Last updated: 09:00 PM ET, Sun April 10 2016

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  • Worldwide Scott | April 10, 2016 9:00 PM ET

    You Could Always Go to Bologna, Italy

    You Could Always Go to Bologna, Italy

    Photos by Worldwide Scott except where indicated

    When we dream of going to Italy (and we all dream of going to Italy at some point in our lives), we don't typically spend too much time thinking about Bologna. Nope, it's usually the “big three” of Rome, Venice, and Florence that tend to star in our Italian fantasy films, with places like Cinque Terre, Lake Como, Verona, and wherever that place was that Diane Lane lived in “Under The Tuscan Sun” playing supporting roles.

    Yep, Bologna typically gets passed over on most Italian itineraries, but you could always still go there. Why? Well, let's count just a few of the reasons.

    The Food, the Food, and Oh Yeah, the Food

    All right, let's get the obvious out of the way, first. Yes, the questionable meat-like product that you find at your local supermarket’s deli section called bologna (pronounced balon-ey by most of us) is inspired by Bologna's famed mortadella. In Bologna though, you'll find delicatessens fresh-shaving and cubing the real thing and bars serving it as an hors d'oeuvre at happy hour, and your taste buds will be thrilled to find a snack that is more fit for an extravagant feast than the lunch meat aisle.

    READ MORE: Cinque Terre Express Train Is First Step to Alleviating Congestion

    This, my friends, is just the tip of the iceberg. Rich egg pastas like tagliatelle and tortellini are both Bolognese specialties, and the tagliatelle here is typically served with another speciality of Bologna: Bolognese sauce, or if you prefer, ragu or “spaghetti sauce.” Yes, the rich red sauce of minced beef and stewed tomatoes started right here in Bologna, Italy, and you will find a fantastic version on nearly every restaurant’s menu — never served with spaghetti though.

    The Plentiful Porticos

    Porticos are these arched walkway things that were plentiful in medieval cities of yesteryear. After a trip to Bologna, you will be very familiar with them, and maybe even a little infatuated with them. Bologna has over 25 miles of these quintessentially European arcades; including a stretch of 600-plus that leads uphill to the famed Sanctuary of the Madonna of San Luca. In addition to being easy on the eyes, porticos provide fantastic shelter during dicey winter weather or the beating summer sun.

    The Leaning Towers

    Sorry Pisa, but Bologna is home to not one, but two famous leaning towers, and these torre are older and taller than yours. The two towers of Bologna are located directly in the city center, and you can even climb one — the Asinelli Tower — if you are up for it. The leaning towers of Bologna were built in medieval times as a form of security for wealthy families, and history has it that the city used to be home to over 150 of them.

    The Fabulous Fontana di Nettuno

    Photo via Flickr/tpholland

    This fountain located just off Bologna's main piazza is grand, and presents a slice of exactly what you came to Italy for in the first place. In fact, if I blindfolded you and revealed this statue, you'd know immediately what country you were in, it's just that “Italian.” Gracing the city since the 1500s, the fountain is perfect for picnics during the day or having a glass of wine by at night. 

    READ MORE: Get to Know Florence, Italy

    The Vibe

    Bologna has always been a university town, and this laid back yet hip vibe permeates the city. And since Bologna only gets a fraction of the tourists of some other Italian cities, it still feels overwhelmingly Italian. A walk through the Giardini Margherita Park full of school kids in the afternoon or grabbing gelato at night at the drool-inducing La Sorbetteria Castiglione here still feels like an authentic experience, not a cattle call.

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Worldwide Scott The Adventures of Worldwide Scott

Worldwide Scott Born in the U.S.A like Springsteen but trying to see the world like Pitbull, Worldwide Scott is the voice behind the hard-hitting travel site of the same name. Employing a groundbreaking strategy of visiting destinations, coming home, and then writing things about them on the internet, Worldwide Scott only tackles the tough questions that other writers wouldn't dare touch: Is travelling fun? Are there pretty places in the world? Do people in other countries wear clothes? Does Europe really exist? And if so, what's the beer like there? Stick around, he's going places.
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