For those of you who like places that are “off-the-beaten-track” of mass tourism, Bologna is recommended stop to make to or from your transfers between Milan and Florence.
Bologna is still a city relatively tourist free, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t plenty to do and see in this lovely city. Most people who have stopped off here, have later raved about this charming city. Named “Felsina” by the Etruscans who founded the town in about 600BC, the name was later changed to Bononia by the Gauls. In fact, there are still some French overtones heard in the local dialect even today. Bologna has one of the highest standards of living in Italy.
One of the oldest universities in Europe exists here, founded in 1088 when thousands of students poured in to Bologna from all over Europe. It was during this period that the porticoes in the city were built in order to support extra lodgings built for the newcomers. Today Bologna has over 25 miles of arcades – covered walkways – all over the city, making Bologna the unique city that it is.
The historic center of Bologna revolves around two plazas – Piazza Maggiore and Piazza del Nettuno. These beautiful spaces are enclosed on all sides by medieval palaces and the huge San Petronio. This is the hub of daily life in Bologna, where the inhabitants come to worship, gossip and to shop. The lovely ochre colored medieval buildings become almost red at twilight earning the city the name of “Red Bologna”, but not just because of the coloring but also and mainly because of its political persuasions. In fact, Bologna has been considered a “left-wing” city since its important role in the resistance during the WWII.
The first city in to elect a communist council, the Bolognese have never been afraid to give their opinions on politics and other cultural things. In the year 2000, Bologna was named a “European City of Culture” in keeping with this magnificent place that really deserves its nickname “La Dotta” or “The Learned”.
Another tag name for Bologna is “La Grassa” or “The Fat” because of course everyone knows that cultural knowledge and an excellent appetite go hand in hand. You will see and taste firsthand the fantastic food here. There is so much more here than just the world famous spaghetti Bolognese. The handmade pasta is more than delicious and the wonderful sauces that accompany each pasta dish are really special. Make sure that you try some of the wonderfully robust local wines together with your food. You won’t be disappointed in Bologna.
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The proposed itineraries are only examples of possible tours. For different pick up / drop off locations or customized itineraries we invite our clients to contact one of our tour coordinators to help them design their own tour.