Being stuck at home is no fun, but, thanks to our modern technology, we can still see a bit of the world. I’ve picked five videos and documentaries to help you travel virtually to Bologna and Emilia-Romagna, for the simple pleasure of it, to reminisce about your time here, or to begin planning your post-crisis trip (woo-hoo!).
Watch them below.
Travel Virtually to Bologna
1. A Day in Bologna (2 minutes)
The first video I’ve picked is from Bologna Welcome, the city’s tourism bureau. It’s called ‘A Day in Bologna’, and gives you some snapshots of daily Bologna scenes, as well as views of the city’s most famous monuments – you’ll see for example the Basilica of San Petronio, the Fountain of Neptune, the Asinelli Tower, the wonderful Basilica of San Luca, Piazza Maggiore, the bustling food market, and more. And should you wonder about that interesting-looking fortress appearing at the minute 0:52, it’s the Rocchetta Mattei. This video will make you feel nostalgic if you’ve already been to Bologna, or eager to visit if you haven’t!
2. Bologna in the Middle Ages (5 minutes)
The second video is a really fascinating look at how Bologna looked liked in the Middle Ages. This is taken from a 3D experience you can actually try for yourself when you visit the Museo Realtà Virtuale on Via Zamboni. I originally tried it when it was offered at the Museum of the History of Bologna and it was amazing. You basically get to walk through the streets of 13th-century Bologna and fly over the more than 80 towers it had at the time. The video is a taste of that 3D experience, and also shows you (you may have never guessed this!) the canals and the big port Bologna once had for the transport of goods.
3. Art, Anatomy and History at the University of Bologna (14 minutes)
This is a super interesting video about the University of Bologna, and how it contributed to the birthplace of modern university and the study of medicine in the modern sense. I learned things I didn’t know myself! And it also made me quite proud to know how much the University of Bologna has contributed to modern science, such as pathological anatomy. See an incredible collection of wax anatomical models and human skulls, learn anecdotes such as where the verb ‘galvanize’ comes from, and dig deeper into the history of the oldest university of the Western world.
4. BBC – Italy Unpacked: The Art of the Feast (59 minutes)
If you have an hour to spare, this is a super fun documentary not just about Bologna, but also other places in Emilia-Romagna, hailed as “the birthplace of modern Italian cuisine and home to some of Italy’s most fascinating artists and powerful dynasties.” The hosts are art historian Andrew Graham-Dixon and chef Giorgio Locatelli, who discover why Bologna is known as la Dotta (the Learned), la Grassa (the Fat) and la Rossa (the Red), meet fishermen casting huge nets at the mouth of the river Po, discover the legacy left by the famous Este dynasty in Ferrara, visit Modena, home of balsamic vinegar and Ferrari, and head to the Palatina Library in Parma, home to an original copy of the first cookbook of the newly united Italy.
5. What to Do in Bologna, Italy | 36 Hours (6 minutes)
From the New York Times’ 36 Hours series, this video gives you an introduction to Bologna that doesn’t just talk about its cuisine, as the city is mostly famous for, but also about other lesser-known aspects, such as its car industry, its relationship with cinema, vintage clothing and antiques, vegan gelato, the dining scene, and of course the university. Plus, I think you’ll love hearing Italian with a Bolognese accent 😉 (the video has subtitles, so no worries, you’ll be able to understand.)
I’m a tour guide organizing walking and hiking tours in and around Bologna, often with a food component (‘the art of the feast,’ right?!). If you plan to travel to the region when you’re allowed to do so again, please check out my tours and feel free to contact me for specific interests/requests at email@example.com.