The capital and largest city of the Emilia-Romagna region, Bologna is a fascinating destination for visitors wanting to discover northern Italy. This historic city dates back thousands of years and has been an urban centre for almost the entirety of its life. Today, this sprawling metropolis is known for its cultural attractions, thriving art scene and culinary traditions. The train to Bologna from Rome takes as little as 2 hours during the day, with direct services operated by Italo. A trip to Bologna is very worthwhile, from the rewarding sights of Medieval architecture to some of the most mouth-watering dishes in the world.
After catching the train to Bologna, visitors should hop off at Bologna Centrale train station, which is just north of the city centre. It takes 20 minutes to walk to Piazza Maggiore, which is the main square of the city and the perfect place to orient oneself for a stroll around. Situated immediately next to Piazza Maggiore is the Fontana di Nettuno, one of the city's most iconic landmarks and a popular tourist attraction. Just a 1-minute walk away is the Basilica di San Petronio, which stands as a testament to the majesty of Italian Gothic architecture. Not far from here, a mere 5-minute walk away, visitors will find another of Bologna's most popular landmarks, the Torre degli Asinelli. Travellers have to mount 498 individual steps to make the full ascent, but these efforts are rewarded with breath-taking views across the entire city. For those who still have some energy, this town is also famous for its many arcades, including San Luca, which extends for almost 4 km from the heart of the city all the way to the Colle della Guardia (the Hill of the Guard). After savouring the vistas and giving tired legs some time to rest, visitors can enjoy a short stroll (just 15 minutes from the central monuments) to the Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna. Thousands of individual masterpieces can be found in this art gallery, with works from artistic heavyweights including Giotto, Parmigianino and Vasari, making for the ideal place to spend an afternoon.
For those looking to fill the rest of the day a different way, why not head to the old market hall? Located in the historic centre of Bologna, it’s packed to the rafters with boutique stalls and vendors, wine merchants, pop-up food restaurants and bistros offering up a mouth-watering selection of local delicacies.