First of all, happy new year (“etiquette” says it’s ok to make your wishes until end of Jan)! I don’t really know why but I’m looking forward to what 2017 will bring?! I’ve a good feeling about this… And to start this year on a happy note, I wanted to share with you – although with some delay – my New Year (re)discovery: Bologna. I’ve spend the last days of 2016 and the firsts of 2017 in this elegant and somewhat mystical Italian town and I fell in love! You might argue I fall in love with all the places I travel to, which is sort of true but that’s simply due to my passion for travelling… But Bologna has been a genuine surprise!
It was not the first time I visited this town, located in the Italian province of Emilia-Romagna. I had already been there in 2004. I remembered I had already liked it very much, but oh my I certainly didn’t expect what I (re)discovered! Bologna is a medley of Italian renaissance, medieval and baroque architecture, at its fullest! Terracotta-coloured palazzi – from mustard yellow to dark tan – cobbled streets, piazzas and beautiful brick churches (my favourite was “San Giacomo” in via Zamboni). Let’s obviously not forget Bologna’s landmarks: arches and porticoes. The city centre is full of them (about 38km!). They were mostly built during the Middle Age (12th century) and are simply fascinating.
The best way to discover the city is by foot. And the fact that the city centre is pedestrian makes it much easier. One of my favourite things in Bologna is the…canals! In Italy, Venice is obviously world-famous for its canals, but who knew (at least I didn’t ;-)) Bologna had its very own waterways?! Having been built between the 11th and 12th century most of them were covered up during the following centuries. However, if you take the time to explore the back streets, you’ll find spots were they’re still visible.
I was obsessed with another of Bologna’s landmark, the twin towers, Asinelli and Garisenda. The latter resembling the leaning tower of Pisa because of its tilted appearance. Apparently, it’s because of construction work it had to undergo in the 14th century, due to the ground crumbling, and as such avoiding the tower to collapse…
Strolling around Bologna, you’ll not only get lost in its narrow streets, but also discover some new piazzas where you will be able to enjoy a traditional Italian coffee or an aperitivo. The foodies amongst you will be very pleased to know the city is famous for its rich local gastronomy. Did you know Bologna is Italy’s pasta capital? Amongst one of its pasta specialties are the “tortellini al ragù” (the real spaghetti alla Bolognese, which btw are a pure commercial invention, as specified by a local chef).
If you want to be truly surprised, step outside the traditional Italian touristic routes, go to Bologna. You won’t be disappointed!
And stay tuned for my next article! We’ll be back on Swiss ground 🙂