While Bologna has never struck me as being a “romantic” city at first glance (think Venice, Rome, Florence), I think there is something mysteriously enchanting about it: it’s luring porticos that invite passersby to huddle underneath, it’s narrow winding streets that leave everchanging silhouettes, it’s tiny trattorias tucked away behind laced curtains and unassuming doors. Bologna invites lovers to be hidden, to indulge in its delicacies, and to rejoice in its hidden treasures.
One of those hidden treasures just happens to be a small boutique hotel, tucked away on a quiet street. My boyfriend and I had the pleasure of spending one Saturday night at Hotel Touring. While we both live permanently in Bologna we decided it was time to change things up a bit and do something we wouldn’t normally do. What could be more romantic than to spend a night in a hotel without having the stress of travelling far from home? If you’ve never spent the night in a hotel in your own city, I highly recommend it. Not only will you see your city in a completely different light, but you and your partner will actually be able to enjoy yourselves without having to worry about doing laundry, or replacing that hallway light bulb that’s been out for months, or having the temptation to turn on the PC because you “just have to check your email” (for the billionth time that day).
Hotel Touring is nothing short of charming and relaxing. I for one was incredibly content that for once all I heard was silence instead of the sound of cars and buses that I normally deal with in my apartment. After hitting the bed face down, my boyfriend was so impressed by how comfortable the mattress was that he spent the next half hour thoroughly studying the various layers of the bed, later reporting back to me with his observations (it was composed of a firm, thick mattress and a thin pillow top layer) and his plans to recreate the same bed in our apartment one day. In short, I had no objections, he had no objections which meant total relax, a rare sensation in our busy lives. Needless to say, we slept like babies.
The next morning we eased out of bed (when I say eased, I mean we had to force ourselves, in slow motion to actually stand up). I took a hot shower, feeling like a total goddess of nature underneath the rain showerhead, while my boyfriend continued to study the mattress meticulously.
After freshening up and packing our things, we headed down to the breakfast room located just under the ground floor in a giant sala. I was shocked when I saw my Italian boyfriend take a scoop of scrambled eggs along with prosciutto and a piece of toast. “American breakfast?”, I said, eyebrows raised. I on the other hand opted for the typical Italian breakfast, a plain croissant and cappuccino. Why was he suddenly eating American and I Italian? Maybe it had something to do with being outside of our normal element, or maybe the romantic atmosphere was making us appreciate each other’s culture more? Who knows, but my croissant was delightful and the boyfriend scarfed his makeshift American-style breakfast sandwich before he even took one sip of his cappuccino.
After breakfast we headed up to what I consider the best part of the Hotel Touring experience: the rooftop terrace. Although it was too cold to have a coffee or sit in the jacuzzi there (services that are available to hotel guests during the warmer months), we decided just to go up and take a peek. It’s pretty hard to find bird eye views such as this one in Bologna – at least ones that don’t require an entrance fee and/or the challenge of climbing hundreds of narrow steps (often risking your life in doing so). At the click of an elevator button, we were on the 5th floor of Hotel Touring with an amazing (and tranquil) view of Bologna and it’s surrounding hillsides.
The sun had just come up and the winter fog that is so typical of Emilia-Romagna was just beginning to lift. I could see all the major buildings in Bologna as the sun struck them perfectly: the back of the massive San Petronio Basilica and its bell tower, the green dome of San Pietro Cathedral, the famous two towers leaning perfectly into one another, and the various parts of the seven churches of Santo Stefano square. Even though the morning cold was starting to set in we stood for a few moments overlooking Bologna, awed in its unconventional beauty and wondering, “Would we ever spend a night like this in our own city again?”.
Thank you to Hotel Touring for your hospitality, charming hotel service, and making us feel at home away from home!