Milan, Bologna and Rome: inspiring muses of Italian song
2 Feb 2024
The great Italian cities have always been a source of inspiration for the country's songwriters. With their peculiarities and, many times, complexities, they have been narrated by artists of all kinds, becoming the protagonists of absolute masterpieces.
An innovative way to soak in the atmosphere of the greatest Italian cities is to visit the places and neighbourhoods that have inspired the most famous songs in the Italian musical repertoire— songs that are still hummed by subsequent generations.
Here, then, is a truly special guide for 3 music-based itineraries in Milan, Bologna and Rome.
Milan, where every neighbourhood has its own genre
Milan, as a metropolis with a European feel, strongly lends itself to inspiring the lyrics of Italian artists. Its deep connection with music is confirmed by the high number of venues and events dedicated to the most diverse genres, from classical to rock music.
Autumn, for example, sees Milan Music Week, an entire week dedicated to music with a rich schedule of performances, live shows, webinars and workshops. This event, sponsored by the Municipality of Milan, highlights the importance of music for the fabric of the city.
In almost every neighbourhood in Milan, you can find at least one venue dedicated to live music, from clubs for concerts to bars for more intimate performances.
For an alternative evening, you could go to Isola, an eclectic neighbourhood rich in restaurants and home to the Blue Note, a truly national and international institution. Here, you can dine while listening to some of the most charismatic jazz artists. In the same area, you'll also find Frida, an indie-style bar where music, culture, and art feel at home.
A music-based itinerary must also include a stroll in the city centre: here stands the Teatro alla Scala, the Italian cradle of classical music with its own museum to visit in the absence of rehearsals and shows. A short distance away is the famous Piazza Duomo, used during the summer as a stage for spectacular concerts and musical events.
Fancy attending an exciting concert? Then there's nothing better than the San Siro neighbourhood, where you'll find the eponymous stadium—a mandatory stop for current artists—and the Hippodrome, which every year attracts tens of thousands of fans.
If you are spending a few days in Milan and want to discover the neighbourhoods and venues most dedicated to music, we recommend staying at Maison Milano | UNA Esperienze, an elegant hotel with 27 double rooms just a few steps from the famous spires. Its strategic location, close to the metro and tram stops, makes it easy to get around the city.
Finally, here are five songs to listen while exploring Milan:
- Roberto Vecchioni, Luci a San Siro
- Giorgio Gaber, Porta Romana
- Baustelle, Un Romantico a Milano
- Calcutta, Sorriso (Milano Dateo)
- Ghali, Milano
Bologna, the city of jazz and more
Many great Italian music artists have tied their lives and careers to Bologna: Lucio Dalla, Gianni Morandi, Francesco Guccini, Cesare Cremonini, and the list goes on. This city has always proven to be a lively cultural hub, and music is no exception.
Perhaps few know that Bologna is closely tied to jazz: Cantina Bentivoglio, in Via Mascarella 4/B, is a must-visit to enjoy a classy live performance in an unparalleled atmosphere. Other "themed" venues to visit include Bravo Caffè and Camera Jazz & Music Club.
If you are a fan of electronic music and its subcultures, Bologna is the right destination for you. Here you will find a veritable temple of this genre, Link, which hosts top international names. For those who like to keep up with independent music trends, there is the distinctive Covo Club on Viale Zagabria, inside a former farmhouse.
If you are coming from outside Bologna and want to spend a few days in the city, UNAHOTELS Bologna Centro is the perfect choice: besides its prestigious location, you can also enjoy its excellent restaurant, the Portico Restaurant by “UNA cucina”, where you can taste traditional local dishes.
Here is a short playlist of songs to listen to as you get lost in the arcades and hills of Bologna:
- Francesco Guccini, Bologna
- Lunapop, 50 Special
- Samuele Bersani, A Bologna
- Inoki, Bologna By Night 2004
- Luca Carboni, Bologna è una regola
Music on the streets of Rome
When talking about discovering cities to the rhythm of music, we cannot fail to mention Rome. The Eternal City offers many places to watch live performances.
Let's start with Vinile on Via Libetta, known for its vintage spirit: here you will find artistic performances of various genres. If you love the refinement of soul and jazz, then head to Charity Café in Rione Monti, a wine and cocktail bar where a carefully selected musical playlist goes perfectly with a good glass of wine.
On Via Ostiense, you will find Caffè Letterario, where music, books, and culture blend harmoniously with a 60s and 70s soundtrack.
Among the many hotels ready to welcome you during your Roman holidays, we recommend UNAHOTELS Trastevere Roma, located in the homonymous district famous for its vitality and representing the heart of city entertainment.
To conclude, here are five songs to listen to while walking through the streets of the Capital:
- Lando Fiorini, Roma nun fa la stupida stasera
- Antonello Venditti, Grazie Roma
- Gabriella Ferri, Chitarra Romana
- Colle Der Fomento, Il cielo su Roma
- Carl Brave & Franco126, Sempre in Due
Discover the Italian cities that protagonise the great classics of Italian music. All you need to do is follow one of these musical itineraries to experience Milan, Bologna and Rome in a unique and special way.