Bologna, Italy’s culinary capital, is gearing up to host Futurmotive — Expo & Talks — a must-visit event for any business traveler with a penchant for modern automotive technology. As you prepare to embark on this Italian adventure, here’s a handy mini-guide of sorts to help you navigate this historic city.
Quick note: Just to be clear, this news article is just that – an article. It’s meant to inform and maybe spark some thought, but it’s not professional advice of any kind. Even though I’m a journalist who’s been to Bologna several times, I get lost a lot. But that’s also one of the best parts of travel.
Arriving in Bologna
Your journey to Bologna likely begins with landing at the Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport (BLQ). Named after the Italian electrical engineer and Nobel laureate, the airport is a gateway to Bologna’s rich heritage and modern tech-scene. It’s the 7th busiest airport in Italy, handling more than 9 million passengers annually and offering direct flights to and from many European cities.
From the airport, the city center is only a 20-minute drive away. Taxi services are readily available. In addition, there are buses. Uber also operates in the city.
The Marconi Express
In a significant advancement to Bologna’s transportation system, the Marconi Express, a state-of-the-art monorail train, is now connecting the city’s airport to its central train station. Acting as a direct gateway to the heart of the city, this pivotal service provides an effortless and eco-friendly commute for both locals and tourists.
The Marconi Express is explicitly designed with a keen focus on passenger comfort, ensuring seamless, barrier-free access and offering free Wi-Fi at its stations. This service is not just quick, providing a brisk 7-minute commute between the airport and the city center, but also frequent, with a train departing every 7 minutes at peak times.
Passengers can easily access the Marconi Express from the First Floor of the Airport Terminal building. For departing passengers, a brief walk through the connecting walkway leads to the Departures area. Arriving passengers can follow the clear directions to the Express, guiding them to the Terminal and onwards to the train station.
Navigating the city
Getting around Bologna is straightforward thanks to its robust public transportation system, primarily consisting of buses and taxis. ATC Bologna, the city’s primary bus service, operates extensive routes across the city. The bus network is efficient and reliable, but do remember to validate your ticket upon boarding to avoid fines.
Bologna also prides itself on being a bike-friendly city.
For those who prefer a more private mode of transport, licensed taxis are plentiful. They can be hailed on the street, booked via phone, or through the “COTABO” app.
Visiting Futurmotive — Expo & Talks
The Futurmotive event will be held at the BolognaFiere exhibition center, one of the most acclaimed exhibition spaces in Europe. It’s easily accessible via public transport, primarily the bus system, Trasporto Passeggeri Emilia-Romagna. Bus lines 28, 35, 38, and 39 will take you directly to the venue (again, check the latest route info). If you prefer driving, there is ample parking space available, however, if you’re not skilled at driving in Italy, perhaps leave it to the professionals.
No visit to Bologna would be complete without experiencing its rich culture and exquisite cuisine. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the historic city center. The Piazza Maggiore, the heart of Bologna, is surrounded by architectural marvels like the Basilica of San Petronio, the Palazzo Comunale and the Neptune Fountain.
Bologna is also known as “la grassa” or “the fat one,” a nod to the city’s rich culinary tradition. After a day at Futurmotive, savor some authentic Bolognese cuisine. Try the iconic tagliatelle al ragù, tortellini in brodo, or mortadella, paired with local wines such as Pignoletto or Lambrusco.
Great info is available at Welcome Bologna app produced by the official tourism bureau of Bologna. It’s a handy tool providing real-time information about public transportation, events, and places of interest. It also includes maps, making it a useful resource for first-time visitors.
Don’t forget to take some time for yourself to enjoy what Bologna has to offer beyond the event. Consider a leisurely stroll through the Portico di San Luca, a 3.8km long portico that leads to the Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca, providing a panoramic view of the city. Or immerse yourself in Bologna’s rich history by visiting the Museo Civico Archeologico, home to an impressive collection of Egyptian and Roman artifacts.
For those with an interest in literature, make time to visit the Biblioteca Salaborsa, Bologna’s main public library, housed in a beautiful historic building. It’s a quiet haven for book lovers, with a glass floor revealing ancient ruins beneath.
In the evening, enjoy the vibrant nightlife that Bologna offers. The university quarter is particularly lively, filled with bars, traditional trattorias, and music venues. Whether you’re a jazz lover or an indie rock fan, there’s a corner of Bologna’s night scene that will make you feel welcome.
Traveling to Bologna for the Futurmotive — Expo & Talks not only provides an invaluable opportunity for business networking and learning, but it also allows you to immerse yourself in the rich culture, history and cuisine of this enchanting Italian city.
Have a great trip!
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