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katiawt Nov 21st, 2017 12:12 PM

Is Bologna ok for a 3 months stsy?
My husband an I are planning a 3 months stay in, maybe Bologna.
We are a middle age couple that do like bars and restaurants, we like to walk an travel.
We do not drive so we need good public transportation.
We want to live like locals... We did this experience in Palermo, in Lyon and in Montreal. All 3 wonderful experiences!!
I am a little afraid that as Bologna has almost half of it's population of students it turns out a little difficult, as you become a "grandma" everywhere. Is it true? I had this feeling in Montpellier and it is not very nice ��.
Thoughts ? Sugestions of other towns??

carrom Nov 21st, 2017 12:28 PM

It's an unusual choice but why not! One of the advantages of Bologna is that you can take the train and get to Florence, Rome, Verona etc in just a few hours. I would however suggest Rome as there is so much to see and in 3 months you could live like locals and make the most of it.

ekscrunchy Nov 21st, 2017 01:11 PM

I did not feel "old" in Bologna even though I am well past the average student age. I think it would be sublime to spend three months there.

annhig Nov 21st, 2017 02:08 PM

When are you planning on doing this? I'm going to be spending 2 weeks there in February at a language school so after that I'd be able to give you a much better idea of what it's like.

From what I've already learnt, I'd have thought that it would make an excellent base. There are loads of terrific cafes and restaurants, plenty of museums and other "old stuff", those students will keep the place lively, and it seems to be reasonably cheap. It is, as Carrom says, very convenient for getting trains to loads of places - Ravenna, Modena, Parma, Ferrara, Padua are all within an hour or so's travel.

Hope you find somewhere that suits you.

danon Nov 21st, 2017 04:58 PM

what eks said.

Dukey1 Nov 21st, 2017 06:32 PM

OK, if you go over to those two towers and they seem younger than you are then yes, you are in trouble.

IMO you are worrying over something that is not an issue, or shouldn't be.

bvlenci Nov 22nd, 2017 03:05 AM

Bologna is one of my favorite cities in Italy. My husband, who's not the urban type says Bologna is one of the few cities he'd consider living in. There's plenty of cultural life, excellent restaurants. It's also a center of medical excellence. We go there to consult medical specialists of one sort or another.

I must say, that although the students do give a certain vivacity to Bologna, but it's not always 100% positive. There's a certain anarchist contingent that's in perpetual protest, and very much in evidence near the university, with graffiti, a cloud of marijuana smoke, and territorial marking of various sorts (such as sleeping in the piazza, and using the side streets at toilets).It's not a safety problem; I don't hesitate to go anywhere in the center at night, and there are plenty other parts of the city where you won't see any of this.

For someone relying solely on public transportation, Bologna is the ideal base. You can get to almost any part of Italy with little trouble.

Bologna doesn't have the best climate in Italy. It tends to be cold and damp in the winter and hot and muggy in the summer.

Southam Nov 22nd, 2017 06:03 AM

Great place to visit for us old codgers. Students do not seem to overrun the city in the way tourists crowd Venice and Florence and, to some extent, Rome. Plus the restaurant scene is very inviting. You might get a sense of the place from the city-run tourist authority:

EYWandBTV Nov 22nd, 2017 06:35 AM

We just got back from two weeks in Emilia Romagna; we only spent two nights in Bologna but liked it very much. We walked a lot through the historic center, from the train station at the northern end to our hotel at the southern end, and all around the basilica and the Quadrilatero. We did not feel that the city was awash with undergraduates. It had a very pleasant feeling, to us, not mobbed with tourists, not clogged with shops selling souvenir junk. Almost all of the streets in the center are lined with beautiful porticoes, a plus if it's rainy.

We used easy train connections to several places: Mantova (1 hour, direct), Ravenna (same), Faenza (half hour), and the beautiful mountain village of Brisighella (half hour to Faenza, change trains, then only ten minutes to Brisighella). Ferrara, Modena, and Parma are also close by, less than an hour by direct train.

Bologna has a multitude of museums, historic churches, and wonderful districts to wander around. The Quadrilatero area just on the side of the basilica is foody heaven full of cafes and great shops selling all manner of pasta, cheeses, and cured meats.

We only scratched the surface during our two days visit. I think you would enjoy a three-month stay very much.

bvlenci Nov 22nd, 2017 07:58 AM

I didn't want to give the impressions that the center of Bologna is overrun with students. As I said, and as Southam confirms, you wouldn't notice them in most of the city. However, when choosing lodgings, I'd hesitate to stay in the precincts of the university.

katiawt Nov 22nd, 2017 10:40 AM

Thanks everyone. It's decided, Bologna there we go !!

annhig Nov 22nd, 2017 12:38 PM

buon viaggio, katiawt.

Please come back and tell us how you got on, if only briefly, as few of us have the advantage of a 3 month stay anywhere, except at home.

joduhl Dec 28th, 2017 06:37 AM

Not sure if you have already made your Bologna decision, but I just saw this post, as I was perusing Fodors on this very very cold Vermont day in order to focus on some future warmth. My husband & I were in Bologna 2 years ago in late April - we rented an apartment for a week and loved it. It is a very vibrant city - great street culture, history, architecture, food. In fact, we took a day trip by train to Florence & thought why do we need Florence when we have Bologna. We stayed at a great apartment on a pedestrian street with many restaurants and bars. We found the apartment through VRBO and highly recommend.

Bologna is a young city, but because of that very vibrant. We were there in the spring, which was a good time to be there. I suspect it gets hot and muggy in the summer.

BTW, I loved your post about your southern Spain trip and am inspired to begin planning ours for the coming spring - spring is coming is my refrain today!!

goddesstogo Dec 28th, 2017 08:09 PM

We were in Turin, Bologna and Cortona in October (a week in each) and we loved Bologna. It's a really lively, interesting city and as others have said, easy to walk, manage by public transportation and travel by rail. My SO is a university prof and we would only ever live in a city that had a university. There's a certain vibrancy to university towns and there's always something going on that non-students can participate in.

I think it's a great choice!

IMDonehere Dec 29th, 2017 05:56 AM

Is Bologna safe or relatively safe from earthquakes?

bvlenci Dec 29th, 2017 09:07 AM

Bologna is considered at medium risk for earthquakes.

IMDonehere Dec 29th, 2017 12:31 PM

Thank you Bvlenci

dfourh Dec 30th, 2017 04:07 PM

Just a note: I LOVE Bologna in the winter, but don't enjoy it that much in the summer. For one thing, in the summer, the students are gone. The simmering buzz of student and academic life is a real plus, to me. And in summer, it is frickin' blazing humid hot, so that you have to walk under the porticos to keep in the shade - - it's a bit oppressive, and a bit sterile in comparison to broad-strolling cooler months.

In winter, the city is gorgeous. Especially when it gets dark, the medieval character is all lit up - - totally atmospheric. The food shop lanes are still all bustling, but the lighting is really nice. There might be a nip in the air, but it makes the cozy spots all the cozier, the aperitivo joints all the livelier, and everything just beautifully lit (as opposed to hours of direct sun).

Here's some Bologna in the darker season:

annhig Dec 31st, 2017 03:29 AM

thanks, dfourh, for a very timely post and those great photos. It's less than 6 weeks now before I set off on my trip to Italy, first to Venice for a few days, and then to Bologna for 2 weeks at a language school. I chose Bologna partly because it's reasonably easy to get to from my part of the UK, and partly because I've never been there before, and 2 weeks there should enable me to get to know it reasonably well.

Besides the places that feature in your photos, any other tips to give me?

goddesstogo Dec 31st, 2017 06:03 AM

if you're interested in a one-day cooking class, I'll give you that info. We had a great time at ours -- small group (5 people, 2 teachers) and starting off in the market area doing the shopping. It was lots of fun. We made ragu, tortoloni, gnocchi and tagliatelle and then ate it all!

Also, from Bologna we did a day trip to Ravenna (by train) to see the the Byzantine mosaics which are so gorgeous they really shouldn't be missed. We walked around on our own but you can do a tour.

Something else that shouldn't be missed in Bologna is the music museum (} if only to see the magnificent trompe l'oeil wall paintings.

I'm so envious of your trip!

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