Bologna was the third city in Italy that I’ve explored after arriving in this beautiful country. The first one was Verona and the second one is, of course, Trento where I am taking my university classes this semester. My Asian friends and I just wanted somewhere to travel to for a day and we figured, Bologna should definitely be our choice. According to my Italian roommate, it is just a small city that is quite near to Trento (meaning, accessible by train for us) that is just enough for a day tour. Of course, we trusted her. She comes from this country, in the first place, so she definitely knows better.
She was definitely right. One day is enough in Bologna for tourists unless you want to really know how the locals live or explore many museums, churches, and attractions. My friends and I, however, went there without any plans at all. We just booked our train tickets, woke up at 4 AM, went to the train station, and left without any concrete idea what we’re supposed to do there. It still was fun though. Sometimes, spontaneous moments are all we need to have the best days of our lives.Sometimes, spontaneous moments are all we need to have the best days of our lives. Click To Tweet
This post, then, encompasses what we did there for one day. I hope this can give you ideas if ever you’re planning to go in Bologna as well. Trust me, this city seems underrated for tourists but is definitely worth visiting.
Eat breakfast in one of the local cafes in Via Dell’Indipendenza
We hopped on our train so early in the morning (at 5 AM). When my friends and I arrived at the station after three hours of travel time, our stomachs were all screaming for food. That’s why we decided that our first stop in Bologna would be a place where we can eat our breakfast. Thankfully, we followed our guts and sat in the cafe that we all think were nice enough. Actually, this photo doesn’t give justice to the taste of this panini and cappuccino — and the aura of the place included!
Walk along Via dell’Indipendenza
I can say that this street was one of the most majestic streets I’ve ever laid my eyes unto. I must advice though that you should go here early – in our case, 8 AM, because I think it gets a little crowded already starting in the late morning to evening. This is also a great place to do shopping. You will find both local and international fashion brands and designer labels here such as Zara, Promod, etc. A lot of nice restaurants are situated here as well, though I suggest for you to try local osterias that aren’t touristy and that serve better food!
Stop by and take some moments of silence and prayer in Bologna Cathedral
In Italy, churches are something you won’t want to miss when you visit. The intricate structure and the fact that these churches were built so many years ago are just extraordinary. The feeling, for me, is also surreal whenever I’m inside churches. It’s like I’m enveloped with happiness and wonder inside. It’s such a peaceful and beautiful feeling – one reason why I will never get tired of visiting different churches here in Italy. It’s always like I’m home.
Climb up the Two Towers
I’m warning you beforehand: the climb is not a joke. It is really, really exhausting because of the fact that this tower raises up to 318 feet and you need to take 498 steps in the staircase inside. There’s no shortcut, by the way. There is no lift to help you so prepare your feet. Also, you need to pay 3 euros for the entrance fee.
Anyhow, when you get to the top, the view is absolutely stunning. The exhaustion you felt will immediately disappear. I, myself, got lost in its beauty as you can see the hills and the famous red rooftops of Bologna, which are made of clay. Just. Wow.
Get some gelato
Any trip to Italy is never complete without some gelato break. So we decided to get ours in the famous Venchi gelato store. Earl is obsessed with this store. I can’t blame him though. Their chocolates and gelato just hands-down taste like heaven.
Go to the Archiginnasio of Bologna which houses Teatro Anatomico
This was once the main building of the University of Bologna and inside, you can also go around the Anatomical Theater. The walls and ceilings are amazingly designed by Antonio Levanti in 1636. This is also a place I’d recommend for anyone visiting Bologna.
Visit the ancient library of the University of Bologna
This is seriously one of the places I truly loved in Bologna. As you all know, I love the smell of books and books per se. But when you’re surrounded by books that are centuries older than you — now that’s a different feeling. It’s just so amazing. I suggest going here with your audio guides or tour guides so you will know its history in depth. My friends and I didn’t get one though since we only have one day to tour around.
Wander around Piazza Maggiore
It was a busy day in Piazza Maggiore when we went there because there were lots of stalls and people going around. I think, there was a special event happening that day. Either way, the structures of the buildings and the square itself are definitely worth seeing.
Find a local restaurant for lunch
During our lunch, we paid for little more expensive meals in Osteria delle Donzelle. It was definitely worth it though. I’m not kidding when I say that one of my friends even had tears in his eyes after tasting this family-owned restaurant’s Lasagna alla Bolognese. I ordered the same meal and I can honestly say that it was perfect. Like, if there’s even a word better than “perfect” then I would use that. The English language is failing me right now to even describe how delicious that meal was. Also, try their house wine! Well, actually, everything they served – at least, everything we’d ordered – were THE best!
Walk along Zona Universitaria
Did you know that the University of Bologna is the oldest university in the world? Totally amazing, right? A walk along its streets is definitely a must!
Go to Santo Stefano Basilica
Fortunately, this area wasn’t that crowded when we went there. The structures here were wonderful. There was also a museum here offering free admission.
Search for the Finestra sul Canale
It’s not much compared to the water canals of Venice, of course, but it’s still something. My friends and I tried our best to find the epic window-like everyone’s raving about in the where-to-go-in-Bologna pages but we failed. At least, we still got to pass by this place!
Stop by and relax in the Park of Montagnola
Before we went back to the train station, we stopped by this beautiful park. I’m glad we did because besides the fact that we’re all tired of walking and we needed somewhere to sit, the scenery in this park is wonderful. It was a perfect place to end our Bologna tour.
After that, we headed to our train with happy and fulfilled hearts knowing that we’ve set foot in Bologna… even just for a day.
Thanks for reading, loves, and have a great day!
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