Bologna in two days: A guide to the history, culture, and delicious food of the city.

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If you’re planning a trip to Bologna and only have two days, you’ll be delighted to know that you can still experience the best of what this city has to offer. With its rich history, stunning architecture, and delicious cuisine, Bologna is a city that will leave a lasting impression.

On Day 1, begin by visiting Piazza Maggiore, the main square of the city. This iconic square is surrounded by beautiful historical buildings, including the Palazzo del Podestà, the Palazzo dei Banchi, and Fuente de Neptuno, a stunning fountain that will leave you speechless.
Take a stroll through the Basilica di San Petronio, one of the largest churches in the world, admire its frescoes and 15th century astronomical clock. 

From Piazza Maggiore, take the San Luca Express bus to the Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca, a beautiful church located on a hilltop, offering panoramic views of the city. This church is an example of the Romanesque-Lombard architectural style. The round trip ticket is only 12 Euros and includes the opportunity to make an independent visit to the Sanctuary and then take the next bus back to Piazza Maggiore at your leisure. 

On Day 2, visit Palazzo d’Accursio, a beautiful palace housing the Civic Museum, where you can admire art and sculptures that give you a glimpse of Bologna’s history. The palace was built in the 14th century and it’s an example of Gothic architecture. Next, head to Piazza Santo Stefano. Despite its name, Piazza Santo Stefano is not actually a square at all, but rather an open space that leads to the famous complex known as the “Seven Churches.” At the heart of this space stands the impressive Basilica of Santo Stefano, surrounded by several notable buildings, such as Casa Berti, Palazzo Isolani, and Palazzo Bolognini Isolani on one side, and Palazzo Bolognini Amorini Salina on the other. These buildings are great examples of the architectural styles that are present in the city throughout the centuries. Today, Piazza Santo Stefano is a place to hang out for students and it is often used as a venue for cultural events and concerts.If you have time, take a stroll down via Clavature and via Draperie and explore the vibrant marketplace, where you’ll find small, colourful shops. From there, head over to Via d’Azeglio, where you’ll be greeted with an abundance of bars and restaurants to choose from. These narrow streets are not only beautiful but also bustling with locals and visitors alike. 

When it comes to food, Bologna is a city renowned for its delicious cuisine. During your two days, make sure to indulge in some of the local specialties such as Tagliatelle al Ragu, Tortellini, and Salumi Misti, a platter of traditional cured meats. Zerocinquantino is a great place to try salumi misti, paired with your preferred Italian drink whether it’s wine, an Aperol Spritz, a Negroni, or anything non-alcoholic.

If you’re looking for a truly authentic and delicious dining experience in Bologna, look no further than Osteria delle Donzelle. We had the pleasure of trying the Bolognese menu at this charming restaurant, and were delighted with every bite. For just 15 Euros per person, we were treated to a mouthwatering selection of traditional Bolognese dishes, including salumi misti, Tortellini alla crema di parmigiano, and tagliatelle al ragu. Each dish was expertly prepared and absolutely delicious, bursting with rich, authentic flavours. The warm and inviting atmosphere at Osteria delle Donzelle only added to the enjoyment of our meal, making it the perfect spot for a special occasion or a dinner with friends. We highly recommend this restaurant to anyone looking for a truly authentic and delicious Bolognese dining experience.

Via Augusto Righi is the street to go for restaurants, though it’s best to make a reservation and dine early as restaurants close early here.  We loved the lasagna and ravioli we tasted at Hostaria Restaurant here.

In case you arrive late at night and all the restaurants are closed,  Pizzeria Gingio on via Rizzoli, right next to famous two towers of Bologna is a great option, serving delicious stuffed focaccia bread with various fillings. Our personal favourites were spinach & cheese and sausage & tomato.

For accommodation, Holiday Swap is a new concept that allows travelers to exchange their holiday homes with others, allowing them to travel around the world without breaking the budget. This is an excellent alternative for individuals on a tight budget who want to visit Bologna. By exchanging residences with someone who lives in Bologna, you can save money on housing while experiencing a new city like a local.Overall, Bologna is a city that offers a wealth of history, culture, and delicious food. With only two days, you’ll be able to experience some of the best that the city has to offer, from the stunning architecture and historical sites to the delicious local cuisine. So if you are visiting Bologna, get ready for an unforgettable trip! You won’t be disappointed.

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