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Move Over Rome! This Beautiful Italian City Is Being Hyped As The Most Underrated Destination

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Rome, Milan, Venice, and the Amalfi Coast may be the household names of Italy, but there are so many other amazing gems to explore.

From stunning islands to storybook towns and historic cultural cities, it's no wonder Italy has soared to new tourism heights.

Bologna main square

Rome is undoubtedly the most popular for travelers to immerse themselves into the fascinating city's ancient culture with well-preserved sites like the famous Colosseum.

With that comes unavoidable crowds unless you're willing to give other places a fair chance.

With nearly 200 ‘travel experts' boasting of Bologna as their favorite underrated getaway according to Express, it's time to unveil one of Italy's most gorgeous destinations flying under the radar.

A Foodie's Dream Turned Reality

Anyone who has been to or dreamed of vacationing in Italy has food on the brain.

Smiling tourist exploring Bologna

From the moment we saw the spaghetti scene in Lady and the Tramp growing up, it's like the craving for Italian food is engrained in us.

There's nothing against Rome in terms of food, but Bologna is widely seen as Italy's food capital.

Set in the delightful region of Emilia-Romagna, known for its fertile soil producing a vast array of produce and wine, Bologna has its roots both literally and figuratively planted in the food scene.

Home to classic dishes such as the city's signature Bolognese pasta along with ragù, tortellini, and mortadella, it's no wonder renowned traveler and chef, Anthony Bourdain filmed a Parts Unknown episode here showcasing all the goodies of the region.

Woman with food at Bologna food market

Check out Sfoglia Rina.

They've been around over 60 years whipping up delicious made-from-scratch meals where one recent guest raved, ‘This is place to get a home, soul healing kind of meal. No frills, just big on wholesome fresh flavors'.

A City Center Oozing Charm And Character

Again, there's nothing quite like the Colosseum, but Bologna isn't claiming to top Rome – we're just saying expect fewer crowds and to embrace this historical city for what it is, a truly awesome place to visit oozing charm and character at seemingly every turn.

Beautiful multi-colored sky over Bologna cityscape

There are no flashy skyscrapers here. Heck, Starbucks opened their first Bologna location 4 months ago, which speaks to the staunch fight to hold up long-held traditions to keep the city as original as possible.

First-timers may want to explore Bologna by walking to better to absorb all the nooks and crannies in this jam-packed city.

Walking around, you may discover hidden cafes, wine bars, and local shops. Doing so, you can't help but notice the city's most unique features – UNESCO-protected porticoes.

If that's a word you've never heard, we're in the same boat. Porticoes are covered walkways protecting locals and tourists alike from blistering heat or rain, connecting over 38 miles of Bologna.

Female tourist with map in Bologna

The city center itself, specifically Piazza Maggiore, is one of the most well-preserved in all of Europe, not just Italy.

Some of the top sites worth checking out are:

  • Basilica di San Petronio – an unfinished 14th-century church boasting high ceilings and impressive artwork
  • Le Due Torri – two unmissable medieval towers (Asinelli Tower and the Garisenda Tower)
  • Santuario della Madonna di San Luca – follow the portico up the hill for the most stunning views from this historic sanctuary
  • Museum of the History of Bologna (Museo della Storia di Bologna)
  • National Art Gallery (Pinacoteca Nazionale)
piazza maggiore, bologna central square

Reaching Bologna

There are no direct flights to Bologna from the U.S., but there are plenty of options to connect or hop aboard a train for the more adventurous.

Bologna will have to be an add-on to your Euro-trip with the easiest connection points being major Italian cities like Rome, Milan, Florence, and Venice for trains.

Many of which are under $30 per ticket depending when you book. This includes high-speed options from all 4 cities.

Those who prefer to fly have many options as well. Bologna is a very connectable city through European airlines, including budget airlines like Ryanair, to potentially stretch your travel budget.

Ticket machines at Bologna train station

Once you land, reaching the city center is easy peasy on the Marconi Express.

Reaching the city center in just 7 minutes, you'll be chowing down on Bolognese pasta and sipping local wine in no time!

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Friday 12th of July 2024