Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Top 10 Things To Do And See In Bologna, Italy.

Bologna, a place I like to call home. Having lived there for a year I really experienced life like a local, not a tourist. Bologna is probably one of the biggest Italian cities that is not affected by tourists. In fact it is quite rare to find tourists there. This is why I urge you to visit now before it turns touristic like Venice. If you're going to visit Bologna soon here are 10 things to see and do.

Piazza Maggiore






Piazza Maggiore is the main piazza/ square in Bologna. It's one of the main focal points to the city. It's where the "Sotto le Stelle" (Under the stars) open cinema is during the course of the whole summer. It's where you can relax with a small aperitivo and of course an Aperol Spritz and enjoy people watching. In the square there is San Petronio Basilica where people can enter, and even go on top of!

Fontana di Nettuno - Fountain of Neptune



Neptune's Fountain  is located on the side of Piazza Maggiore, right in front of the ancient public library (which has old Roman ruins beneath). Created by Giambologna (which was funnily the name of the street I lived when I was there) it is another main area of Bologna.

Portici (Porticoes)



Bologna is completely covered in porticoes, you can get around the most part of the city through these connecting porticoes without an umbrella. Something Ireland should really invest in. They are very characteristic to Bologna and some neighbouring small towns.

Le Due Torri - The Two Towers






Probably the most famous attraction in Bologna, the two towers (Le Due Torri). The taller tower (Torre degli Asinelli) is the only tower you are allowed to enter as the second one is a leaning tower. Fun fact: The leaning tower is actually more leaning than the Leaning Tower of Pisa. A great way to pump some adrenaline into your body is to climb the Asinelli Tower. The ancient wooden staircase inside will definitely challenge you but at only €3 per person and an amazing view of the whole of Bologna I believe it's worth it. If I can do it, anyone can do it (seriously).

Giardini Margherita



Bologna doesn't have a beach unfortunately. But if you want to relax one of the days, Giardini Margherita is the biggest park in Bologna. During the summer there are some games on for children, there are trampolines and you will find everyone playing in the grass or sunbathing. It's so nice to come out and relax. Don't worry it's full of bars and places to buy gelato too!

Piazza Santo Stefano e Le Sette Chiese (The Seven Churches)







Piazza Santo Stefano is my favourite square in the whole of Bologna. It's so peculiar and so different to any piazza I've seen in Italy. You can have your morning coffee or evening aperitivo in the bar on the square, warning it is fairly expensive but, on a warm evening it's so relaxing.

The church in the picture above looks like a normal church right? Wrong! There are actually seven churches inside. It's so beautiful and old inside, probably one of the oldest churches I've been in. Some parts of the church date back to the fourth century! In the middle there is a courtyard (pictured above). This courtyard is such a nice place to escape to on hectic days. It's so quite and tranquil that you don't want to leave!

San Luca





San Luca, if you look back to the picture I took from the Torre degli Asinelli of the whole of Bologna, look to the hills on the left of the photo and you'll actually see a small structure on top of one hill. See it? That is San Luca! On the way to San Luca there are (supposedly) 666 portici (porticoes) before you reach the Church of San Luca. This is in fact a pilgrimage that takes place once a year in Bologna. There are many stories and Theories but the most likely to be true is as follows: Saint Luke the Evangelist painted the Virgin Mary and to this day his painting is still kept in San Luca, every year they have a pilgrimage to bring the painting of the Virgin Mary down through the 666 porticoes to Saint Peter's Cathedral in the center of Bologna. The legend is, the 666 porticoes represents the Devil, who famously also takes the form of a serpent, which is the long winding walk way; and every year the Virgin Mary and the pilgrims trample the serpent.

Piccola Venezia - Little Venice



Bologna like Venice has it's own little canals. They are one of the many secrets of Bologna. There are more than one canal in Bologna but one of the most famous ones is this one: where the window opens to show it off.

Mercatini - Little Markets




If you travel down Via Pescherie Vecchie just off Piazza Maggiore you will enter the nicest, most traditional, and authentic street of Bologna. It is full of great restaurants (where you must eat either Tagliatelle al Rag├╣ or Tortellini) and small markets selling, fruit, veg, fish and other organic types of food.

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