After 5.5 years of continuous travel, we still marvel at the many discoveries of great destinations out there. Case in point: Bologna, Italy. After our stay in Ravenna, we planned to fly back to the US, and the best nearby airport was Bologna. We booked a hotel in Bologna for a three-day stay – long enough to look around and to relax before the long flights back. We knew nothing about Bologna, and who knew what a marvelous place it would turn out to be!
Since we’d done no reading about Bologna before our arrival, we just plunged in with a few excellent recommendations from the hotel staff.
We headed for the highly recommended Basilica of Santo Stefano, actually a complex of what was seven churches. The oldest church dates back to the 4th century.
As we strolled through town one afternoon, we passed an open archway. When we peeked in, we saw others inside looking around so we stepped inside as well. We had just entered the oldest university in continuous operation in the world, founded in 1088. This palace was constructed in 1562-1563 to become the single home of the University of Bologna.
After a few days in Bologna, we weren’t surprised to read that Bologna might be considered the food capital of Italy. Certainly, every meal we had there led us to believe this might be true – from the late afternoon in a piazza where snacks were served with our drinks to the homemade pasta in a nearby trattoria to the very tasty sandwich we ordered at the central food court, served on a best-we-ever-tasted black crunchy sesame roll.
It was time to pull back from the table and get in a long walk. We headed for Giardini Margherita, a large park just outside the historic walled city.
We hadn’t planned anything in Bologna except our departure from the airport. What a delightful and unexpected travel surprise the city turned out to be! Certainly we’re not alone in such a discovery. What’s yours?