Ask many Italians and – if they’re being honest and not just saying their mother’s cooking is the best – they’ll tell you the cuisine of the Emilia-Romagna region is Italy’s best. And Bologna, as the capital of the Emilia-Romagna, is sort of like the food capital of the country. This is, after all, where Italian staples such as egg pasta, prosciutto and Parma ham, and Bolognese sauce come from.
Bologna is a good-sized city, but so far it doesn’t have the tourist influx that nearby cities like Florence or Perugia have. It’s home to Europe’s oldest university, which means there’s a young and interentional vibe to the city despite a lack of tourists on the scale of Florence, and there are several cathedrals that are well worth seeing. Still, a highlight of any visit to Bologna is bound to be the food, including potential day trips to nearby Parma (for the ham) and Modena (for the balsamic vinegar). Car enthusiasts will also be pleased to know that Ferrari and Lamborghini are headquartered nearby.