Tourists typically travel to bustling cities and lavish getaway destinations that are well-known, but that may be a mistake. You can have a great time in Miami, New York City, Milan, or Cancun, but you will also encounter crowds of tourists with the same idea. International travel continues to rise, and travelers from North America are visiting Europe more and more.
Rome or Naples may be the first cities to cross your mind when you think of Italy, but it’s in Bologna where you will find the best food, views, and quiet streets. Bologna, Italy is best known for the namesake Bolognese pasta, but that only scratches the surface of this underrated city. The ancient architecture in Bologna is mesmerizing and makes you feel like you’ve stepped back in time.
While Bologna has always been known for its unparalleled cuisine, interest in the Italian city has grown in the last few years. Bologna’s recent appearance on “Stanley Tucci: Searching For Italy” only served to generate tourism interest. It’s easy to get caught up in the culinary merits that draw many to Bologna, but it’s the scenery that will keep you engrossed.
Historical sites Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca and Portico del Pavaglione exemplify the city’s architecture. It won’t take you long to notice the beautiful porticoes, or porches, that are prevalent throughout Bologna. You will see them throughout the city, and these beautiful buildings date to the Middle Ages.
The Two Towers, Asinelli and Garisenda, are among the most iconic architectural feats in Bologna. Luckily, you can see many of these historical buildings and dip into a restaurant without relying on taxi cabs and public transportation. Bologna has a simple and practical infrastructure that lends itself to walking as much as possible.
Not only does this help you save money, but it lets you experience Bologna as it should be: naturally. It’s also an affordable city to visit, and a three-day trip costs roughly $300 on average. Conversely, a three-day trip to Rome typically costs over $800 per person.
Restaurants like Bottega Pappagallo, Trattoria da Me, and Noi at Mercato delle Erbe are among the best local restaurants. You can stroll through food markets to soak in the culture, meet locals, and buy fresh food. However, FICO Eataly World is undoubtedly the best food destination in Bologna as it spans 20 acres and has every local dish you could want.
It’s worthwhile to visit anytime throughout the year, but summer is the best time to go to Bologna. The consistent lows in the 60s and highs in the mid-80s make it easy to comfortably walk the old cobblestone streets. While you have to navigate more tourists during the summer, the weather is much more comfortable than the cold winters comparable to the east coast of the United States.
Currently, Bologna sees an average of 1.5 million tourists each year. That may seem like a lot, but it pales in comparison to the over 10 million people per year that visit Rome. Now that Bologna has gotten more consistent, mainstream exposure, there’s a strong chance that it will become synonymous with tourism in Italy, and the numbers will rise.
That’s why now is the best time to visit Bologna and see the iconic towers, enjoy unparalleled cuisine, and find out what the hype is about. You can also easily make a day trip to Bologna from other iconic Italian destinations, like Milan and Florence. Whether you spend a week in Bologna or visit the city as a small part of your Italian adventure, it’s a destination you won’t soon forget.