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There’s a whole world of food, culture, and style waiting in the medieval towers and Renaissance arches around Bologna. The city can claim the world’s oldest university and the homes of Lamborghini and Ducati, so don’t be surprised to see plenty of grand buildings and sleek cars among the monuments to 3,000 years’ worth of the finer things in life. From food and wine to Segways and Roadsters, you can find things to do in Bologna that embody the best of Europe.
Surrounded by a ring of wide avenues but filled with little jumbled streets that were laid out long before cars entered the picture, Bologna’s historic center is a trove of historic churches, plazas and orange-roofed apartments. Huge Gothic arches and red brick towers frame a setting of ancient universities, opera houses, Greek restaurants, and pizzerias that show off the city’s complex flavor.
An old working-class neighborhood that stands beside the railyards of Bologna’s central train station, Bolognina is now home to one of the city’s most eclectic communities. Artists, students, and immigrants mingle with longtime residents and families in the fruit and vegetable markets that thrive between the stone arches and ocher-colored houses that fill the district.
Stretching from the grounds of Bologna’s soccer stadium into the hills that stand at the south end of town, Saragozza is known for its narrow roads, cool temperatures, and terrific views. Theaters and art galleries give a lively, bohemian feel to the urban quarter, and the open air around the hillsides make for some of the most scenic walks in town.
Bologna hasn’t been overrun by crowds like some of its larger neighbors, which makes it that much easier to actually see the wealth of attractions in the city. Head to the center of town for a look at the Fountain of Neptune, surrounded by the medieval arches of old communal halls, or take a walk through the collection of interconnected churches like the basilica of Santo Stefano. To the south of the city, a roofed arcade leads you into the hills to the Sanctuary of the Madonna of San Luca, where you get one of the most beautiful views around, while the hilltop village of Dozza in the north holds a 15th-century castle standing amid avenues lined with colorful frescoes and green fields.
Fast cars and fine food are on offer as you check out the best of Bologna. The Enzo Ferrari Museum is exactly as stylish as you’d expect from a venue dedicated to the famed supercar designer, while the Ducati Museum lets you see nearly a century’s worth of iconic motorcycle designs. And if that’s not enough, there’s the Lamborghini Museum just a quick drive outside of town.
If you just want to explore the sights around town, you can team up with a private guide to get the most from your visit, or pick up a Segway to cruise around with ease. You’re missing out if you don’t try out the local cuisine while you’re at it. Savor some favorite treats and Italian wine with a walking tour, or try out a whole range of cooking classes that teach you the art behind making some pasta, tortellini, or gelato and let you take a bit of Bologna home with you.