A Note From Greg: Sometimes I can spend 30 minutes going down the street in rush hour traffic. Imagine being able to get from Florence to Bologna, one of the most beautiful towns in the world, in that same 30 minutes? That’s what Aleix is going to talk about in this week’s guest post.

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Florence’s beauty is unquestionable, and spending a few days in the Tuscan capital is an unforgettable and amazing experience. However, another good thing about Florence is that it’s in a region that stands out for its beauty and fascinating tradition. Barely 30 minutes away from Florence by car or taxi is the beautiful town of Bologna.

Bologna
Bologna

If you ask any non-Italian to name you the most beautiful cities in Italy, the names of Rome, Venice and Florence will be the first to come up. And it’s no surprise either since Florence is quite simply incredible.

(photo by Destino)

It’s a lot smaller than Rome and a lot easier to get around, as well as having some of the most impressive monuments in the world as well as being, quite simply, astoundingly beautiful. However, there’s a town that’s only 30 minutes from Florence that isn’t as well-known amongst tourists although it’s quite popular with Italians, Bologna.

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Bologna is Just a Short Trip Away!

A short car or train trip will bring you to this small city that’s the capital of the Emilia-Romagna region. Many people, as soon as they hear the name, put two and two together and figure out that this is the home of bolognese sauce, although this is just one small attraction of this quite amazing place.

Bologna is known for being a university city. In fact, the University of Bologna is the oldest university in the world, founded in 1088. Therefore, Bologna is the home of tens of thousands of students, who make it a lively place to be without falling into the category of rowdy, since these students live here and are not in party-mode, as if to speak.

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Food, Glorious Food

Going back to cuisine, Bolognese cuisine (not the sauce) is famous around Italy and is widely considered amongst the best. It’s not all about pasta and pizza in Italy, since in Bologna, the meats and cheeses are exquisite, so it’s no surprise that bolognese sauce actually includes meat.

Parmigiano Reggiano
Parmigiano Reggiano

Any cheese that you try here, from the parmigiano (the city of Parma is only a few miles away) to the pecorino or the ricotta, will most probably be the best you ever eat, and the quality of cold meats and sausages is off the charts.

(cheese photograph courtesy of Wikipedia)

Worthy of a mention is the famous Modena vinegar, great to condiment your salads and food, which comes from its homonymous town, in between Parma and Bologna.

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The Only City More Beautiful is Venice

The city itself, according to Italians, is only beaten in beauty by Venice, which is quite a statement since Venice is quite probably the most beautiful city in the world. A characteristic of Bologna is that most of its buildings bear the colours of red, orange and yellow, which make it quite spectacular if you get a panoramic view of the city.

The main symbols of Bologna are the two 12th century towers, the

Torre degli Asinelli and the Torre dei Garisenda
Torre degli Asinelli and the Torre dei Garisenda

, standing at 330ft and 160ft respectively, with the latter having an inclination of about 10ft. Also, there are many museums in the city that range from art to history and also many different piazzas to visit, most notably Piazza Maggiore.

(Tower photo by Trivago)

When in Bologna, make sure you buy local food, since the quality here is absolutely unbelievable, whether it’s fresh pasta, meats or cheeses. And while we’re on the subject of food, this is the ideal place to take a cooking class, so make sure you check out the Culinary Institute of Bologna.

Also, a visit to the Palazzo Comunale to see its Renaissance frescos cannot go amiss. In terms of nightlife, with this being a student city, there are many places you can choose to go to in the student area, around Via Zamboni. As they say, all good things come in small packages and this could not be more true about Bologna.

It would be a shame to miss out on a day trip to Bologna while you’re staying in vacation apartments in Florence. Once you’ve seen the whole city, why not treat yourself to a day without phone calls visiting this beautiful little city and enjoying its architecture, atmosphere and, above all, it’s amazing food.

About the Author: Aleix Gwilliam is a 24 year old from Barcelona who looks English but thinks like a Catalan. He enjoys travelling, especially on old Czech trains, and trying to start conversations in Hungarian with people at Pecs station, even though his Hungarian is as good as his Bulgarian, in other words, not very good. He’s a trier.

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