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City Guide

Meet Bologna

The gastronomic heart of Italy, this historic city’s rich culture and thriving economy also make it one of the nation’s most livable cities for both natives and digital nomads.

Bologna’s importance as an urban center pre-dates the Roman empire. Located in the heart of what is today Northern Italy, the city was founded by the Etruscans around 600BCE and was occupied by the Celts for roughly three centuries before becoming part of the Roman Empire. Throughout this long history, it has been a center of trade, industry, and education, and was one of the largest cities in Europe during the Middle Ages. Today, Bologna is the capital of Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region and one of the largest, wealthiest, and most livable cities in the nation. Despite its importance in global trade and industry, it hasn’t become a significant tourist destination like other Italian cities. Even with the large student population, about 90% of Bologna’s residents are Italian, and the majority of international visitors are from nearby European nations. Combined with the city’s thriving economy, this lack of tourism makes Bologna very appealing to nomads who want a more authentic Italian experience.

Where to live in Bologna

The roadways in Bologna are notoriously crowded, especially close to the city center. Thankfully, Bologna also has an affordable and well-developed public transportation system, with busses and trolleys in the city center and train service to outlying suburbs and other cities. For most, this makes living in one of the central neighborhoods the most convenient option, especially if your workspace is in the downtown area. You can find suburban-like areas within this area, so you don’t necessarily need to live far from the city no matter what kind of living environment you’re looking for.

Best Neighborhoods in Bologna

Bologna is a large city, and its many neighborhoods each have a distinct vibe. Those who like living in an active, urban area will love neighborhoods like Centro Storico and Bolognina, with their busy streets and variety of dining and entertainment options. The area around the University of Bologna is also popular, especially with students and young professionals, who appreciate its many cafes and bars. For a calmer, more residential vibe, Porta Saragozza is your best option close to the city. It’s still very walkable and has easy access to the city center, so you won’t have to sacrifice convenience for quiet. Further from the city center you’ll find neighborhoods like Borgo Panigale, which are more spacious and don’t draw as many students and tourists.

Quick Facts About Bologna

Most people know Bologna as the food capital of Italy--which is quite a distinction given the nation’s culinary reputation. While the local cuisine is definitely a highlight, there’s a lot more to this cosmopolitan city than what you’ll find in its restaurants. Here are some more fun facts about Bologna:

Work in Bologna

Bologna’s economy is the top-ranked in Italy in terms of growth. Industry and manufacturing are the main industries and a diverse range of goods are produced here, including cars, textiles, and food. The financial sector is also strong, with many Italian banks and insurance companies calling it home. Many well-known companies are headquartered in Bologna, too, including Maserati, Lamborghini, and the Hera Group. The diversity of the economy makes Bologna one of the best Italian cities for expats to find work. Along with the industries mentioned above, education is a popular career choice for foreign workers. English teachers are in high demand, especially those who are also fluent in Italian, which can be a great option for bilingual nomads.

How good is Bologna for Digital Nomads or Remote Work

Remote work is changing how the global workspace operates. In a trend that is showing no signs of slowing down, remote work is rapidly on the increase all around the world—especially in a place like Bologna. And about 25% of remote workers describe themselves as digital nomads—those who like to travel or stay in cities around the world while they work. So, how good is Bologna for both of these growing movements?

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Food and Drink in Bologna

The culinary scene in Bologna is world-famous and with good reason. It’s the birthplace of classic Italian dishes like lasagna, tortellini, and Bolognese sauce (known as ragu to the locals), and pasta dishes are at the heart of the local cuisine. There are dozens of trattorias in the city where you can try the local fare. Favorite spots include Oltre, Trattoria Bertozzi, and the family-run Ristorante Da Cesari, whose fresh pasta is some of the best in the city. For a more casual meal, Pigro off Piazza Maggiore serves up excellent panini (sandwiches) made with the local mortadella ham. Mo Mortadella Lab is another top local spot for delicious made to order sandwiches. If you’re craving pizza, check out Mozzabella on Via Partello, which serves up pies with gourmet toppings by the slice. For charcuterie, spots like La Baita Vecchia Magla and Enoteca Storia Faccioli are known for their cured meats, artisan cheeses, and ample wine lists. As renowned as the local food is, Bologna is a cosmopolitan city with an international restaurant culture, so you don’t have to only eat Italian food your whole stay. You’ll find delicious Japanese food at Sentaku, Bologna’s first Ramen bar. For vegan fare, Botanica Lab’s array of soups and salads are sure to satisfy. It also has one of the best craft beer scenes in Italy, which you can sample at spots like Baladin Bologna, established by local craft brewer Teo Musso.



Top 6 Things To Do in Bologna

The Piazza Maggiore is a great place for history lovers to start exploring Bologna. Take a tour of historic buildings like the Palazzo del Podesta or Basilica di San Petronio, see the artifacts displayed in the Archaeology Museum, or simply enjoy some people watching over a glass of wine under one of the city’s famous porticos. The Piazza di Porta Ravegnana is where you’ll find the city’s two leaning towers, Asinelli and Garisenda, which you can climb to see some amazing views of the city. Historic buildings abound around the University of Bologna, too, most notably Archiginnasio on the PIazza Galvani, which is home to the famous wood-panelled Anatomical Theater. For art lovers, the Bologna National Gallery has a large collection of works dating back as far as the 13th century. More in a shopping mood? Head to La Piazzola Market in the Piazza dell Agosto, a historic market with more than 400 stalls selling everything from clothes and shoes to spices, flowers, and pottery.

Basilica of San Domenico

Piazza S. Domenico, 13, Bologna


Biblioteca Salaborsa

Piazza del Nettuno, 3, Bologna


Mercato Delle Erbe

Via Ugo Bassi, 25, Bologna


Palazzo Poggi Museum

Via Zamboni, 33, Bologna


Mercato di Mezzo

Via Clavature, 12, Bologna


Palazzo del Podestà, Bologna

Piazza Maggiore, 1, Bologna