Bologna may not be the first place you think to visit when you plan a visit to Italy, but what few people realise is it is the foodies’ paradise of the country. Child friendly, warm Italian welcomes are also exactly what you need when taking a city break with kids. Bologna also has lots to keep children entertained, as Penny discovered on a weekend break courtesy of Bolgona Welcome. So, rather like a street entertainer with a balloon sword in Piazza Maggiore, Penny presents Space In Your Case’s Top 5 things to do in Bologna with kids.
Stefino Bio – The most incredible organic ice cream and sorbet all made on site. Stefino was really welcoming and as a parent himself, keen to make my two the best ice cream ever. From blueberry sorbet to almond ice cream to wasabi, Stefino Bio takes Italian ice cream to a new level. Dad’s face when he had wasabi was priceless, check it out in the storify below.
You can easily spend the best part of a day travelling to San Luca Church on a hill top overlooking Bologna (pictured above) . While that might not sound like something the kids will love, you take the San Luca Express, a tourist ‘toy’ train to the top of the hill, past miles of covered mind boggling covered walkways. After taking in the church and the stunning views of Bologna, head over to Vito a San Luca, across the road, an amazing pizzeria restaurant. Expect the biggest pizzas, a warm welcome and charming interiors. When we went it was Easter and hundreds of tiny little painted eggs hung from branches tied to the ceilings. Cost € 10,00 Reduced ticket € 5,00 (kids 5-8 years old; disabled people and companion) Reduced ticket € 3,00 (kids under 5 years)
Escape the city and sightseeing for a few hours and experience Ca’shin, a wonderful family friendly escape in the countryside. Ca’shin is run by a cooperative and offers snacks and food made from locally produced ingredients in relaxing and rustic surroundings, the emphasis is on culture, children and the environment. Children can play in a magical garden in the forest, guaranteed to spark their imagination. The giant willow nest and rope swings were particular favourites.
Bologna is an incredible city in terms of architecture, even kids can’t fail to be drawn in by the ornate fountains and toppling towers. Genus Bononiae. Musei nell a Città is a museum dedicated to the city. Find out all about the transformation of Bologna over the years through interactive exhibits. We especially enjoyed finding out the stories behind the canals, leaning towers and never ending walkways.
There is no better way to appreciate a new city with children than by open top bus. Adults get to listen to the audio guide, get orientated and see the sights while kids are strapped in with constantly changing scenery. Our City Red Bus Tour took us from our Una hotel past towers that appear to defy gravity, stunning squares and miles of walkways, old fortifications and canals. We loved exploring Piazza Maggiore and the Fountain of Neptune, which posed lots of very funny questions from the kids. Cost € 13,00 Reduced ticket € 6,00 (kids 5-8 years old; disabled people and companion) Reduced ticket € 3,00 (kids under 5 years) Combined ticket City Red Bus + San Luca Express Full ticket € 18.00; reduced ticket € 10.00
To find out more about Penny’s trip to Bologna, with her food scientist Dad and two children, check out her storify via Bologna Welcome. The welcome was super friendly and the food incredible, check out the locally speciality tortellini and local cheese served with honey which the kids loved. The locals even offered the kids a lift when their little legs got tired.
Penny also returned to Bologna without kids, check out her Grown Ups Guide To Bologna, which also has ideas suitable for families too.
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You can’t beat the open top bus tour, wonderful photos.
The train journey sounds phenomenal! (As does that pizza…..)