Bologna offers a chance to rest and savour before joining the masses of tourists in Florence and Venice. Surrounded by hills, the city's centre is still much as it was during the Renaissance: dusky red-coloured buildings, wide piazzas and arched porticoes with floors laid with marble. Medieval wealth led to a building boom and every well to do family left its mark in the form of a tower - 180 in all, of which 15 still stand.
The best part? Walk the medieval streets and sit in the Piazza Maggiore on a hot summer evening and just soak up the ambience.
18 Jun 2005 - Bologna, ItalyThe next day was spent touring the city, visiting the markets and generally just wandering the streets. A good rest point and place to start exploring is from the Piazza Maggiore - the place I was last night. Its also another good place to rest and regain your bearings - particularly if you have the shadow of the Basilica de San Petronio behind you. A trip up the two towers - le due torri - is notable. Not just for it being a long hard trudge up the 498 steps (of the tallest tower), but also for the views across the city.
Bologna - Piazza Maggiore
Some of Bologna's most graceful medieval monuments fringe the Piazza Maggiore and adjoining Piazza del Nettuno. These bustling pedestrianised squares are the focal point of the city.
Bologna - In front of the Basilica de San Petronio
Resting in the shade of the Basilica in Piazza Maggiore.
Bologna - Piazza Maggiore and Basilica de San Petronio
Taken from the Piazza del Nettuno looking across the Piazza Maggiore at where the photo above was taken from.
Bologna - Le Due Torri
The two slender towers that rise above the city are unmistakable land marks. The taller one, Torre degli Asinelli is the taller one at 97.6m. Amazingly, this was built in 1109. The second tower cannot be entered because of a precarious tilt but is 'only' 48m anyway.
Bologna - View from Le Due Torri
From the Torre degli Asinelli you get magnificent views of the city. From this vantage point you can see the hills overlooking the city.
17 Jun 2005 - Bologna, ItalyMy arrival in Bologna was the first stage of a long weekend to be spent in Bologna, Rimini and San Marino. Arriving in Bologna late, we had time to check in and walk through this atmospheric city into the centre of the old town to soak up the atmosphere of a warm Italian evening. Piazza Maggiore is the old town centre beset on all sides by a notable monument, sitting on the steps in a spot which probably hasn't changed for hundreds of years is a more than enjoyable way to spend an evening.