For my trip to Italy last September, Bologna was on the itinerary from the get-go. The reasons for this were twofold – for one thing, it’s the sister city to Portland, where I live, and I thought that was cool. The other reason is that it’s the heart of the food region of what I consider to be “the” food country, and the husband is something of an amateur chef. The man had to worship at the church, if you will, of parmigiano-reggiano.
The immediate problem, however, was that Bologna isn’t a tourist city – it’s a business center and university town, which meant the hotel “deals” were few and far between. Most of the decently-priced hotels were near the city’s exhibition center – perfectly placed for business travelers, less than ideal for tourists who wanted to walk everywhere. I finally found a hotel that looked perfect for us, and it turned out to be excellent.
Hotel Centrale is just as central as the name would indicate – it’s only a couple of blocks away from the Piazza Maggiore, the heart of the interesting-to-tourists part of the city. The staff were really gracious and helpful, pointing out their favorite pizza places and out-of-the-way restaurants when we asked. It’s a friendly and well-placed hotel in the heart of a city that doesn’t seem to make it onto the tourist radar, which is a great thing if you’re trying to practice your Italian (like we were!).