• Bologna and Ravenna – two of Italy’s hidden gems

    by  • November 3, 2016 • Bologna, City Breaks, Culture Breaks, Food & Drink, Multi Centre Breaks, Ravenna

    The two cities make an ideal twin centre city break


    When asked to name any Italian cities worth visiting for a short city break, the names of Venice, Florence and Rome trip off the tongue almost immediately.  All three of these cities certainly are well worth a visit and indeed each of them probably warrants at least two visits as there is so much to see and enjoy in each city.  However, nowadays many people are keen to visit somewhere new in addition to the old favourites.

    This is where the lesser known cities of Bologna and Ravenna step up to the mark.  Bologna is the largest city and the capital of the Emilia Romagna region in northern Italy.  Although it is well known to Italians, the charms of Bologna are far less well known to visitors from abroad.  It is considered second only to Venice in beauty by many Italians and possesses one of the largest and best preserved historic centres among Italian cities. The city centre is characterised by miles of attractive covered walkways, known as “porticos.”  Bologna has the oldest university in continental Europe and therefore a large student population and some lively nightlife.

    The city is famed for its gastronomy, being the home of tortellini and mortadella sausage, tagliatelle and ragù, to name just a few of the delicacies for which it is famous. It is one of the best places in Italy for eating out in terms of quality of food and also value for money

    Bologna combines very well with Ravenna to make a fascinating twin centre city break. The two cities lie only about 80 kilometres (fifty miles) apart from each other, and the distance can easily be covered by fast train in little over an hour.

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    Capital of the Western Roman Empire for three centuries beginning in 402, Ravenna is the perfect place to head for a couple of days of culture.  The city is a haven for art lovers and historians alike. There are spectacular displays of early Christian and Byzantine mosaics at various locations across the city. In fact, for mosaic lovers, Ravenna has been described as “an earthly paradise.”! As a result of its incredible mosaics, the city was put on the Unesco World Heritage list in 1996.

    Ravenna has its own special charm and it is well worth setting aside an hour or two to explore the narrow streets and alleys of the old city centre and the elegant Piazza del Popolo.

    Think Italy  – think something a little different and head to Bologna and Ravenna to discover two very special cities.



    With a degree in Geography under her belt, Ann felt that a career in travel might be a good choice. Fast forward over thirty years, and Ann is still in the industry so her instincts have served her well. Ann spent much of her early career working for big names such as Global Overland and Wallace Arnold where she was involved in the contracting and operation of coach tours on a large scale. Taking time out to raise her family, Ann returned to the industry working for Cities Direct. Her desire to travel is as strong as ever and she loves nothing better than visiting a new destination and being able to relay her experiences first hand to Cities Direct clients.