Welcome to a beautiful city of terracotta-tiled roofs and stretching porticos where everyone and everything seems to just fit. Home to the oldest university in Europe (founded in 1088), a significant portion of Bologna’s population are university students. This takes a city that may have otherwise been inhabited solely by the conservative, uber-wealthy, and imbues it with the vibrancy and progressiveness of the learned youth. And accordingly, you have a city brimming with the avant-garde, fresh comedy, art, and music. Additionally, Bologna is a world-renowned hub of gastronomical delights, so if you’re a gourmet looking for that next culinary thrill this is the place to be. This article will convince you that Bologna ought to be at the top of your bucket list. So read this, add your favorite things to your BUCKiTDREAM list, then do what you need to do to get yourself and some friends out to the city of many names!

Bologna is the largest city and the capital of the Emilia-Romagna Region in Northern Italy. However, it doesn’t see the flood of tourists that other Italian cities see. Believe it or not, this is a good thing! In the absence of the onslaught of tourism, there is nothing to turn the city into a cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all, flavorless place. Instead, you get the authentic Italian experience. Dating back to 1000 BC, Bologna has built up an incredibly rich and diverse history.

Boost Your Morale With Blu’s Giant Mural Blu is the pseudonym of an Italian street artist who lives in Bologna. His artwork can be seen through the city, breathing life and playfulness through the streets. One of Blu’s most impressive works, a massive mural, is painted on the walls of Ex Mercato 24, just behind Bologna central station.

The piece represents a battle between two armies, two peoples: on the left are the authorities, police and upper class; the right side displays the common man fighting for justice and social equality. This is a tale lived out in Bologna’s past and seeing it laid out in technicolor on a huge wall really makes it stick in the mind.

Take Shelter Under a Portico The city landscape is filled with beautiful porticoes. In total, there are over 24 miles of porticoes in the city’s historical center, which makes Bologna ideal for long sheltered walks perusing bookstores, boutiques, or sitting outside coffee shops etc. The Portico di San Luca is the world’s longest. It links Porta Saragozza with the Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca, a church located on a hill overlooking the town – one of Bologna’s most popular landmarks.

A City Of Scholars Beginning as an international center for the study of medieval Roman law under major glossators, the University of Bologna has stood the test of time, remaining one of the most venerated and dynamic universities in Italy. Visitors may enter the old university library, where the ceilings are embellished with bright, vivid frescoes, and into the anatomical theater of times past, where bodies used to be dissected in the name of medicine.

Music To Our Ears! Bologna is the first UNESCO City of Music as of 26 May 2006. The city has proven a rich musical tradition that is continuously growing and morphing and the locals see music as an important part of contemporary life. The local government aims to use music to support cultural, social, and racial diversity and inclusion. And with a wide range of genres from classical to electronic, jazz, folk and opera, Bologna provides a musical smorgasbord of electricity that runs through the veins of the city’s professional, academic, social and cultural parts.

Head Down To the Fiera District The city’s Fiera District, its exhibition center, is one of the largest in Europe, with huge, annual international expos for the automobile sector, ceramics for the building industry and food industry. If you’re lucky enough to make it in time for one of these expos you’ll witness the district come alive with activity and excitement.

The Food Is To Die For In Bologna Bologna is world-renowned for its culinary creations and is considered the gastronomical center of Italy. We all have Bologna to thank for the universally loved bolognese sauce, amongst many other classic Italian dishes. We struggled to find a restaurant here that served anything less than the delightfully delectable – thanks to the consistently incredible, fresh, organic produce and passionate cooks. Whether you take a road trip out to the outstanding Enoteca Della Valpolicella for some fine dining haute cuisine, popping to the local Trattoria Osteria for some authentic delicacies or enjoying the morning ritual of coffee and pastries at Borsalino Cafe, just amble through the streets until a smell wafting your way that you cannot refuse. Follow that smell, you won’t be sorry!

And that brings us to the end of our time in Bologna! We’re certain that Bologna has just shot to the top of your bucket list. Now you’ve got to take that dream and make it a reality! Head out there with passion and curiosity and you will be heavily rewarded with a beautiful immersion into Italian culture. Be sure to add your favorite things to your BUCKiTDREAM list and go create some lasting memories.