4 Reasons to Visit Bologna, Italy

Bologna is Italy’s best kept secret and a great off-the-beaten-path destination. I had the amazing opportunity to live in this city where I experienced its rich history, diverse culture, and amazing cuisine. It is a relatively small city best explored by foot since you’ll discover more than what you came for. In the span of 9 months living here, I’ve acquired an arsenal of must-see sites, experiences, and trattorias around the city, but here are my top 4 favorites:

Explore Piazza Maggiore

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photo by Gene Espinueva

​Piazza Maggiore is the main square located in Bologna’s bustling historic center. Around here you’ll find a copious amount of historic places to visit, restaurants to gorge tagliatelle al ragù in, and shopping streets where you can find local Italian products like mortadella and black classic Italian leather flats. During my stay, I spent majority of my time in this area exploring every nook and cranny. I highly recommend visiting the Teatro Anatomico in Palazzo d’Archiginassio, a historic anatomical theatre, where students once learned and observed dissections of cadavers during their Anatomy classes. If you are an avid shopper, stroll towards the west side of the square and you’ll find 4 parallel streets filled with shops. I personally love Antica Profumeria del Sacro Cuore, a stylish fragrance emporium dedicated to only selling fragrance and skincare from less mainstream brands.

Shop around Quadrilatero

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photo by Liane Pamuspusan

Walk towards east of Piazza Maggiore and you will stumble upon an area of cobblestone streets filled with food stalls, cafes, and stomach churning delicatessen shops. Named as the Quadrilatero, this area that dates back to Medieval times used to be a place of trade and commerce. Nowadays, it is a place where foodies go to taste and purchase Bologna’s local cuisine. Stop by Tamburini to ogle, shop, and eat a selection of Bologna’s specialties, like the tortellini and mortadella.  If you are like me, and you like to browse and take pictures, walk down Via Pescherie Vecchie and you’ll meet colorful stalls of fruits and vegetables.

Enjoy the local Bolognese cuisine

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photo by Liane Pamuspusan

It is an imperative task that one must go to Bologna and enjoy the local cuisine it offers. I enjoyed one too many trattorias during my stay here, but one of my favorites is Trattoria del RossoHere you can order typical Bolognese cuisine such as tagliatelle al ragù, and crescentine with cold cuts, including mortadella, and soft cheeses like stracchino and squaquerone. If you would like to enjoy a good old cup of gelato, head over to La Sorbetteria di Castiglione or Cremeria Funivia where you’ll find a variety of gelato flavors that will suit your taste buds. 

Hike up to San Luca

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photo by Liane Pamuspusan

Have an hour or two to spare and want to burn off all the food you ate? Walk or run through the 666 “portico” (arcades) to the top of San Luca. You will get an up close view of the Sanctuary of Madonna of San Luca church and also get a breathtaking view of the city below.

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