Elizabeth Lifestyle Hotel Bologna
Via Ferrarese, 161
Elizabeth Lifestyle Hotel Bologna calls the Bolognina district – an area known for its street art, markets and tight-knit multicultural community – home. It’s a short bus ride from Piazza Maggiore and between half an hour to an hour’s walk to most of the
Bologna Airport is a 15-minute drive away. The hotel can arrange transfers for €50 each way.
Bologna Centrale is a 10-minute drive from the hotel. Direct services run there from Florence, Padua, Venice and Milan.
Bologna is easy to explore on foot, and extensive restricted zones – including most of the city centre – make driving tricky. If you do decide to bring wheels, there’s a car park at the hotel.
The Linea 25 bus runs from the Casaralta stop, right outside the hotel, to Piazza Maggiore. The journey should take around 25 minutes.
Worth getting out of bed for
In a hotel decked out in gallery-worthy pieces, it would be rude not to squeeze in some wall-gazing. See if you can spot Bruno Munari’s monochrome faces, Guido Scarabottolo’s surrealist illustrations and Elisa Talentino’s pastel-splashed screen prints. Pose for some retro snaps by the full-size Fiat 500 model – or admire it over an Aperol spritz at the bar. When you’re ready to roam, the street-art-clad Bolognina neighbourhood is on your doorstep.
Bologna lays claim to some of Italy’s favourite foods – tortellini, mortadella and, of course, the world-conquering ragù (traditionally served with tagliatelle, not spaghetti) are counted among its culinary creations. Fill your basket with Bolognese specialities at the Mercato delle Erbe, the largest covered market in town. Nearby, family-run bakery Paolo Atti & Figlia is a Bolognese institution – head there to pick up your panettoni, pappardelle and pasticcini in a time-warp of antique furnishings, right down to the original 19th-century shop sign.
If it’s mediaeval history you’re hankering for, stop by the city’s totemic Two Towers. Both built in the 12th century, each has its own claim to fame – Asinelli is the tallest in the city; Garisenda sees Pisa’s 3.97 degree lean and raises it a full four, a tilt so noteworthy Dante documented it in his Inferno.
The heart of the centro storico, Piazza Maggiore is home to a handful of Renaissance palazzi, as well as the Basilica di San Petronio – step inside to see Cassini’s Meridian Line, one of the snazziest astronomical instruments of the 17th century, then settle into a café with a cappuccino for some serious square-side people watching.
Pop to Pappare’ for a brunch that does it all: choose from fresh pastries, vegan bowls, all-the-trimmings pancake stacks and globe-trotting cooked dishes, washed down with coffee-snob-satisfying pour-over espresso. If it’s a bread-based lunch you’re looking for, head to Forno Brisa. Its sourdough loaves and artisan square slices of pizza come with a hearty helping of feel-good factor, thanks to its commitment to sustainability in all its guises – economic, social, agricultural, they have it all covered. The team of youngsters run their own farm to fuel their baking habit, and what they don’t grow themselves they source from tried-and-trusted local producers. Ristorante Donatello is something of a historic heavyweight. Since opening its doors over a century ago, the family-run joint has welcomed stars from Joséphine Baker and Federico Fellini to Andrea Bocelli and Roberto Baggio – and have the pictures to prove it hanging on the walls. Expect traditional local recipes – try the meat-stuffed tortellini – crafted from fresh seasonal produce, but be warned it doesn’t do dinner at weekends. Fine-diners flock to I Portici Restaurant, where head chef Emanuele Petrosino oversees a menu of Bolognese staples with a stylish slant. Opt for one of the tasting menus for dishes such as risotto Emiliano, rabbit alla cacciatora and lashings of Parmigiano-Reggiano – there’s a fully vegetarian version available, too.
If you’ve ever fancied yourself a palazzo-dwelling partier, 16th-century chapel turned bar Le Stanze is the place for you. Ask the master barmen for your favourite cocktail, then sit back and enjoy next to floor-to-ceiling frescoes for a night of Renaissance-inspired revelry.