Bologna, Italy: That medieval air

January 1, 1970

by Ioana-cristea


The leit-motif of my photos it has to be always an Italian espresso, creamy and hot. You feel me? When you feel the ground of Cicero, Michelangelo, Borgia (and of so many titans), underneath your feet, you have got to give yourself some time of dolce far niente.

espresso <strong><a href=''>Bologna</a></strong>

One needs he first sip of the magical liquor to sketch the day ahead, to just close its eyes under the clear blue sky. Coffee it’s a requisite for anyone, but imagine having the best of it in an Italian city, your taste buds will be in heaven. After you get a kick in the morning, you have to explore!

Bologna Piazza Maggiore

Cultural centers like Milano, Bologna, Firenze, Roma, Torino are places where life is effervescent, where all your senses are taking part to allure you into their story.

What to do in Bologna?

The “red city” as it is also called due to the reddish colour of the buildings, has plenty to offer you. Its architecture centralizes the very soul of medieval Bologna. Summer time is lovely (but really hot!) to explore Bologna…perfumes in the air, clear blue sky, terraces and lots of entertaining people. Students have lots of discounts like tours, meals etc. Every corner it’s exquisitely crafted,  the fountains are guarded by Latin gods and you see beautiful sculptures as often as you see people. Italians are in love with their Vespas so don’t be surprise if you’ll be surrounded by them.  Either  on really tiny streets or main boulevards, these colorful scooters  ridden by people aged 14 to even 70! Everything vibrates, bursts of history, and lovely Africans that are selling branded

sunglasses and bags, haha.bologna

In the city centre you will find the Asinelli Tower, which one belonged to the wealthiest families in Bologna. They were built in the 11th century, and took up to 3 to 10 years to build! Can you believe that?  The two towers were mainly used to spy whether enemies were about to attack the city.  The view up there is fantastic. If you go straight forward on the main street of the Torre degli Asinelli, you will find a delicious focacceria!

The view from Torre degli Asinelli

The view from Torre degli Asinelli

Piazza Maggiore is the main focus of Bologna and it is a square, surrounded by a palazzo, the second most large cathedral in Europe, Cattedrale di San Pietro, and other notable renascent buildings. At nighttime, you can come here and enjoy  amateur singers. Once I’ve stayed over an our to cheer for a guy that sang his heart out, making  a big audience. Everybody knew the lyrics to the songs, so it was truly a blast.  Each and every corner is hiding a story, whispering it to each soul that lies its eyes on a baroque painting, or resting on the steps of a museum or a basilica.


Palazzo Re Enzo

Palazzo Re Enzo

Piazza Maggiore

Piazza Maggiore

In the same area there’s a wonderful fountain with the sculpture of Neptun were people take funny and inappropriate photos. I’m guilty of that. A great tip is to visit the library that is next to the fountain. You can read magazines, stroll , observe how the ambient  is and also chill around.

medieval crypt and a mural crucifixion dating back to the XIII century

Bologna is also know for being the first city in the world to have an University! It was founded in 1088 and The university is historically notable for its teaching of canon(meaning Christian law) and civil law. The campus is so beautiful, green, filled with students from all over the world!

Renting a bike can be so useful to explore better a location. My friend and I did that and saw so many lovely streets, and also places that were kinda far away. It is also best to do that at night because all of the lights are sparking, the traffic decreases and you can stroll and marvel.

Uhm, can I have some food? Certo!

 Well first of, you’ve got to be hungry. I recommend you a fresh panino with prosciutto cotto, mozzarella and rucola, on the go, a plate of spaghetti con Pomodoro or a Pizza Margherita at a small pizzeria on a tiny street after Piazza Maggiore. You just really need now a cappuccino and a orange fresh to boost your energy, and then it’s time to walk  a lot on the fifteenth century square building stone.

All of the bakeries welcome you from 5 feet away, and it is a must to buy a ciabatta. Also don’t forget to treat yourself with some cannolo(even though it’s traditional for Sicily). Cannoli don’t care how much you weight, they understand.

I’m really thirsty now

Bars and cafes linger at every step, so don’t you worry. I really love Italian cafes because of the people(well, and also the espresso), everyone is talking so loud that it may seem that they’re fighting. So not true. I hope so. Italia is a culture of proximity, people are staying really next to each other, they gesticulate a lot, laugh, yell, gossip, but all that it’s not irritating, they’re lovable. It’s their mark.

Art in Bologna

There’s a lot of it. The art of a nation says a lot about it, here we’re talking about Italy, were the most prestigious geniuses were born. Fun fact: the famous poet Petrarca(Petrarch ),one of the earliest humanists, friend with Boccaccio  studied here!

There are over forty museums and galleries in the red city that conserve rich heritage. I definitely recommend checking this ones out:

  • Palazzo Pepoli– The Museum of the History of Bologna : The Museum is dedicated to the history, culture and the transformation the city has undergone through the ages.
  • Palazzo Poggi: it features e Anatomical Waxworks which is kinda fascinating
  • San Collombano– Collezione Tagliavini: it is inside a church complex, and it displays medieval crypt and a mural crucifixion dating back to the XIII century, paintings, and rare musical instruments.
  • MAMBO: the Museum of Modern art that traces the history of italian art  from second World War to present day.
  • Exposition Johannes Vermeer

    Exposition Johannes Vermeer

Can you fall in love in Bologna?

Well if you haven’t fallen already for the city or the food, there are pretty high chances a pair of eyes will catch your  sight. The lovely porticos that go all around  Bologna are fantastic at night. Even kisses are sweeter under a slightly illuminated portico after a Nutella gelato.

Bologna portico

Line of porticos



Italy has one of the best cities in the world, and Bologna is one of them. Every spot is photogenic reminiscing the medieval and Renaissance eras.

Truly a time travelling experience! Stay tuned for the next Italian city!


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