Emirates has announced that from November it will be flying daily to Bologna in Italy. Here’s nine things every visitor to the capital of the famous Emilia-Romagna region should have on their to-do list.
Basilica Santo Stefano
This is a jumbled collection of four medieval churches. San Sepolcro, an 11th century building, is the most interesting to explore from its courtyard containing the Fontana di Pilato to its tomb of St Petronius, Bologna’s patron saint.
Via Santo Stefano, 24 +39 051 22 32 56 Open daily.
Founded in 1390, it originally was supposed to be larger than St Peter’s in Rome. However local church authorities at the time needed money to build the Palazzo Archiginnasio so the project was scaled back. The building, at 51 metres tall though still dominates the Piazza Maggiore, the city’s main square.
Restaurante i Portici
Arguably Bologna’s best dining experience, i Portici is located in the ornately decorated Eden Theatre at the i Portici Hotel. Boasting a Michelin Star, chef Agostina lacobucci delivers a modern twist on traditional Bolognese dishes. Mains such as suckling pig, celeriac cream, friarielli broccoli and grape must will set you back 28 Euro.
i Portici Hotel, Via Indipendenza 69 +39 051 421 85 62
Best view in Bologna
The Santuario della Madonna di San Luca is quite a way above the city but it is well worth the 30-minute climb. The view takes in the rolling hills of the local countryside, the new parts of the city, and you can access the basilica where Luke the Evangelist’s alleged painting of St Mary is on display.
Via di San Luca, 36 +39 051 614 23 39
When in Italy, why not learn how to make authentic pasta. The Agriturismo San Giuliano offers cooking classes for groups as small as two people. The only stipulation is that you have to be “passionate about cooking”. Classes are conducted in Italian, English, French and Spanish.
Agriturismo San Giuliano Pasta Course Via Galletta 3 +39 051 625 11 41
Piazza Santo Stefano is best for design objects like tables, lamps and chairs. At the Casa dello Sport you will find all the designer brands. If it is outlets you crave, then head to Castel Guelfo The Style which has more than 100 brand stores offering discounts of between 30 and 70 percent.
The University of Bologna, opened in 1088, is said to be the oldest in the world and its amazing Biblioteca (library) is the perfect place to absorb some of the city’s history. The building’s architecture is almost as interesting as the books.
Via Zamboni, 35 +39 051 243420
An aperitivo is an Italian tradition. At 6pm restaurants in this city open their doors and guests arrive ordering Prosecco, Lambrusco or a Spritz. The good news is the drinks tend to cost as little as 4 Euro and the restaurants usually serve free pizza to keep people drinking.
The perfect base
Bologna is the perfect place to rent a room and explore some of Italy’s other great cities. Bologna is only 90 minutes from Florence (famous for many things including its great shopping), 100 minutes from Verona (Romeo and Juliet), 70 minutes from Parma (prosciutto and cheese) and just over two-hours from Pisa (leaning tower).
Emirates will start a daily service to Bologna, Italy, from November 3. It will be Emirates’ fourth Italian destination bringing Emirates’ weekly flights to Italy to 56. Passengers to and from Bologna will enjoy unrivalled comfort and amenities on board Emirates’ Boeing 777-300ER which is equipped with eight luxurious private suites in First Class, 42 of its latest lie-flat seats in Business Class, and generous space for 310 passengers in Economy Class. Throughout all cabin classes, passengers can enjoy more than 2000 channels of entertainment on demand on ice, the airline’s award-winning in-flight entertainment system. Passengers on all Emirates flights also have the added bonus of a generous baggage allowance with 30 kilograms for those travelling in Economy Class, 40 kilograms for Business Class and 50 kilograms in First Class. Bologna is the 38th European destination that Emirates travels to.
This article first appear in the Sydney Morning Herald’s Traveller section.