Known as “la grassa,” the fat, Bologna is the gastronomic capital of Italy and the surrounding area is home to the slow food movement. Enjoy homemade tortellini, world famous mortadella, as well as Fabbri’s amarena, a wild cherry syrup sold in decorative blue and white opaline jars. Si mangia bene, si spende poco: you eat well and don’t spend a lot of money, is the common refrain.

Boasting one of the country’s great medieval cityscapes, including the Garisenda and Asinelli towers that date back to the Middle ages, Bologna is known for its 24 miles of arcaded porticoes. It is a vibrant city that boasts the oldest university in Western Europe, with Dante as one of its alums.

Be sure and see Piazza Maggiore, the main square, which is home to Neptune’s fountain; as well as the churches of Santo Stefano, San Domenico, and San Petronio. The art museum, Pinacoteca, near the University is worth a trip. The open air market not too far the train station, is a great place to find clothing and food bargains. The market occurs every Saturday. The Teatro Comunale, has an excellent reputation as does the archeological museum.