While I can’t be sure if Roscoe was referring to this city when he said “I be goin’ ham, shawty upgrade from bologna” in No Hands, this is what I do know: Bologna is a city known for its food, fast cars and university life. The walls are tinted in shades of red and burnt orange, the streets lined with tall archways. The smell of good food lingers everywhere and the streets are busy.
Bologna’s history seems to fill every space of the city, laid out in plain sight across the buildings. Art is very much alive in the city now too, with artists sketching on the stoned streets and musicians performing for a spare coin.
The city’s people are dynamic, making it a great place for people-watching. From young to old, eccentric to plain, the city seems to be home to a diverse group of people. Walking through the university streets, you’ll find vintage stores and cafes. The same is true in the nearby city centre, in one of the many piazza’s.
For me, two things were essential: food and shopping. I had the signature Tagliatelle alla Bolognese and headed to the market (Mercati della terra) for some shopping. There, you can find clothing and goods of all sorts. It’s a big market and I could have easily spent hours there!
Then there is the leaning tower (yes, Pisa isn’t the only one in Italy). A killer 500 (tiny) steps up on wooden stairs and €3 later, you’ll find yourself at the top with panoramic views of the city. Other things to do and see include museums and churches. Lookout for art exhibitions happening too!
The city of Bologna has a great website, offering maps and guides for touring, based on your preferences, along with audio guides. Find them here. *It’s best to visit on a Friday or Saturday when the market is on (at the Piazza dell’8 Agosto).