A quick visit to Bologna, even on a rainy weekday, is a chance to enjoy this compact university city with its miles of covered sidewalk porticoes that give shelter from stormy weather.
|Bologna is a 3 hour train ride from home base
An umbrella is needed only when crossing intersections and the wide expanse of Piazza Maggiore where San Petronio Basilica and Sala Borsa act as bookends.
|Duomo of San Petronio, Bologna
For the past 10 months many central streets have been blocked to traffic for a major renovation paid for by European Union money.
The taxi drivers and shop owners are furious and tourism in general is suffering yet a plethora of tours and cooking classes are offered at the Tourism Office which is making the most of the Expo 2015’s dedication to Italian food.
|shopping with friends
There are plenty of areas of the city that are not touched by the renovations but do keep this in mind before booking a hotel in the affected areas. We chose the Porta San Mamolo hotel in a quiet cul de sac and enjoyed the silence and restaurants of this non-touristy area a short walk from Piazza Maggiore.
|garden well at Porta San Mamolo hotel
Window shopping and wandering are a joy in Bologna. The window displays of luxury boutiques compete with those of the food shops and market stalls. This people-friendly town has welcoming public spaces such as Sala Borsa, for wi-fi and a drink as well as cozy bars and restaurants for a meal or an aperitivo.
|tris di pasta
Bologna “la Grassa” is rightly known for its high quality food shops bursting with excellent produce. A walk through one of the central markets or one of the norcinerie is a sensorial delight for whiffs of cured meats, cheeses and tartufo fill the air.
|a feast for the eyes, as well as the stomach
|fresh fish, even late in the evening
Other sensorial delights for the eyes are the courtyards and colors of Bologna’s palazzi in the core of the old city.
Wrought iron gates, marble columns, fountains and palatial courtyards exist next to quirky statues and graffiti.
|graffitto honoring Bolognese singer Lucio Dalla
If the wind and rain become too strong, make a beeline for the stately rooms of the Civic Museum on the upper floors of Palazzo Accorsio-Bologna’s City Hall- for another sensorial experience and refuge from the weather.
|Sala Urbana with frescoed coat-of-arms
|one of the many galleries
With 21 rooms full of art works, antique furniture, a newly restored heraldic hall and kind volunteer guides, Palazzo Accorsio is only one of the city’s many excellent museums and exhibition spaces.
|main staircase, Palazzo Accorsio
|red room, Palazzo Accorsio
|Sala di Ercole, next to the Farnese chapel,Palazzo Accorsio
|looking down on the central courtyard and well
|Palazzo Accorsio courtyard
|entrance to Archiginnasio
Learn what Bologna was like in the 1700s
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