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The Delights of Bologna

With flag carrier British Airways set to launch a new service to the northern Italian city of Bologna in April next year, we thought it was time to look at the holiday possibilities to be found in this historic and fascinating destination.

Although Bologna may be best known in the UK for the much-loved dish, spaghetti bolognese, cheap holidays in the city will most certainly not revolve around it. With Bologna’s profusion of amazing delicatessens, cafés, bars and restaurants, simple spaghetti bolognese is very unlikely to be the extent of your culinary delights.

A massive variety of meats, cheeses, pasta, pastries and gateaus is available for the taking, all washed down with fantastic coffee or a couple of glasses of vino. It is not for nothing that Bologna is nicknamed “la grassa” – or “the fat one” – by Italians.

When it comes to attractions, the city is a network of grand historical buildings and bustling plazas where the old and new meet with a vibrant harmony.

The Piazza Maggiore lies in the heart of the old city, and one of this area’s attractions is a 16th-century bronze statue of Neptune and the Sirens. The vast 15th-century Basilica di San Petronio is also essential viewing, with the also impressive Basilica di Santa Stefano, the Museo Civico Archeologico and the Le Due Torri not far from the square.

Bologna has the oldest university in Europe and the University Quarter is always full of life, with its old buildings and lively café-bars full of students and young people.

The new BA service begins flying from Heathrow on April 29 and complements the existing service the airline operates to Bologna from Gatwick.