We left Venice on a beautiful autumn day, sun shining and clear blue skies after three days of wintery weather. But never mind, we can’t have everything!

After an exhausting time in Venice we wanted a couple of days downtime before going to Bologna, so we stopped halfway at a small village called Castelgugliemo which has a municipal sosta. The sosta was excellent: it was clean and well laid out, with excellent facilities including electric, all for free. It’s one of the best non-campsite stops we’ve stayed at. There wasn’t much in the village at all – just a few shops and eateries – but we had a good time chilling out.

We’re now on a campsite on the outskirts of Bologna. We arrived late morning yesterday, and had an early lunch before catching the bus into the city centre. We’ve spent a day and a half exploring the city, and have had a fantastic time. Bologna has at least three nicknames: la dotta (the learned – it’s Europe’s oldest university town, founded in 1088); la rossa (the red – in recognition of its historical left wing politics); and la grassa (the fat – because of the food). The Quadriaterero district is the centre for the latter, and it really is a foodie heaven with markets and shops selling local produce – in particular cheese, ham, pasta, pastries and wine.

Bologna’s quite a compact city with most places reachable by foot, so we’ve enjoyed walking all around the city, mostly under the porticoes – the sheltered walkways which cover some 24 miles of the city. The weather has been great while we’ve been here, and we’re lucky that we didn’t visit at the beginning of the week when they had three inches of snow.

For lunch today we went to a family-owned restaurant which was recommended in The Guardian a few weeks back. It’s called Trattoria Valerio on via Avesella, and been in business for over 100 years. These days Papa looks after front of house while his daughter is head chef. They’d only found out the day before that they’d been recommended in a UK national newspaper, and Papa was made up. We had a lovely lunch there and the food was great. We also went to a traditional bar with a difference this evening – Osteria del Sole – where the wine is very reasonably priced and you bring your own food.

Tomorrow we will leave Bologna, and head towards Cinque Terre.


The sosta at Castelgugliemo
We saw a few locks like this one
The biblioteca
Snow in the Piazza Maggiore
The two towers – we didn’t take the 498 steps to the top!
The whispering wall – Carol and I had a secret conversation – very clever acoustics
There was a chocolate fair – unfortunately there were few samples 🙁
Inside the Trattoria Valerio
Door of the day
One of the many porticoes
War memorial
Inside the old bourse – now a library
Piazza Maggiore
This shop sold nothing but Parmesan cheese – yuk!
Not sure which church this one is…

4 thoughts on “Bologna”

  1. If you get the chance to visit Portevenere, just south of the cinque terre, it’s a beautiful small coastal village, famous for Byron’s Grotto which is where I proposed to Sara. A boat goes there from the cinque terre

    Did you try the Due Torre in Bologna? Jeez, it’s a scary climb

    • Hi Stu, I’ll check it out – we’ll be staying at La Spezia and getting the train to the villages. We didn’t fancy climbing the 498 steps, it’s easier looking at other people’s photos!

  2. We loved Bologna! Did you try the traditional Bolognese (ragu)? Can’t believe there was snow!!
    Omg we loved Cinque Terra especially once all the day tourists have left. Do the walks along the tops but make sure you have good waljing shoes on and a bottle of water

    • Hi Tina, lovely to hear from you. Yes Bologna is a great city, and not very touristy at all – I don’t recall seeing a single tat shop. Yes we did have the ragu, it was delicious! We’re hoping there won’t be too many tourists at Cinque Terre, there shouldn’t be this time of the year. We’ll be staying on a sosta in La Spezia and buying the train ticket, but I daresay we’ll be walking between some of the villages.

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