Having been on Erasmus near Bologna, I visited this gorgeous Italian city multiple times. I’m honestly in love with the city, so I figured it deserved its own blog post.
Honestly, I have absolutely no idea where to start. I had never been in Bologna before, all I knew about it was that this Italian city is home to the oldest European university and a anatomical theatre in which they used to disect the bodies of criminals (pretty unappetizing, right?), but I had always pictured it as this stereotypical romantic Italian city with gorgeous buildings and loads of restaurants, enthusiastic and charming Italians, fashionable women and a lot of students that are more distracted by living in this wonderful city than actually studying. Oh and gelato, big part of the picture-perfect fantasy of Bologna as well.
And boy, did it live up to my expectations! I loved every single aspect of the city.
My favourite strategy to discover a new city? Just walk and see where you end up. And that’s exactly what I did with Bologna. I think it’s the best way to stumble upon (sometimes quite literaly) the prettiest, cutest or most surprising little corners and streets. Bologna is one of those cities that is simply ideal for this: no way you’ll get lost. If I manage to not lose my way in a city, neither will you.
I didn’t lose my way in the Bologna streets but I could have easily lost my way amongst all the people. The city itself is not that big, but it can be extremely busy at times – which makes it all the more charming if you ask me. Okay, let’s get into some pictures of my favourite spots.
If you walk from the central station to Piazza Maggiore and then take a stroll in the city centre around the basilic, you come across all these places: Piazza XX Settembre with the Porta Galliera, then you take the Via dell’Indipendenza and you’ll see Parco della Montagnola on your left (take the stairs! And come back at night, the stairs have this magical look when the streetlights are on). Walk, walk, walk and in the meantime, maybe do some shopping. You’ll pass the Cattedrale Metropolitana di San Pietro (St Peter’s Cathedral) and end up at Piazza del Nettuno, with the renovated Fontana del Nettuno. Right behind this square lies Piazza Maggiore. Splendid at daytime, mesmerizing at night. And from there, I suggest you just walk around in circles around the square. And go see everything that captures your attention. That’s been my way of going about new cities for a few years now and it never dissapoints.
Top tip: at night the city comes alive. Street artists, painters, dance groups, … The vibes of Bologna at night are awesome.
Food-wise, Bologna is pretty big on meat and fresh pasta (read: with eggs). However, vegan options are plenty! My fave? Papparè. It’s a bit on the expensive side, but their coffee, pie and dishes in general are so worth it. Also: very instagrammable interior and lattes, friendly service and super clean (and pretty cool) bathrooms – just saying ;). They serve non-vegan options too. On the left pic: a squash soup which came with a side of roasted veggies, on the right pic: buddha bowls.
Via de’ Giudei 2
Talking about that gelato: my new ice cream obsession is hazelnut flavour. Oh boy, what a delight! Certainly when paired with the dark chocolate one. My fave in Bologna? Il Giardino di Greta (Greta’s Garden in English). I have no pretty pics of the gelato, but I promise it’s worth it. They also do juices and soups in the winter. Very convient for all my fellow bath bomb fans: right across the street, there’s a Lush shop.
Via Massimo D’Azeglio 1/D
And last but not least: a fancy vegan restaurant with raw options, Botanica Lab. It’s on the pricy side, but so so worth it. If you’re looking for a chique dinner, this is the place to go! They serve raw cheesecakes and chocolate truffles for dessert, flavoured water – different every day-, and their menu changes quite often. The waiters are so friendly and although the lighting isn’t very picture-friendly, their interior is #goals.
Via Battibecco 4/c
Ever visited Bologna? Plan on doing so? Hit me up!
If you try one of the restaurants mentioned above, let me know what you think! I love talking about food (if you hadn’t noticed).
With all my love,