Bologna is the biggest city and the capital of the Emilia-Romagna Region in Northern Italy. This beautiful city is typically known by three nicknames – La Grassa (The Fat: a description of its rich gastronomy), La Rossa (The Red: for its traditional left-wing politics and crimson red buildings), and La Dotta (The Learned: for being home to Europe’s oldest university).
While this city is not as famous as other Italian cities, you will indeed fall in love with this underrated city once you visit Bologna. First things first – to properly explore this magnificent city, it is best to rent a car. There are many car rental companies in Bologna like Avis and Hertz, and you can compare car rental plans from all these companies on various websites like for example AutoItaly. Or you can also decide to ask your hotel to do a car rental comparison for you and have a cheap car rental waiting for you there.
Here are the top 5 reasons to visit Bologna this year
1. The magnificent Basilicas
The most magnificent attraction of Bologna is its many beautiful basilicas. The most prominent of these is the Basilica di San Petronio, which dominates the vast Piazza Maggiore. Park your car rental somewhere near Piazza Maggiore to check out this huge basilica.
The city is also home to the imposing Santuario Della Madonna di San Luca, which is perched atop a hill located ten kilometers southwest of the city center. The San Luca Basilica is the perfect place to get a majestic view of all of Bologna.
2. The local Piazze (Public Square)
Italy is famous for its cafe culture. In Bologna, the cafe culture is located around the local piazza or the public square. Bologna has many charming piazze, all of which are popular hangout places for tourists, students, and locals who come here to enjoy a cup of coffee, have their lunch or hang out with their friends. The best place to see is the imposing Piazza Maggiore, which is the central square of the city. You should also drive your rental car to the Piazza Santo Stefano, which hosts an antique market on the weekends.
3. A stellar variety of museums
Despite being a smaller city, there are many unique museums in Bologna. Check out the MAMbo if you are into contemporary art and the Cineteca di Bologna to learn all about the history of Italian filmmaking here. Similarly, there are many other interestingly themed museums across the city.
4. The Two Towers
The Piazza di Porta Ravegnana is one of the must-visit places in Bologna, where rising out of the ground is the city’s iconic Two Towers. The taller tower is known as the Asinelli, while the shorter one is called the Garisenda. These 900-year-old towers are synonymous with Bologna today. If you can climb the 498 steps to the top of the Asinelli tower, you will get to see one of the most spectacular views of the city.
5. Italy’s gastronomical capital
Bologna is known for its cuisine. You can find many exquisite dishes almost anywhere in the city. The Emilia-Romagna region is home to parma ham, parmesan, and balsamic vinegar, and the very famous lasagne alla bolognese is the most famous dish that originates from Bologna itself. So head over to any restaurant to try out some of the finest dishes you have ever tasted.