Bologna is the capital of the region Emilia Romagna, a region associated with excellent food (the Emiliani will argue that their cuisine is the true Italian cuisine), phenomenal wines, Ferraris, luxury lingerie (La Perla), UNESCO world heritage sites, Prada *sigh* and Parmesan cheese.
The northern region of Italy, Emilia Romagna offers beaches, nature reserves, vineyards, valleys, mountains, medieval castles and Renaissance palaces but a stop off in the city of a Bologna is a must.
I’ve been to Bologna a couple of times and on one occasion we were a group of friends on a day trip.
We walked around the centre, one of the largest and best preserved historic centres among Italian cities. Bologna is characterised by porticos, or covered walkways that stretch out from the city centre for over 40 kilometers and taking in the museums, art galleries and religious buildings. We visited the market which was enormous and amazing and picked up lots of great bargains including clothes, shoes, food and jewellery.
Bologna is also home to the oldest university in Europe dating back to the 11th century. << Fascinating fact alert!
Bologna La Grassa
If food is your thing then the region surrounding Bologna La Grassa (Bologna the Fat) as the city is known has a labyrinth of food and wine trails where you will discover key producers, associated restaurants and museums dedicated to Parma Ham or Parmesan cheese.
For salamis follow the Strada del Culatello, for cheese follow Strada del Parmigiano. Make sure to take in the Lambrusco wines, the Balsamic Vinegar originating from Modena, pasta especially tortelli and mushrooms.
A personal favourite of mine is Mortadella, an enormous sausage, the meat is ground very finely and added to the mix with other ingredients are peppercorns, pistachios, coriander seeds and wine. Sliced as thin as paper and served in a fresh bread roll your taste buds won’t know what’s hit them!
And of course, Bologna is the home of our favourite Bolognese sauce and any Italian will tell you, a proper Bolognese should only be served with tagliatelle.
If cars are your thing then you are in the right place. Maserati, Lamborghini and Ducati are all based around Modena and Bologna, made locally and each with a museum to visit.
I visited the shrine to speed Galleria Ferrari in Maranello and if you are in the area and fancy rubbing shoulders with Formula One drivers at dinner then book a table at Ristorante Cavallino.
Bologna is ideal for a quick weekend city break or a longer holiday where you could take in Rimini, a buzzing Adriatic beach well worth a visit.
Take a look at my traditional bolognese sauce recipe
[yumprint-recipe id=’40’]Check out my 10 recipes to make with Bolognese sauce.
Short for time? Make a microwave ragu in half the time and just as delicious