Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Destination Bologna, Italy

I’ve been in love with Italy for as long as I can remember. I adore the Italian style, the culture, and of course, the delicious food and wine. Which is why I visited Bologna - the city that is to food as Milan is to fashion.

Bologna, Emilia-Romagna’s capital, is Italy’s best-kept secret. You won’t find the herds of tourists that clutter Florence or Rome. Here you will discover the real Italy, a fascinating fusion of history, art and elegance with an edgy grittiness.

Home to the oldest university in Europe, La Dotta (the learned one), is able to combine traditional values with modernity. 

Le Torri pendent
By: Vito Arcomano
© Fototeca ENIT

The city’s renowned landmark is Le Torri pendenti (the two towers). Around the Piazza Maggiore which is the centre of the city, I discovered some impressive medieval and Renaissance buildings including the Basilica di San Petronio.

If you like museums, you’ll find plenty. Bologna is a compact city so I found it easy to get around on foot, just be careful not to get caught up in the bicycle traffic.

I spent my time walking around La Rossa (red city), another of Bologna’s pet names, due to the colour of many of the historic buildings that line the street. Soaking up the atmosphere taking in the architecture, discovering the city’s lovely old arcades and the narrow Roman cobbled streets, it’s hard not to feel that you have stepped back in time as you gaze at the ancient walls of the city. What stories they could tell if only they could divulge their secrets!

After savouring such wonderful historical flavours, it was time to recharge the batteries. I sat at a café watching the world go by as I enjoyed a cappuccino. The people all seem so happy with their lot. No doubt the warm, sunny weather helps.

Indulging in a little retail therapy here is compulsory. There are plenty of superb boutiques as well as blue-chips and high-street stalwarts. I also sauntered around the food markets, where locals go daily to buy their fresh produce. There are also some delightful speciality shops where you will definitely have some credit-card melting moments.

By Vito Arcomano
 © Fototeca ENIT

After an exhausting day of sightseeing and shopping there is nothing I enjoy more than to go back to a luxury hotel and leisurely get ready for dinner. We all deserve to live like the rich and famous occasionally, even if it is only for a night or two.

The chicest address is town, arguably, is the Grand Hotel Majestic "già Baglioni". Once a palace, this stunning hotel is furnished with flair using traditional Italian style and punctuated with state-of-the art gadgetry.

I felt as if I was staying in somebody’s spectacular home rather than in a hotel. The friendly staff provides impeccable service. The Grand Hotel Majestic "già Baglioni", gave me the five-star treatment and made me feel special. What more could I ask for?

After lingering over an aperitif it was time for dinner. You’ll be hard pressed to get a bad meal in Bologna. It has not earned the nickname of La Grassa (the fat one) for nothing. There are many good, reasonably priced typical Bolognese restaurants where you can be wickedly indulgent. Just don’t expect to have Bolognese sauce spaghetti. It is more likely to be served with tortellini.

With all these treats exploding in my mouth, my only regret is that my clothes did not have elasticated waistbands! 

By Daralyn Danns

Getting there

British Airways offers a daily service from Heathrow to Bologna twenty-one times per week. Fares from £160.43 return including taxes/fees/carrier charges. Hand baggage only fares start from £130.43. To book or for more information visit or call 0844 4930787

Great value for money and you have the reassurance of flying with the national carrier

Hotel The Grand Hotel Majestic "già Baglioni". For more information and rates visit