Italy's travel guide 2019: in January discover Bologna

Are you looking for a city break destination to kick off your travel plans in the New Year?

20 Dec 2018

Whether you're into history, gastronomy, or just want to chill out in a laid-back student city, Bologna has more than enough to fill a short break. Gruppo UNA also offers plenty of premium accommodation within easy reach of the historic centre.

To help you choose, let's run through a few more attractions that make visiting this northern Italian gem a great way to begin your Italy travel in 2019.

Savour the region's famous dishes.

The birthplace of famous pasta dishes and products like Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena, Emilia Romagna occupies a very special place in Italy's food culture. But as always when visiting Italy, you'll also find some culinary surprises.

But don't expect spaghetti Bolognese in every trattoria. It's actually not widely eaten in the city. Instead, Bologna's pasta menus are crammed with freshly prepared egg pasta dishes like tagliatelle al ragù or homemade tortellini stuffed with beef and topped with Parmesan (another regional invention).

Cold mortadella sausage combined with crusty bread makes the perfect snack in between museums, while visitors with a sweet tooth can dip Torta di Riso in coffee - the ideal breakfast pick-me-up.

Be sure to branch out while you're there and try foods you're unfamiliar with. Sample lesser-known cheeses like Raviggiolo, or order platters featuring exquisite cured meats like Culatello di Zibello. Bologna is an amazing dining destination.

Learn about a great Renaissance centre.

In the medieval era, Bologna was one of Europe's largest cities, functioning as a seat of learning and an artistic powerhouse. That reputation remains, almost a thousand years after the university was founded in 1088. So if you love history, Bologna is the ideal place to head for Italy travel in 2019.

The historic core of the city is superbly preserved, and wandering its piazzas and alleyways is a magical experience. When you do, stunning churches, porticoes and palaces will emerge from nowhere - so have your smartphone camera handy wherever you go. Few cities are as photogenic.

For instance, there's the Neptune Fountain in Piazza Maggiore, the cavernous Gothic interior of the Basilica of St. Petronius, and the Portico di San Luca, which boasts exceptional views of rural Emilia Romagna. There are even a couple of Renaissance "leaning towers". They may be a little alarming at first, but the views from the top are incredible.

Take in some first-class Italian culture.

You could easily spend a break in Bologna wandering the streets, taking in the atmosphere. But that would really be a big mistake, because the city has an outstanding collection of museums and galleries, offering something for everyone.

For example, inside the university, you can visit the Archiginnasio Anatomical Theater - one of the most important sites in the history of medicine. And you can go further back, deep into ancient history, with the Etruscan and Roman finds in the Museo Civico Archeologico.

But a visit to an Italian Renaissance city would not be complete without a feast of art, and Bologna certainly delivers. The Pinacoteca Nazionale hosts a stunning range of Renaissance masterpieces by artists like Raphael or Titian, while the Collection Comunali d'Arte (Municipal Museum) matches up a beautifully restored Renaissance interior with another remarkable collection of masterworks.

Even better, with a Bologna Welcome Card, you can enjoy free admission to all of these attractions. Just ask our concierges and they'll be delighted to explain how the card works.

Visit Bologna in January to start the New Year in style.

Art, history and fine dining can be enjoyed in Bologna throughout the year, but there are some reasons to visit that can only be appreciated in January. In 2019, the Collection Comunali welcomes a fine Hokusai exhibition, while the Palazzo Albergati features the story of Andy Warhol's's eventful life.

Then there's the weather. While Bologna may be a little chilly in January, that's actually a good thing. The covered porticoes become even more magical with snow on the ground and frost on your breath, and the city's 'comfort food' is at its best on crisp winter evenings.

Make a date with Gruppo UNA to visit Bologna.

All of this makes visiting Bologna one of the best ways to start your travels in 2019. At Gruppo UNA, we would love to have you at one of our locations in and around this wonderful city, and we know you'll have an unforgettable time.

Our Bologna hotels provide a modern, comfortable setting for city breaks, and you can choose between locations in the historic centre or the city's outskirts. Wherever you pick, you'll find a warm welcome, expert advice, and everything you need for a superb start to 2019.