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I can see that I'm going to be busy in Bologna!



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:

1.Pinacoteca Nazionale
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
6.Museo Ebraico
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

Comments (15)


I like your itinerary,may have to bookmark it.

So how long will you be there to do all of this? A month?

After writing about Bologna, I am starting to think that maybe that is the place I should return to this summer IF I go to Italy this summer. Love your list of things to do. I was disappointed the day I tried to go to a couple of museums when I found out they were all closed.


Sounds incredible! La grassa sure does sound like an apt nickname, judging from girasoli's and other's posts!! Love the itinerary. Can't wait to hear about Ferrara, I am very intrigued by what I've read about it.


Sandra, Between you and girasoli I'm wishing I had at least a week in Bologna, unfortunately I'll have only a couple of days...

Your post has given me so many ideas, and I love all the interesting bits of information.



We climbed one of the towers in Bologna - memorable stairs - especially at the top! Beautiful interior of church in Parma, we hit it just after 1st Communion (total luck) so cameras were not a problem!

Looks great, Sandra. I love all the nicknames too, thanks for posting these.

Barb Cabot:

I'm so jealous and happy for you. This sounds like a wonderful trip.

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Sandra, how very exciting for you. It really does look like you're going to be eating very well and you're going to be enjoying some very fine art and seeng some great places on this trip. Lucky you!

Enjoy the rest of your trip planning and thanks so much for sharing your itineary. It looks like an awesome plan!

So exciting! Love all those nicknames. Your plan looks great (a mix of new and loved places). And don't worry too much about getting fat in Bologna - I predict you'll be walking it all off. :)


Marcia, thanks! It's a bit scattered, with too many stops, to be considered real Slow Travel. There's just so much to see.....

Jerry, my Bologna itinerary does look pretty packed already, doesn't it? I'm only there a week! I may have to drop one of those stops (or perhaps 2!)

Girasoli, no matter how carefully I plan and write little reminders to myself (eg don't try to see museum X on Mondays) I still muddle up schedules and miss half of what I want to see.

But from your blog posts it's clear that you really love Bologna. Perhaps -- if you can get to Italy this year -- you should go back, so you can savour your favourite places and discover some new ones as well! It's just a shame our paths won't cross this year.

Anne, I was going back and forth a bit on whether to stay in Ferrara more than a day. I still don't know much about it, but I've read that there is some wonderful art, and a gorgeous castle. I'll definitely get photos for my blog while I'm there!

Dana, I hope you have a wonderful time in Bologna, I'll be really interested in hearing your impressions after your visit there.

Kathryn, I'm definitely going to climb the Asinelli tower in Bologna, the views must be incredible. And Parma sounds so charming, I can't wait to see it.

Thanks Candi, Barb -- I'm sure I'm going to love this region.

Kathy, Annie, I think I'm going to need to do a lot of tower-climbing and hikes up and down to San Luca to keep the Bologna fat at bay! (The hills of Umbria should help, too!)


Sandra, I think you are convincing me that I must visit Bologna pretty darn soon! It sounds fabulous!

It's gonna be great! Your whole trip sounds awesome and no matter how you divide up the days I am sure it will work out perfectly.


Nancy, it does sound pretty interesting, doesn't it?

Chiocciola, I know that you know Bologna very, very well -- I hope you'll do some blogging while you're there this spring (I'll be looking for tips and advice!)


I'm thinking it's time to develop a Google Map for Bologna. Talk to me if you have any interest.

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