Bologna, Italy

Bologna, Italy

Bologna in Northern Italy is also known as the city of “red”, “fat”, and “learned”. It is characterised by its many red buildings, well-loved for its food (think Spaghetti Bolognese), and is also home to the oldest university in the western world that is still in operation today!

We stayed at Beauty Case, a one-bedroom fully furnished apartment, in a fantastic location - we could get to city centre on foot in a matter of minutes.

Beauty Case Bedroom

We spent 2.5 days exploring the streets of Bologna. Pause when a boutique or a building interests you, cool the heat with many unique gelato flavours, and savour traditional Bolognese dishes at affordable prices. Bologna is a much more walkable city compared to Milan in the summer because of its porticos (sheltered corridors). 

While we had a structured itinerary, we soon realized there was no need for one in Bologna. Sure, the big brand stores and key landmarks are concentrated in two areas - Quadrilatero and Piazza Maggiore, but the city continued to surprise us even when we strayed from the “main areas”. There are great cafes, restaurants, boutiques, and interesting architecture on every street. We discovered something new each time we took a different path.


Basilico di San Petronio

There are of course several must see places in Bologna. Basilico di San Petronio is one of them. The church is located in the main plaza of Bologna i.e. Piazza Maggiore, you will not miss it. It's most distinct feature is it's upper half brick and lower half marble facade. 


The Two Towers: Garisenda and Asinelli 

These two towers are the landmarks of Bologna and located in the heart of the city. You could climb 498 steps up the taller tower, Asinelli, to get a bird's eye view of the city but we decided to give it a miss. Circling it on ground was good enough for us. 


University of Bologna

Established in 1088, University of Bologna is the oldest university in Western society. It is free to enter and to explore its many interesting exhibits - centuries old teaching materials that were used to impart knowledge on human anatomy, astrology, battle etc.


Le Sfogline

The best experience we had in Bologna has got to be the pasta making class with Monica at Le Sfogline. Le Sfogline sells fresh handmade pasta in the mornings and in the afternoons, conducts lessons for those who are keen to learn traditional pasta making. Monica has a wicked sense of humour and jumps at every opportunity to share about her city, it’s history and culture. We got to make different types of pasta from scratch - from mixing and kneading the dough to wrapping tortellini. No doubt a delightful afternoon for us albeit pasta making by hand is a laborious affair.


Tortellini, Tortelloni & Tagliatelle with Bolognese Ragout

When in Bologna, you have got to order tortellini and tortelloni (the bigger version of tortellini) from the restaurant menu. Tortellinis are these tiny dumplings containing meat and cheese filling that can only be wrapped by hand individually. I barely made enough tortellini for a meal in the afternoon we spent with Monica for our pasta making class, it made me appreciate it so much more. Tortellini is hard to come by when you are not in Bologna!

Since Bolognese are big on making their pastas by hand, spaghetti (its cylindrical body can only be achieved with a machine) is not actually widely available in Bologna. Instead, you will find tagliatelle, which can be cut by hand with a knife, served with ragout.

We had a satisfying, inexpensive, and homely pasta meal at Sfoglia Rina.


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