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Bologna accommodation is pretty appealing too, with many of the best hotels set in historic buildings...
A marvellous medieval skyline casts shadows on the squares and streets of Bologna, the capital of the Emilia-Romagna region in the north of Italy, where an animated local population – many of whom are students – add vibrancy, fresh attitudes and exuberance to the fascinating fabric of this historical city: a fabric as colourful as the nearby lush green hills; the vivid blue skies above; the greens of old rooftop domes; and the reds, oranges, yellows and browns of Bologna's buildings.
Known as “la rossa”, for the favoured reds of the architecture and left-wing political beliefs, and also “la grassa”, or the fat lady, for reasons that will become apparent when you sample the delicious local cuisine – whatever you call Bologna, getting to know this fair city is easy thanks to friendly locals and easy-going manners.
Finding a cheap hotel in Bologna is also easy with the help of TravelSupermarket. Tell us when you want to go using our search tool and we’ll show you the best deals available on every kind of Bologna hotel. All you have to do is book, pack and savour the unique tastes of Bologna.
Find out where to stay with our lowdown on the best Bologna hotels...
Hotels in Bologna are spread around the city, though you'll need to stay as centrally as possible if you want the main attractions right on your doorstep. Most of the sights worth seeing are found in the historic centre; Piazza Maggiore is at its very heart. Luxury hotels in gorgeously converted old buildings are dotted around this central area, with a price tag to match the excellent location and top facilities.
You'll find a huge range of locally run and managed properties in the city as well as some of the big international brands including Best Western, Novotel, NH Hotels, Holiday Inn Express and Mercure.
Cheaper accommodation can be booked in the outlying areas of the centre, though many visitors wish to stay within the road that rings the inner city to be close to the highlights of Bologna.
Bologna hotels are generally housed in extraordinary buildings that have seen a few decades. Charm and tradition abound in this type of accommodation, though you might have to accept a few creaks in floors and the infrequent appearance of air conditioning.
New, modern and roomier hotels, often offering better facilities but less charm, are situated beyond the ring road in the newer districts of Bologna. Be prepared for a trek into town to see the sights.
Towers, churches, fountains… man has been hard at work enhancing what Mother Nature gave Bologna...
Top five attractions
Torre degli Asinelli
One of the two leaning towers of Bologna, this nearly 100m-high landmark puts 498 steps between the ground and glorious views from the top.
Basilica of San Petronio
The most important church in the region – and one of the world's biggest – this mighty structure is worth a tour.
Santa Maria della Vita
Another church that demands a few hours, this is a beauty of Bologna.
See the Fountain of Neptune standing proudly at the centre of this beautiful square.
Ducati, Ferrari, Lamborghini: whichever motor maker gets your engine revving, you can find out more than you'd ever want to know at their respective Bologna museums.
No-one wants a boring holiday album to show friends, so make sure yours stands out when you attend any of Bologna’s top annual events…
Carnival; February: The historical centre of Bologna bursts with modern life during carnival time, when parade floats snake through the streets.
Bologna Music Festival; throughout summer: The calming sounds of classical music sit comfortably within the historic and beautiful venues in Bologna.
Vinegar Festival at Medina; May-June: Less than an hour from Bologna, taste the famous flavour of Medina with a festival to celebrate balsamic vinegar. Special menus and cookery classes are available.