At World Travel Market in November I took part in the blogger speed networking event where I met Giorgia, one member of the family owned Hotel Touring in Bologna. I’ve stayed in a lot of big brand hotels and a number of boutique ones but rarely a family owned hotel so after a few emails back and forth, I along with two friends, were on our way to Bologna for a weekend.
We arrived in Bologna at around 11:15pm and were picked up by Giacomo from Auto Blu Columbo. After a late flight the last thing I want to do is traipse around an unknown airport looking for a bus or a train to take me somewhere I don’t know anything about, so although the city is only around 20 mins from the airport I’m all about ease and Giacomo made getting to the hotel a piece of cake.
You can really tell the difference with a family owned hotel, the vibe is more friendly and welcoming. It somehow seems more sincere and more like being welcomed into a home rather than a hotel. And at Hotel Touring it couldn’t be more true. The generosity and kindness shown to us during our two night stay was wholly unexpected and 100% appreciated.
We stayed in the Diamond Suite on the 4th floor which accommodated all three of us comfortably. It had a large double bed as well as a double rollaway and there was still plenty of space for three girls’ worth of luggage and the usual amount of clothes and makeup that comes along with it. And if the room wasn’t spacious enough already there was also a balcony with views over the Bologna’s rooftops, which in the summer would make the perfect place for a few quiet drinks while the sun goes down. Or comes up. Or both.
After our late arrival there was just time for a quick few hours snooze before we were off on a Bologna food tour with Italian Days Food Experience which started at a very early 7am and was organised by Hotel Touring. The hotel staff know all the hot spots and have contacts all over the city so you’re in the right hands if you have any questions or need restaurant recommendations.
First stop: Parmigiano Reggiano factory
Who knew there was so much to making parmesan? Not me. Our charismatic guide and all round great guy Fabio took us through the different stages of the production of parmesan before ending the morning with a parmesan breakfast washed down with sparkling red wine. Cheese and wine at 9am. I know who won that day.
Next stop: A family owned farmhouse where the traditional balsamic vinegar of Modena is made
Did you know you can put balsamic vinegar on ice cream and fresh ricotta? And did you know real balsamic vinegar only contains one ingredient (grape must) and we’ve been eating the cheap fake stuff all our lives? And did you know 100ml of the real stuff can go for as much as £100 a pop? I didn’t. I learnt so much.
Stop three: The prosciutto factory
I was a vegetarian for 11 years and never understood the simple joy meat could bring to my life until one day I ate a chicken pie and now I can’t get enough of the stuff. This stop was definitely my favourite part of the tour because we got to eat SO MUCH PROSCIUTTO and drink SO MUCH PROSECCO. Dreamy. But before that feast we we strolled through the factory with a guy who looked like a European Mark Wahlberg and discovered everything that goes into making the world’s finest prosciutto.
And with that it was back to the hotel and we had the evening to ourselves. And what better way to end a day of eating local delicacies than having a few bottles of Italian wine on Hotel Touring’s terrace with views over the red roofs of Bologna.
Thinking of heading to Bologna? Book your stay at Hotel Touring directly and mention this blog to receive a 10% discount (subject to availability). Wahey!
(I was a guest of Hotel Touring)