It may seem odd that a I am writing about a women-friendly destination, but it was something that really stood out to me during my recent visit to Bologna, Italy. I was fortunate enough to be invited by Emilia Romagna Region Tourist Board and Bologna Welcome to discover the beautiful region and although everyone should still take the usual precautions, out of all the cities I’ve visited so far, I would argue Bologna falls in the top three alongside Tokyo and Berlin.
One general explanation for this could be the strong middle class in Bologna. With a strong manufacturing base including the Lamborghini and Ducati factories alongside its packaging machinery industry, Bologna has a strong economy to compliment its family focused culture. With this, throw in the fact that Bologna is a very LGBT friendly city with roots going back to the ‘70s, it’s no wonder I couldn’t help but notice the openness of the people.
Alongside the above, here are five other more reasons why Bologna, Italy is a must-visit for all female travellers.
1. Spas galore!
The region boasts many spas, including refreshing pools, therapeutic steam, relaxing hydro-massages and velvet-like mud. The sulphurous and chloride-, bromide-, and iodide-rich waters are packed with essential elements and have been used for thousands of years offering scientifically verified benefits, which purify your system of toxins, fight inflammation and restore vitality; so much so that all Italian citizens can take a spa treatment every year in partnership with the Italian National Health Service.
2. Bicycles are faster than cars
It’s a common joke among the locals that a bicycle is the fastest way to get around the city. After experiencing it myself, I’m not sure if it’s a joke or the truth and I noticed that the majority of cyclists were women. Whether it was to go to the market or out to meet friends, bikes were a very common form of transportation. As a visitor, renting a bike was quite easy and it took no time at all to get used to the streets or the traffic flow.
3. Life’s a Vespa.
What’s a visit to Italy without riding around town on a cute Vespa? Although it’s common for visitors to want to do the iconic Vespa ride, it can be quite intimidating especially in cities like Rome and Florence where it can get quite busy. Bologna is a great city to rent and ride a Vespa due to its lower traffic volumes and narrower streets (where cars can’t easily go). For an added treat, do a Vespa ride to the countryside of Bologna where you can experience majestic scenery, great views of the city and many local vineyards.
4. Women are Boss!
Although it could have been coincidental, I noticed that many businesses were either owned or managed by women.
Some places that I personally interacted with that were run by women include:
Travelhoo.it – Local bike and Vespa tour agency
Dynamo – Bike rental and tour agency.
Altro? – A popular local restaurant
Bologna Welcome – Bologna’s official convention and visitor bureau
Lamborghini Factory – A surprising proportion of women on the manufacturing floor
Regardless, it goes to show that gender isn’t a barrier when it comes to working in Bologna.
5. Porticoes are well lit.
Bologna is the city of porticoes (covered walkways). With over 38kms of porticoes throughout the city that are very well lit, it is quite safe to walk about the city at night.
Need some more inspiration? Be sure to check out Bologna Welcome’s website for more ideas and things to experience in and around Bologna.