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July 19, 2019

Italy: Bologna

Filed under: Architecture, Europe, Food, Italy, Photography, Travel, Travel, Writing — Tags: , , , , , — anotherheader @ 12:54 pm

One of Bologna’s many temples of food

Bologna doesn’t make the best first impression. It’s a city that can look a little rough and feel a bit uncomfortable on arrival. But as you peel back the layers you realize that there’s a lot to understand and to love behind Bologna’s unpolished facades. It quickly becomes one of those places that once you leave you immediately want to return. That is the way Bologna was for us.

Perhaps part of the appeal is that Bologna feels a bit forgotten. It’s not really. The city receives over two million foreign visitors each year, which is a lot by any measure. Still similarly sized Florence records nearly 2.5 times as many tourists each year. Consequentially Bologna feels less impacted by tourism than the most popular Italian destinations.

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There’s little doubt that our attraction to Bologna is influenced by the city’s famous food. Some consider Bologna to be the top foodie city in Italy, a country that others consider to have the best food in the world. Food rankings such as these are intrinsically arbitrary and personal. Nevertheless I’d always be happy to eat in Bologna any day.

Even too with its acclaim as a foodie destination Bologna also feels a bit under appreciated. Guide Michelin only gives a star to just one restaurant within Bologna’s borders. By comparison there are seven Michelin-starred eateries in Florence. Within 20 kilometers of Alba Italy, a town with less than a tenth the population of Bologna, there are 17 Michelin-starred restaurants. Though many, including us, feel that Bologna is a top food destination, the Michelin reviewers don’t seem to think so. But I’m OK with that. There’ll be more mortadella, tagliatelle al ragu, and tortellini in brodo left for us when we return.

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We visited Bologna in October of 2019.

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