Bologna is the city with the world’s oldest university and the fifth part of its population is students. So, when walking through the streets, you’ll notice young people are literally everywhere as well as a lot of small cafes and bars offering cheap and not quite healthy food and drinks.
When it’s growing dusk, companies of cheerful and noisy students go out in search of places to hangout. And if you happen to rent apartments near a student campus, against your will you’ll become a witness or at least a listener to the numerous parties.
Doubt that Bologna is a good place for kids? In fact, it is. Firstly, there are a lot of interesting museums with rich collections welcoming young guests.
Secondly, Bologna isn’t a touristic city, and there are no crowds of visitors as in Rome, Milan, or Florence.
Third, Bologna is considered one of the safest cities not only in Italy but in the whole Europe, and the crime rate here is very low.
It is also worth mentioning, Bologna is famous for its delicious cuisine. Bologna is the birthplace of numerous delicacies well-known throughout the world. Many of them already have become classics. Among the most famous ones are Bolognese sauce, Mortadella sausage and tortellini made in form of the navel of the goddess Venus. In the whole country, Italian used to call Bologna the fat.
Museum of Ice Cream
It’s a modern museum opened recently in 2012, and as almost all modern museums it has a lot of interesting interactive displays designed to entertain and teach visitors. Here is no place for boredom!
1000 square meters of the museum will lead you through the history of world ice-cream production, and your kids will finally find out how their favorite treat is made.
All visitors will be pleasantly surprised in the end of excursion, when they will be allowed to taste unique ice-cream made according to the old recipes.
Azinelli and Garisenda
On Piazza di Porta Ravegnan, you’ll find two medieval towers called Azinelli and Garisenda. Without exaggeration, they are the most recognizable symbol of Bologna and have quite an interesting history.
In the Middle Ages, every rich family had to have its own tower, since it was considered very prestigious. A family with the tallest tower in the city was especially revered. As a result, towers were springing up like mushrooms after the rain. Soon there were about 100 of them throughout the city.
Especially intense rivalry was between the two families Azinelli and Garisenda. Azinelli family was the first who started building a tower in 1109.
One year later, the first stone was laid in the base of the tower designed for Garisenda family. Moreover, it was made only in several meters from the Azinelli tower.
Competition forced families to put maximum efforts in construction towers as fast as possible. Such haste badly affected on the quality. Soon both towers deviated from the vertical axis in direction to each other. Especially bad situation was with Garisenda tower. So bad that builders had to disassemble its part.
Today, there is a great observation desk at the top of Azinelli tower overlooking the whole city. In order to reach the top, you’ll need to overcome 498 steps. The breathtaking views waiting for you there are worth such efforts.
The city authorities thoroughly tackled the problem of designing a city park. Constructors dug a pound in the middle of the park and surrounded it with artificial rocks. Nearby, they built a lovely wooden castle (soon it was demolished) and laid numerous paths neatly strewed by gravel through the whole park.
Many people gathered on 6 July in 1879 to watch the grand opening of the Magherita Gardens. So far, the park remains a favorite recreation spot of all locals.
Your kids will be delighted to see playgrounds with exciting slides and carousels, while parents will find many areas for sports games. The park regularly hosts various competitions, exhibitions and festivals.
In general, it’s a great place to relax, sit on the bank or do sports, share impressions and emotions after exploring the city.
Museum of Toy Soldiers
Mario Massacesi founded this unique museum in 1973. And today it houses more than 14 thousand of paper, lead, tin, plastic and plaster soldiers. Some of them were made in the second half of the 19th century.
Maybe all these facts aren’t very interesting for kids, but every boy undoubtedly will be glad to visit the museum and see its collection.
Botanical Garden in Bologna was founded in 1568 by Ulisse Aldrovandi. Today, it is rightfully considered the oldest one in Europe.
It occupies an area of 2 hectares and can boast of a rich collection of more than 5,000 species of local and exotic flora including ferns, orchids, bromeliads and succulents, which occupy three separate greenhouses.
One section of the garden is devoted to medicinal and ornamental plants. There is even a section of artificially created forest!
Unfortunately, a large part of the collection of the botanical garden was destroyed during World War II, when the garden was bombed. The greatest loss was the destruction of greenhouse with the plants had been growing from the time of Napoleon Bonaparte. Still, Botanical Garden remains a nice place to visit with kids especially in summer.
Transportation in Bologna
Although Bologna has a developed public transportation system, still it would be more convenient to rent a car that can fit the whole family. The best solution is to book the car at Bologna Airport through the one of special online services and pick it up right in the terminal. Notice that rental vehicles supplied by local providers are usually cheaper.
Author Bio: Lily Berns is a travel writer. She travels all around the world and writes her reviews and comments about the different destination spots.