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The ancient city of Bologna is one of northern Italy’s most beautiful, a seductive sprawl of terracotta-red roofs, narrow medieval alleyways and wide, open piazzas, where the townsfolk still spend their evenings chatting and socialising. It’s a welcoming place, with a long and illustrious history to explore, but it also has a modern side, thanks to its busy student population, soaring business district and one of the nation’s best culinary scenes (no mean feat when you consider the competition).
Book a hire car in Bologna and you’ll enjoy unrestrained access to the entire city and the epic landscapes that surround it. And what landscapes they are; the picturesque Po Valley is a green and fertile place, and its upper heights are home to some excellent skiing during winter.
The city has its own transit hub in nearby Bologna Airport. Book your hire car in advance, and you can be in the city centre in about 30 minutes. From there it’s easy to make trips to some of the surrounding cities. The nearest is Florence, about 80 minutes south on the E35, although San Marino (two hours) and Verona (two hours) are both within striking distance.
Book your hire car in Bologna and you’ll have your pick of a wide range of trusted and reliable providers. Popular brands include Europcar, Interrent and Firefly EU, or you can choose an Italian provider like Maggiore or Sicily by Car.
When you arrive in Bologna, make a beeline for the two towers of Garisenda and Asinelli, in Porto Ravegnana square. Built in the 12th century, these two structures have long been among the tallest in the city, and offer incredible views over the rooftops below. The taller, Asinelli, is almost 100 metres high.
Bologna is full of historical sites like this. As well as the beautiful churches of Santo Stefano and San Petronio, you should make time to visit the Museo Civico Archeologico. This archaeological museum is home to treasures from the Celtic, Greek, Egyptian and Roman civilisations, as well as rare finds from the Etruscans, who inhabited these lands long before the Romans arrived.
The city also has some top-class, modern museums, including the Bologna Museum of Modern Art, which includes works by local hero Giorgio Morandi. Or, if you fancy something completely different, head to the Ducati Museum. The motorbike manufacturer has been based in the city since 1926 and the factory and museum are a must-visit for petrol-heads.
Italy drives on the right-hand side of the road, and drivers are required to keep their licence, ID and insurance documents in the car with them at all times. Be aware that local motorists will only use their indicators occasionally. You should carry on using yours as normal, but follow vehicles with enough space to allow for sudden movements.
Ready to start planning your own trip to Bologna or Italy? Start with this Bologna city guide, and then use the Expedia search tool to track down the best deals on flights and hotels, and to research all the best attractions.
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