Last weekend, whilst everyone back in London was cracking open their chocolate Easter eggs, I was strolling the orange-kissed, winding streets of stunning Bologna. Craving a bit of mild European spring weather, we flew to Italy to spend the Easter weekend and chose to visit Bologna, a city that had been long on my list to visit.
Bologna itself is famous for quite a few things. Firstly, of course, is its ragù which the world outside Italy have adopted as “Spaghetti Bolognese.” That dish doesn’t actually exist as spaghetti comes from the south of Italy and ragu from the north. Instead, in Bologna you find the authentic version, tagliatelle al ragù, which I munched on in the pretty courtyard of a traditional trattoria, Teresina. The city is also famous for having the world’s longest portico (a series of continuous archways) with over 666 arches stretching nearly 4KM long. These winding archways are like a photographer’s paradise – the repetition drawing you in, wondering where it might end.
What I loved most about this city was how local it was. Architecturally, it’s as beautiful as the rest of Italy, but isn’t packed with tourists flocking from all over. If you look at an ariel photograph of the city, you’ll see there are no modern buildings, it remains exactly how it was all those years ago. There was a very relaxed feeling about our day there, although it’s a wealthy city in the Emilia Romagna region home to some of the biggest car names in the world, it still felt calm. People sat on the squares sipping their espressos, others cycled the windy streets with a fresh bunch of flowers in their basket, and we enjoyed some prosecco and cheese under the sun. It’s these traditional, local cities that I want to see more of in Italy, to discover the true Italian way of life. I seem to return to the country often, fuelling the mediterranean part of my heritage, which is a part of me I have to put on pause when living in the beautiful choas of London!
If, like me, you’re a keen traveller, you should try out this fun travel quiz I discovered recently. It tests you to see how many places you can guess from their list of secret destinations – have a go!