Bologna is one of those ancient yet thriving Italian cities that make you feel happy that you visited here. From historically delicious cuisine and locally made specialties, to historic architecture and a gorgeous setting nestled amongst emerald hillsides dotted with, you guessed it, historic sights, it’s one delight after another. So whether your personal passion is food, culture, or a memorable walk to a breathtaking view – or all three, Bologna is guaranteed to satisfy every one of your senses.

In fact, it’s fair to say that once you’ve been here, you’ll make Bologna a regular stop on any trip to Central Italy.

A few of our perennial favorite attractions:

Foodies, Rejoice! And don’t forget to pack an appetite.

As one of the great gastronomic centers of the world, this is a city where every side street and neighborhood market offers divine locally made delicacies, from the original, pistachio studded Mortadella di Bologna sausage to a green lasagna with ragù and bechamel that you’ve only seen in magazines or on cooking shows. As your antipasto for a day of food tourism, may we suggest a leisurely stroll to the city’s unrivaled Quadrilatero market, followed by a tasting menu of some of the most prized foods and flavors associated with Italy’s quintessential culinary capital. They won’t be hard to find!

Chef Cristina Do try this at home.

Headquartered in Bologna, Chef Cristina specializes in sharing her love of “Italian Food for Foodies.” Her company Food Nest offers a multitude of memorable ways to encounter the traditions, skills, and subtleties of authentic Italian cuisine in cities across Italy. So whether it’s a guided tour through her favorite markets and artisanal food boutiques or a hands-on, deep dive into classic culinary techniques passed down through generations, Cristina will send you home with a unique and (almost) reproducible experience.

Chieso Santo Stefano – a welcoming retreat

A serenely beautiful and spiritual enclave in the heart of busy Bologna, this graceful complex of buildings is said to date back to the 5th century. Originally, it housed a temple dedicated to the goddess Isis. Today, as a functioning religious institution, its seven structures present a veritable compendium of Bolognese architectural history, illustrating styles from Romanesque to Gothic. In addition to the contemplative peace of the compound, you’ll discover a trove of artifacts, religious art, and an archeological exhibit featuring the ruins of several ancient structures, including the original temple of Isis.

L’Archiginnasio – art, science, and astounding architecture

In its first incarnation, this impressive building was commissioned by Cardinal Borromeo to house the University of Bologna. Built in 1562 -1563 by architect Antonio Morandi, a.k.a., “Il Terribilia”, in 1838, it was repurposed as the city’s Municipal Library, then in 1944, survived a massive bombing. With its sweeping staircases, grand dual lecture halls, (one for Artists, one for Legislators), and a rhythmically geometric courtyard, it would be dramatic enough. But, tucked away inside is an Anatomical Theatre built in 1637; and in that theatre are a pair of carved wooden figures by Ercole Lelli, with their skin peeled off to reveal their musculature. And yet somehow, they only augment the power of this unforgettable edifice.

Gelateria Cremeria Santo Stefano – your sweetest memory of Bologna

If you only spend one day in Bologna, or even half a day, find your way to this unique, adorable, and authentic gelateria. Famous for its fabulously imaginative assortment of exclusive house made flavors – eg., Wasabi, Ginger, and Pignoli nuts, among others, we can also state unequivocally that its versions of Italian classics are just that much more exceptional, thanks to the quality of ingredients and care that go into making them.

Italy travel expert dedicated to opening the real doors to my native country, so that you may have a truly authentic experience… and fall in love with Italy as your own. In every corner of my Italy, I’ve sought out the beauty and the pleasures of its landscapes, cities, villages and people. Many are famous or popular, but many others remain undiscovered or rarely experienced. I know them all well though, and I’m eager to share my knowledge with you.

Contact me for more information about booking a spectacular and affordable small group tour or designing an affordable custom tour of your dream trip to Italy.

With love and gratitude,
Giovanna Chiti

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