While Bologna, the Emilia-Romagna region's capital, is undoubtedly not as well-known as other Italian cities like Rome, Venice, or Florence, it is possibly one of the nation's most underappreciated cities. A huge and vibrant student population coexists with centuries-old architecture and culture in this city, and the blend of the old and new makes Bologna a captivating metropolis.
The three nicknames for Bologna, 'La Grassa,' 'La Rossa,' and 'La Dotta,' all properly describe the city: 'The Fat' for its opulent cuisine, 'The Red' for its historical left-wing leanings and 'The Learned' for being the site of Europe's first university.
Major attractions of Bologna, Italy are:
- Rich history and culture: Bologna is known for its rich history and culture, with many historical landmarks and monuments to explore, including the famous Two Towers and the Piazza Maggiore.
- Delicious food: Bologna is known as the culinary capital of Italy, offering a wide variety of delicious local dishes such as pasta, cured meats, and cheeses. The Quadrilatero is a neighborhood in the heart of the old town with winding cobblestone pathways lined with street sellers selling local fresh produce. The three-story building has served as Bologna's main hub for commercial and culinary traditions since the Middle Ages.
- Beautiful architecture: Bologna is home to some of the most beautiful medieval and Renaissance architecture in Italy, including the Basilica of San Petronio and the Palazzo del Podestà.
- Shopping: Bologna is a great place to shop for Italian fashion and souvenirs. On weekends see an antique market at the Piazza Santo Stefano, where there are also frequent concerts and other activities going on.
- Nightlife: it also offers a lively nightlife scene with many lounges, clubs, and restaurants to enjoy. Buskers seem to take the type - from anything and everything from rap to opera and from cellists to a drum kit. In addition to the Bologna Jazz Festival, which takes over the city for a month each autumn, the Cantina Bentivoglio is an all-encompassing restaurant/jazz club/enoteca, which is any jazz fan's paradise.
- University town: Bologna is home to the oldest university in the world, the prestigious University of Bologna. It has a rich history and a lively student population.
- Surrounding areas: Bologna is a great base for exploring the surrounding areas of Emilia-Romagna, including the picturesque towns of Modena and Ferrara.