Return flights: £43.98 (Ryanair)
Accommodation: £64.26 CAMERA e BAGNO PRIVATO a 3 minuti dalla Stazione (Booking.com)
Summary and Highlights:
- Make sure to read and complete all the required COVID requirements and/or forms before entering the country you are going to and coming back to
- Respect the local laws around social distancing and wearing masks where required
- Some attractions or sights may have reduced hours/limited capacity or still be closed
- Piazza Maggiore/ Basilica di San Petronio
- Le Due Torri
- Santuario Madonna di San Luca
Well here we are. 6 months ago, I nearly got stuck in Madeira because of a novel virus and now Miss Rona has been doing their world tour for 6 months and looks like the tour is set to continue. I wouldn’t have minded being stuck in Madeira the whole time as all I need is the internet for my job. But after 6 months of working in my bedroom, as much as I love Manchester, I needed to get away. I’ve done a few staycations but it’s not the same as going abroad and I always try to get away for my birthday too.
I had 3 trips cancelled which I managed to sort all the money/credit or rearrange. Personally, I take vouchers or travel credit as I know I will use it again and I had the money at the time to book it so I will happily take it back in any form. I rebooked my flights using a voucher from Ryanair and at a sensible £21.99 each way. Although the travel industry has taken a brutal hit, it does work in the favour of us (the consumers) as they will want us travelling again. Ryanair even recently did its first ever (and probably only ever) buy one get one free offer recently. Thankfully Italy is one of the few countries not on the quarantine list for the UK (for now). The flights also were on a Friday night coming back Sunday afternoon meaning no annual leave needed to be used. I’d advise to check the requirements of the country you’re going to and coming back to before to ensure any forms or tests that need completing are done before your departure and arrival.
My host was waiting for me at the accommodation and I’d already checked with them the airport bus was still running which is €5.50 each way and takes about 20 minutes. It’s worth noting that some transport in Italy requires you to wear a surgical style mask otherwise you may be denied boarding. You’re required to wear a mask in all indoor places as well as outside in certain parts of Italy after a certain time. A lot of people choose to wear one regardless which I did around the centre where it was particularly busy and when I was in close contact with my (thankfully now running) walking tour.
Bologna is quite small around the centre so everything can be accessed in quite a small radius. The most recognisable sight is probably the 2 Towers which are both leaning at a slight angle towards each other due to the unstable ground below. They were built in the medieval times and were lived in by the noble and wealthy families. The bigger the tower, the wealthier or more important the particular family was. There used to be over 100 but now there are only about 20 around the city. The other stops included Basilica Santo Stefano, Archiginnasio (an amazing university library), Piazza Maggiore and Basilica di San Petronio. It was hard to social distance with only one guide, however we all were wearing masks and outside the whole time.
Following the tour, I wanted to go up to Santuario Madonna di San Luca which looks over the city and is accessible from the longest covered walkway in the world at nearly 4km. The porticos area noticeable feature in Bologna and would keep you fully dry on a rainy day. Thankfully it was a nice 20 degrees in late September. Maybe being inside for 6 months my lack of exercise has made me unfit but even the (fairly) gentle incline and steps up took me by surprise. Coming down was a lot easier and felt a lot quicker. It’s normal to see keen runners going up and down so you might stop the same one on your way down as when you went up.
Once at the top, the views overlooking the hills and countryside. For €5 you can also go to a rooftop terrace of the Sanctuary and get even better views of the city one side and hills on the other. At present, only a few people are allowed up at a certain time but I think I caught them just after lunch so there was only a couple of people before me and I didn’t have to wait after paying.
Overall it was great to get away again, despite the circumstances, even if it was short but sweet. I really like Italy and Bologna had always been on my radar and would also make a good day trip if visiting other parts of Italy. I hope it won’t be another 6 months before I go away again but only time will tell.