Bologna Layover Tips For Flight Attendants | WOC
Fusing haughty elegance with down-to-earth grit and one beautifully colonnaded medieval grid, Bologna is a city of two intriguing halves. One side is a hard-working, hi-tech city located in the super-rich Po valley where suave opera-goers waltz out of regal theatres and into some of the nation’s finest restaurants. The other is a Bolshie, politically edgy city that hosts the world’s oldest university and is famous for its graffiti-embellished piazzas filled with mildly inebriated students swapping Gothic fashion tips.
What to do in Bologna for 24h to 48h?
Places of Interest
Basilica di Santo Stefano
Bologna’s most unique religious site is this atmospheric labyrinth of interlocking ecclesiastical structures, whose architecture spans centuries of Bolognese history and incorporates Romanesque, Lombard and even ancient Roman elements.
Basilica di San Petronio
Bologna’s hulking Gothic basilica is Europe’s 6th largest church, measuring 132m by 66m by 47m. Inside, look out for the huge sundial that stretches 67.7m down the eastern aisle.
Museo della Storia di Bologna
Historical neophyte and walk out an A-grade honours student in Bologna’s golden past. Using a 3D film, a mock-up of an old Roman canal, and super-modern presentations of ancient relics, the innovative displays start in a futuristic open-plan lobby and progress through 35 chronologically themed rooms that make Bologna’s 2500-year history at once engaging and epic.
San Colombano – Collezione Tagliavini
An absolutely stunningly restored church with original frescoes and a medieval crypt rediscovered in 2007, the San Colombano hosts a wonderful collection of over 80 musical instruments amassed by the octogenarian organist, Luigi Tagliavini.
To the east of Piazza Maggiore, the grid of streets around Via Clavature (Street of Locksmiths) sits on what was once Roman Bologna. Known as the Quadrilatero, this compact district is a great place for a wander with its market stalls, happening cafes and lavishly stocked gourmet delis.
Basilica Santuario della Madonna di San Luca
About 3.5km southwest of the city centre, the hilltop Basilica Santuario della Madonna di San Luca occupies a powerful and appropriately celestial position overlooking the teeming red-hued city below.
Housed in Palazzo dell’Archiginnasio, the fascinating 17th-century Teatro Anatomico is where public body dissections were held under the sinister gaze of an Inquisition priest, ready to intervene if proceedings became too spiritually compromising.
Where to Eat?
At this Bologna institution truly worthy of the name, owners Daniele and Valeria lavish attention on every table between trips to the kitchen for plates of culatello di Zibello ham, tortellini in capon broth, Petroniana-style veal cutlets (breaded and fried, then topped with Parma ham and parmigiano reggiano and pan-sauteed in broth) and other Slow Food delights.
Tratorria di Via Serra
Book at least three weeks in advance at this seemingly unassuming trattoria in Bolognina, just a step outside the city centre.
Bologna’s best time: Parking yourself down with an Aperol spritz in hand among the cool kids and digital nomads at these formerly abandoned city greenhouses that have been transformed into an immensely cool and highly-recommended co-working space, vegetarian/vegan restaurant, bar and community gardens in the heart of Giardini Margherita, the city’s largest greenspace.
Drogheria della Rosa
With its wooden shelves and apothecary jars, it’s not difficult to picture this place as the pharmacy it once was. Nowadays it’s a charming, high-end trattoria, run by a congenial owner who gets round to every table to explain the day’s short, sweet menu of superbly prepared Bolognese classics, and often bestows roses upon guests at evening’s end.
Nightlife in Bologna !
Ditch the city centre and venture just outside the Viali (Bologna’s ring road) to a distinctly unremarkable apartment block where the city’s best craft beer bar and gastropub awaits.
Bologna’s best craft beer bar offers eight taps of local birra artigianale (including one hand-pump) and over 150 mostly Italian and Belgian choices by the bottle, which you can take at the small bar or one of the informal hardwood tables inside or out.
Osteria del Sole
The sign outside this ancient Quadrilatero dive bar tells you all you need to know – ‘vino’ (wine). Bring in your own food, and elbow past the cacophony of smashed students, mildly inebriated grandpas and the occasional Anglo tourist for a sloppily poured glass of chianti, Sangiovese or Lambrusco. It’s a spot-on formula that’s been working since 1465.
Where to Shop?
For those looking for a true made-to-measure Italian suit, an exquisite experience awaits at this fiercely artisanal tailor, where Leonardo and Gianluca will take you (and your suit) on a journey of old school craftsmanship that forges a creative bridge between classic Napolese tailoring and English sensibility.
The Galleria Cavour
Situated in the heart of the historic district, the galleria is easy to find. This is where many high end retailers have shops. You can buy designer goods at a discount, or just window shop. There are also many cafes and restaurants so you can relax and people watch.
The city has many traditional markets that have daily items that change. If you want to have a look at the ancient commerce side of the city, head for the Mercato di Mezzo. Street names translate into names like fishmonger, keymaker and leather seller. This is a great place to go to get fresh produce and some of the area’s highly respected wines.
Spa’s in Bologna!
The Terme Felsinee spa centre, called after the original name of the city, is located at the foot of hill dominated by the San Luca basilica, where the Reno river enters the city after passing through the Chiusa di Casalecchio lock. At the edge of the city, a perfect combination of nature and wellbeing.
Villaggio della Salute Più
The Villaggio della Salute Più spa centre is set in a majestic amphitheatre of rolling hills which bring a climate that’s rich in oxygen; it’s an ideal location for a stay that’s restorative for the health and wellbeing.
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