Final Thoughts On Where To Stay In Italy
Its no wonder that Italy is one of the most visited countries in the world! With centuries-old cities, one of the most famous culinary scenes in the world and endless natural beauty, there is a lot on offer in this Mediterranean dream. It is also home to great wineries, hip city centres and great examples of modern European culture.
We feel bad picking an overall favourite but Rome took our top spot because it truly has a little bit of everything on offer! It is also fairly central, so makes a good base for exploring other towns and cities on the mainland.
That being said, Italy is such a diverse country that we cant truly say where the best single place is for you wherever that may be depends on your own wishes. We hope this guide has helped you narrow down your options for your upcoming trip to this dazzling nation.
Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments!
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Tips And Tours: How To Make The Most Of Your Visit To Bologna
- Touring on Two Wheels: You can see a lot of the top attractions on a 2-Hour Bike Tour of Bologna, which includes all cycling equipment and insurance. Because you spend less time getting between sights, this tour can visit all the places included in the walking tour, plus outlying attractions of the Santo Stefano church complex and the Basilica of San Domenico. You’ll also visit the medieval port and learn about the canals that powered its mills.
- Driving in Bologna: Like most cities in Italy, the historic center is closed to automobiles. If your hotel is within this area – called the ZTL zone – be sure to ask them where to park before your arrival. The usual procedure is that they will put your license number on the ZTL whitelist for the period of your stay, which allows you to drive to and from the hotel.
Admire The Interior Of Chiesa Madonna Galliera
The Church of the Madonna di Galliera is something of a hidden gem in Bologna. From the outside, the concrete façade gives no clues as to the ornate details waiting on the inside.
Originally founded in 1304, the interiors were refurbished in the 17th century to an opulent effect. Lavishly painted frescoes adorn the cupola ceiling with artwork hanging from intricately carved niches. Cascading light streams from high windows create an ethereal effect in the beautiful space.
Opposite the church is Caffè Letterario Sebastiano Caridi, offering a range of handcrafted chocolates and delicious pastries. Although hot chocolate is their speciality drink, their coffee was one of the best we had in Bologna. Take your pick from the selection inside and sit out on the portico in front of the church.
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Top Places To Stay In Italy
Italy is truly an eclectic country with so much on offer. If you plan on visiting a few places in Italy, we recommend staying in at least one urban area and one rural area to get a grasp of the different ways of living in the country. We also reckon its worth visiting the North for history and culture, and the South for the laid-back lifestyle, stunning beaches and deeply held traditions.
See Grand Masters At The Pinoteca
The National Art Gallery of Bologna was born from the need to rehouse works of art that were supressed by either the church or Napoleon. Today the excellent selection of 13th to 18th century art demonstrates the progression from Byzantine to Renaissance styles over a very manageable collection.
The highlights for us were Christ and the Good Thief by Titian, The Visitation by Tintoretto and Madonna of the sparrow by Guercino. But the collection also includes high quality pieces by Raphael and Reni.
The gallery is well laid out with information panels in English and a handy map to help navigate the space. Its a wonderful thing to do in Bologna which, unlike the museums in Florence and Venice, you may have entirely to yourself.
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Where To Stay In Bologna Italy A Quick Guide To The Best Areas And Hotels In The Heart Of Emilia
Eat Your Way Around The Mercato Delle Erbe
While the Quadrilatero is a good place to pick up cheese and cured meats, for fresh produce I preferred the Bologna food market, Mercato Delle Erbe.
The fruit and vegetables here are beautiful and most of it comes from Italy. I was excited that strawberries from the Basilicata region were already in season in April.
Theres also an upmarket food court where you can snack on sandwiches, piadina, slices of pizza, or even have a whole meal.
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Best Hotels In Bolognas Centro Storico
Travelers Pick:Hotel Al Cappello Rosso is one of Bolognas oldest boutique hotels and one that certainly understands the best of what the city has to offer. Its right next to Piazza Maggiore and a great base if you want to fully immerse yourself in Bolognas rich history and delicious food. The hotel has modern amenities, comfortable rooms, and most things youll need for a leisurely holiday. Double rooms start at EUR 105.
Art Hotel Commercianti and Hotel Corona dOro are also fabulous choices if you want to stay in the heart of Bolognas historical center. For families and small groups who want a homier stay, check out Apartments Centre Bologna.
Castiglione Where To Stay In Bologna With Family
On the south side of the city centre is Porta Castiglione, one of the towers built as part of the city walls in the 13th century. A beautiful part of this neighborhood is Giardini Margherita, one of the largest parks in Bologna, covering 26 hectares of land. The park includes tree-lined boulevards, a lake, some market stalls and a couple of cafes, making this a family-friendly area to stay in Bologna. Centro Historico is about 20 minutes walking distance from the park. Travellers will find many hotels in this area to choose from.
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Corte Daibo In Monteveglio
Renovated with nature in mind, this hotel boasts a bio lake, a freshwater pool in front. Located in the Pignoletto area, Corte dAibo is closed over the winter months. But during the rest of the year, it is worth a stay. If youre unable to make reservations to stay at Corte dAibo, stop in for lunch at its restaurant, and try their Pignoletto, one of my favorite Italian sparkling wines.
How Long To Spend In Bologna
If you only have one day in Bologna, you can easily see all the major sights in the historic centre including everything in the Historic Things to Do in Bologna section above and still have time for a delicious meal and gelato.
The city does reward a longer stay, though. Bologna is becoming a popular weekend destination from the UK and other cities in Europe.
With two or three days you could see all the historic attractions plus have time for a food tour, the walk up to San Luca, shopping, and many more delicious meals.
Ideally, youd spend a week in Bologna, like we did, to have time to take day trips to the surrounding area.
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Venice Coolest Place To Stay In Italy
Chances are youve already heard about Venice but its well known for a reason! This stunning city dates back six hundred years, and the architecture has remained pretty much untouched since. Known for its canals, no trip to Venice is complete without taking a gentle gondola ride through the streets.
There are six major districts in the city, each with something different to offer. Aside from the historic architecture and romantic canals, Venice is also home to some of the best art galleries in the world. Food can be pricey but is totally worth it if you are willing to splurge! This city really is a destination everyone should visit once.
With rising sea levels and questions about over-tourism, Venice is a destination you should visit sooner rather than later. If youre planning an itinerary hitting the biggest spots across the country, you absolutely need to plan a few days in Venice.
If You Plan To Explore Emilia
Bologna is a major transportation hub and a great base for exploring northern Italy. From Bologna, you can easily take day trips to foodie cities like Modena and Parma, seaside towns like Rimini and Cesenatico, and even take an overnight trip to the neighboring country of San Marino.
If you want to cover a lot of ground during your holiday to Bologna, stay near the Bologna Central Station. Youd still be within walking distance or a quick bus ride from Bolognas historic center, and youll be able to go on plenty of day trips around Emilia-Romagna.
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Admiral Park Hotel In Monte San Pietro
A surprising option in the Bologna Hills. Centrally located, from the outside the Admiral Park looks like a typical business hotel. But, rooms are surprisingly comfortable, roomy, and modern. They have all of the conveniences that many Italian hotels lack. Rooms start at 95 a night.
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Centro Storico Best Area To Stay In Bologna
What is the best area to stay in Bologna?
The best area to stay in Bologna is Centro Storico. This is the historic city centre, where youll find all the tourist attractions, including the Fountain of Neptune, Basilica of San Petronio and the medieval towers. Centro Storico is also the best place to stay in Bologna for foodies or first-time visitors.
If you look at a map, youll see a yellow hexagon right next to Bologna Centrale . The historic city centre is located inside the hexagon.
The heart of the Old Town is Piazza Maggiore and most of the attractions are within a short walk from the piazza. Id totally recommend you staying here if youre visiting Bologna for just a few days.
The area is also great for foodies, as here youll find the oldest food market in the city, Mercato di Mezzo. The perfect place for a food tour! Wondering where to stop for lunch? Head to Sfoglia Rina and enjoy the best pasta in Bologna.
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Best Area In Bologna To Stay In
Next May my husband and I will be in Bologna with 2 other couples for 5 nights. All of us are foodies, and while I intend to thoroughly explore the city itself, they are really wanting to get out into the other foodie areas of Emilia-Romagna, and I’m trying to figure out if it will be best to stay nearer the train station/bus station for those day trips, or closer to the city center and head out from there. Any suggestions on where you feel is the ‘best’ location in the city for both seeing the city and taking day trips would be appreciated. Thanks!
I stayed near the train station a couple of years ago and while it is convenient for day trips, it is not convenient for eating and sightseeing the within the city. I’d recommend staying nearer the city center for evening walking.
I had the scariest time ever walking back to the hotel after dinner and getting lost. By the time I found an open bar to call a taxi for me, I was ready to never leave the hotel room again. I learned to have the restaurant call a taxi for me. If I had stayed closer to the center It would have not been so traumatic for me. Of course, I was on my own and you will have a support group.
We did not go on a tour, we set them up ourselves. The website for the Acetaia di Giorgia is and you can contact them by email to set up a visit. Their place is a short cab ride from the train station in Modena.
Bologna City Guide: What To See Plus The Best Bars Restaurants And Hotels
The opening of a foodie theme park will further elevate Bolognas reputation as Italys culinary capital but the city has plenty more to offer, including superb art, music and medieval architecture
Europes oldest university town has been a haven for intellectuals and creative types since luminaries such as Dante and Petrarch passed through in the 14th century. Cultural capitals can ossify with time, but the constant influx of young blood into Bologna has kept the city alive. In the evenings, cafes flood with Bolognesi, from high-society ladies to stylishly scruffy undergraduates arguing politics and sipping Aperol spritzes.
Piazza Verdi attracts musicians and dreadlocked punks, while bars under the arches of Piazza Santo Stefano are a lovely spot for a sundowner. At weekends the central Via Ugo Bassi and Via Rizzoli, along with perpendicular Via dellIndipendenza, are pedestrianised and fill with shoppers and street performers. At nightfall, crowds from the student bars along Via Zamboni and the more upscale options on Via del Pratello spill into the streets.
Many of Italian cuisines heavy hitters tagliatelle al ragù, mortadella, tortellini, lasagne alla bolognese originate and are at their finest here. The classics still have pride of place, but in the past few years the range of restaurants has broadened. And next month sees the opening of Fico Eataly World, a long-awaited 100m foodie theme park.
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Nearby Food Capitals: After sampling the local delicacies of Bologna, you may want to explore the Reggio-Emilia region’s other food capitals. You can visit the home of the world-famous Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, and see the top attractions of Parma and its surrounding towns. On the way stop in Modena, home of the best balsamic vinegar.
Exploring the Adriatic Coast: When you are in Bologna, you are within easy reach of a city whose art treasures are unique in Italy. Ravenna is filled with magnificent Byzantine mosaics, most of them in eight buildings that have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Not far south on the Adriatic coast are Rimini’s well-preserved Roman sites and beaches. For more general ideas to help plan your trip, see our article on the best places to visit in Italy.
We Will Definitely Come Back Very Soon Had Direct Flight
We will definitely come back very soon, had direct flight from Bratislava. Airport is within 15 minutes in Taxi from the center, costs 18 -20 euro. It is easy to walk all around the town, even when it rains, as there are more than 40 km of arcades. You can find nice cheap hotels in the heart of city, next to Piazza Maggiore, 10 minutes walking distance. Anywhere we ate, it was delicious. Took Food and Ferrari tour with Amazing Italy, saw production of Parmiggiano, Balsamico, Prosciutto, Ferrari museum and factory in Maranello, highly recommend this guided tour. San Luca was great. We felt pretty safe in Bologna, during the week it wasnt so busy. In comparison to Rome, it was much more quiet and friendly experience. Nice wine, food and ice cream, that was all we wanted.
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Day : Basilicas And More Food
Today, start your morning with a little jaunt outside of Bologna’s city center. Head to the Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca, which is a beautiful basilica atop a hill overlooking the countryside of Emilia-Romagna.
There are a few different ways you can reach this basilica. The first would be to order a taxi, but I don’t really recommend this option since it can be hard to get one to come pick you up again.
The second option is to walk there are 4 kilometers of porticos that connect Porta Saragozza in central Bologna to the Sanctuary of San Luca. With over 600 archways, it’s the longest stretch of portico in the world. The walk isn’t gentle, though, as the last bit ascends fairly steeply.
The third option is to take the San Luca Express, which is a little tourist train that leaves several times per day from Piazza Maggiore. The round-trip ride costs 10 Euro, and comes with an audio recording to listen to as you enjoy the 40-minute ride to the basilica. Check the timetable here.
I normally scoff at these tourist trains, but this one is actually reasonably priced, and the audio guide was interesting.
Once at the Sanctuary, you don’t need more than an hour to explore, and enjoy the views. Afterwards, make your way leisurely back to the city center.
Tagliatelle al ragu is the REAL spaghetti Bolognese that the rest of the world has bastardized. Try the real thing here. You can also try other favorites like Tortellini in Brodo , and lasagna Bolognese here.