Thanks to Girasoli's ongoing series about great places to eat and drink in Bologna, http://www.slowtrav.com/blog/girasoli/I've now got a very good start on my restaurant list for the Bologna part of my June trip to Italy. Girasoli's excellent recommendations and photos are really getting me excited about my entire visit to the Emilia-Romagna region, which lies just to the north of Tuscany and is completely unknown territory for me.
But as you can see from the map showing numerous must-see spots in this fascinating city, I'm going to be very busy during my week in Bologna -- very busy and probably pretty fat. In fact, I believe that's one of Bologna's nicknames, "the fat one" (la grassa) in reference to its excellent cuisine. I should fit right in!
Indeed, over the centuries, Bologna has acquired a few other nicknames, according to Wikipedia: "the learned one" (la dotta) is a reference to its famous university, which is over 1,000 years old -- imagine that!; another is "the red one" (la rossa), which originally referred to the colour of the roofs in the historic centre. That nickname now is also connected with the city's leftist political leanings. (The map is from the commune's tourist site; photo from the New York Times)
For reasons that aren't clear, even to me, I've organized my trip in a kind of loop, beginning in Parma, about an hour west of Bologna. Here's my itinerary, after I land in Rome on June 5th:
Parma: 3 nights
Bologna: 7 nights (and I'll make a day trip to Ravenna from here)
Ferrara: 3 nights
Umbria: 5 nights
Rome: 1 night before flying out again.
Back to the Bologna map. The messy cluster at the centre hints at the remarkable number of interesting churches, museums, piazzas, towers that I will want to visit, larding these in between feedings at the many restaurants suggested by Girasoli. And if the sun is too strong, I'll be able to languish under Bologna's elegant and extensive system of arcades, or porticos, which apparently stretch over approximately 38 kilometers in the city centre alone (45 kilometers when you include the entire city proper.)
Now, in no special order, here are few spots that I really want to see in Bologna:
2.Museo Civico Archeologico
3.Museo d'arte Moderna di Bologna
3.The two Towers:Garisenda and Asinelli
4.The Portico of San Luca and the Santuario di San Luca
5.Museo Civico Medievale
7.Museo della Resistenza
8. San Pietro's Cathedral and museum
9. San Petronio's Basilica and museum
10. Museo di Santo Stefano and church
11. The University of Bologna