Bologna: la Rossa, la Grassa, la Dotta.
The lively capital of Emilia Romagna, Bologna is called la Rossa or the Red, for the colour of the bricks with which its towers and palazzos were built and for its residents' political leanings; la Dotta or the Learned, because it is home to the oldest university in the world; and la Grassa or the Fat, for its rich traditional cuisine. It is a city built on a human scale, easy to see even in a single day.
Start your walk from Via Indipendenza, which connects the railway station to the wonderful Piazza Maggiore, under the arcades that make the city unique and unmistakeable. You'll pass by the Arena del Sole theatre, best admired from the other side of the street, in the shadow of the equestrian statue of Garibaldi.
Next you'll come to the cathedral of San Pietro and arrive at Piazza Nettuno, beside Piazza Maggiore. This is the heart of the city, dominated by the Salaborsa library, the Fountain of Neptune and the basilica of San Petronio as well as Palazzo Comunale and Palazzo Re Enzo.
A walk through the characteristic streets of the city centre shows the beauty of the old market selling fruit, vegetables, and handmade local products.
Straight after the market, emerging onto Via Rizzoli, you'll see the celebrated Torre degli Asinelli, or rather, the two towers: Torre degli Asinelli and Garisenda. Turning onto Via Santo Stefano from the two towers you'll reach the basilica of Santo Stefano, a group of seven buildings known as the Seven Churches with fascinating architecture. Bologna is indisputably famous for its cuisine: you won't want to miss its aperitif buffets and a dinner in one of its many authentic trattorie and osterie.
And for night owls, Bologna has a vibrant nightlife with clubs and bars offering live music.