I can’t count how many times we passed by Bologna traveling by car, by motorcycle, by train, by bus and of course with our camper van. But rethinking about it, I’d say that all these times we merely avoided the big city of Emilia Romagna, with the excuse that we have to go elsewhere. We were simply convinced that it wasn’t worth a visit … What a big mistake!
This time the timing was almost perfect. We had to accompany our son to the airport of Bologna to catch his early morning flight. We had the whole day ahead of us so we decided to visit Bologna, for-just-a-walk, we said. We stayed for the entire week and yet we didn’t want to leave!
According to our plan we had to arrive close Bologna the evening before the flight; we decided to spent the night at the camper area of Calderara di Reno [44.55943,11.26951], a village just a few kilometers away from the airport. The camper area is very quiet although it may seem to someone a bit remote and isolated. The discharge of the toilet and of the waste water is for free, but for the water supply there is a fee (10cent / 10 liters). Unfortunately the column with the electrical hookups was out of order.
After we spotted the rv area, we moved to the central square of the village, the piazza della Pace [44.56267,11.27205] where we bought a couple of tasteful, take away (da asporto) pizzas. There is ample space for parking; if you don’t care much about noise, it could be a nice and definitely more central spot for sleeping .
Next morning we arrived at the airport G. Marconi of Bologna just in time for the departure. What a hell of a place! It is literally impossible to park a camper for a short time. The only option that you have is to enter the long-term parking and to pay the disproportionate amount of 10 €, even if you want to stop just for a few minutes. What did we do? The same thing many others did. We stopped at the side of the rotunda and we say our goodbyes.
Thankfully we were more lucky with the parking in downtown Bologna! We found a parking spot that had everything we were looking for: it was close enough to the center (just half an hour walk), safe and free [44.5168, 11.33235]. What more one would want?
We stayed for 7 wonderful days during which we experienced the best of what this great city has to offer. Setting aside the endless array of attractions (palaces, museums, churches etc.), we saw 11 photo exhibitions, one painting exhibition, an educational talk with the brilliant Piergiorgio Odifreddi and finally a surprise concert in a courtyard
Below, the Neptune statue and the Sala Borsa, an impressive public library.
The Τwo Τowers (Due Torri), is definitely Bologna’s landmark.
It’s no exaggeration to say that Bologna is an endless row of porches. More precisely it boasts having the longest one in the world! The porche is 4 kilometers long and it ends to the Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca (photo bottom left). We walked half of it starting from the square of Meloncello. It took us 30 minutes to walk up to the church. The parking in the Meloncello area costs 1.50 € / h.; have in mind that it is prohibited to go to the top of the hill where the church stands, with your camper or with any other high vehicle.
The palace of Archiginnasio is one of the most interesting places to visit; in the top right photo, you can see the courtyard (free entrance). For the Anatomical Theatre and the hall Stabat Mater (photo below) there is a combined ticket (3€),
There is a corner in Bologna where the sacred mingles with the profane (photo above)! Just look at the details of the buildings... In the photo on the right, the square of the Servi di Maria.
Below, one of the photo exhibitions that we were lucky enough to see. The works of Pierre Gonnord were hosted in the impressive hall of the Genus Bononiae of Santa Maria della Vita.
Above, the ‘surprise’ concert of Max Gazzè, outside the Feltrinelli.
Below, two aspects of modern Bologna. The unique exhibition space of the Mast (left) and the museum of modern art Mambo (right).
And finally, the restaurant inside the very nice market of the Herbs (mercato delle Erbe) … Not bad at all, don’t you think?