Cheap flights to Bologna
Bologna is Italy’s secret gem. It might not be as visited as the likes of Rome, Venice or Florence, but this medieval city is every bit as enticing, and with a reputation for having the best food in Italy, is well worth a visit.
A Roman street plan complete with perfectly preserved red brick medieval buildings and more than 35 kilometres of arcades make this city one of the most atmospheric in Europe. And when you’re not gawping at the Old Town you’ll be straining your neck to get a glimpse of the 13th century tower blocks that still stand.
While browsing the busy shops in Via Indipendenza, don't overlook the historic Cappelleria Trentini. This tiny mother-daughter set-up stocks highly coveted designer accessories (33 Via Indipendenza, +51 224 276).
Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring is at the centre of an exclusive exhibition of 17th-century Dutch paintings in Bologna, the only European stage of a world tour. Works by Rembrandt, Van Goyen and Steen are also on display (8 February - 25 May 2014, Palazzo Fava, 2 Via Manzoni, +51 275 4111, lineadombra.it).
Take bus No.52 from Piazza Cavour to one of Bologna's attractive hillside parks, Parco Cavaioni. There's an informal all-day cafe-restaurant in the beautifully renovated farmhouse and spacious grassy banks for sunbathing and picnics (1 Via Cavaioni, tel: 051 589 419, ca-shin.com).