I’ve only been to Bologna once, but it left a huge impression. It allowed me to experience Italian everyday life, relaxing in cafés as the sound of locals chatting in Italian, clinking espresso cups with tiny spoons, washed over me.
Why go now? May offers some of the best weather—not so hot you crave a pool, not so cold you’re bundling up with a thousand scarves, and not too rainy.
What to eat: Bologna is the home of many iconic Italian eats, including mortadella, tagliatelle, ragù, tortellini and fritto misto. Sample many of these dishes at Ristorante Da Cesari, which still has Italian grandmas rolling out fresh tortelloni daily.
Where to stay: For something that’s nice but budget-friendly, Hotel Metropolitan checks all the boxes. Stylish common areas, simple but yummy breakfast, clean and modern rooms, and just a few steps off Via dell’Indipendenza—you’re in the heart of it all.
See stuff, save money: If you love visiting lots of museums and historic sites, look into the Bologna Welcome Card. For 25 euros, you can score entry to many museums and churches, plus access to walking tours and more.
Modern Italian art: When you think Italian art, great painters like Leonardo da Vinci probably come to mind. However, the contemporary art collection at MAMbo is a nice change of pace. You’ll find Italian abstract art from the 1950s, as well as temporary exhibits from artist like the Argentine-Israeli Mika Rottenberg.
Access to Italian Greats (without the chaos): Bologna is so close to many of Italy’s most notable destinations. Staying here puts you within an easy train ride of Florence,Venice