Apart from where to eat, which takes top priority for Ms. Buddha and I when we travel – where to stay also ranks quite high on my radar – and the process normally involves me going through the hotel groups that I like (IHG, Hyatt, Starwoods, etc) and seeing whether there are nice properties available at a reasonable price, the main reason is that hotels normally has gym facilities – when there are no properties that takes my fancy – I then trawl through Airbnb and see whether there are nicer options for similar pricing to a hotel – this is what happened with finding a place in Bologna.
One thing you need to keep in mind when going to Italy if you’re driving is that a lot of the city centers have something called the “Zona Traffico Limitato” or ZTL for short – these are effectively zones where you cannot drive in unless you have a special permit, driving into them immediately scores you a fine. You can spot whether you’re about to enter into one of these ZTL zones by signs like these:
So because our Airbnb place is right in the middle of Bologna city – it meant that we had to find parking outside of the ZTL and basically make our way into the city by foot (or bus). The closest public carpark is about 10mins walk away.
The walk to the apartment is actually not too difficult – although lugging 2 large suitcases across a busy shopping area is not the most preferred way – the fact that it was all paved (and not many stairs) made it doable.
When we got to the apartment – I messaged our host and waited while I had a snoop around the area.
Federico and her daughter came down to meet us within about 5mins, and was one of the friendlier hosts I’ve met since using Airbnb – and his daughter although shy, beamed with a nice smile when greeting us (always nice!). We were shown the operation of the security gates and doors and went up to the level 3 apartment.
I have to say that the stay here was fantastic! Federico was always following up and making sure that everything was fine (always nice to have from a host). And the place was clean with frankly ample space for just Ms. Buddha and I – the kitchen was fully equipped with everything you need if you wanted to cook (which is what I’d recommend living in Bologna). And lastly, the location was excellent being smack bang in the center of the city itself.
If Federico ever reads this, I’d love to say thanks again for being a wonderful host and providing an excellent apartment – for other readers thinking of going to Bologna – you can find Federico’s apartment here: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/6926821