), look no further than the four-star, family-run Hotel Touring.
The hotel is set on a quiet side street, just a stone's throw from the San Domenico church, which features three statues by Michelangelo, and is just a 10 minute stroll from all of Bologna's other major sites.
Search Rooms for rates and availabilty.
Flights to Bologna
- Ryanair Staff