Fusing haughty elegance with down-to-earth grit in one beautifully colonnaded medieval grid, Bologna is a city of two intriguing halves. One side is a hard-working, high-tech city located in the super-rich Po valley where opera-goers waltz out of theatres into some of the nation's finest restaurants. The other is a politically edgy city, with the world's oldest university, that is famous for its graffiti-embellished piazzas filled with mildly inebriated students swapping Gothic fashion tips.
No small wonder Bologna has earned so many historical monikers. La Grassa (the fat one) celebrates a rich food legacy (ragù sauce was first concocted here). La Dotta (the learned one) doffs a cap to the city university founded in 1088. La Rossa (the red one) alludes to the ubiquity of the terracotta medieval buildings adorned with miles of porticoes, as well as the city's long-standing penchant for left-wing politics.
These are the top experiences and sights in Bologna, according to Lonely Planet.