Bologna is a wonderful city in Northern Italy. It is not your “classic” Italian destination, but it is a good place if you’re looking for some traditional Italian food and experiences. A very nice custom Italians have is the “aperitivo”, which is particularly common in a lively and young city like Bologna. To gather with your friends after work, with a drink and some finger food, is one of the preferred activities and ways to socialize that Italians adopt.
With so many options around Bologna, it can be a bit hard to find the best spot for an aperitivo, especially if you’re new in the city. This is why we made a list of 3 of the best places to take an iconic aperitivo in Bologna. Try them all or choose one that appeals more to you, you’ll have a fantastic opportunity!
Via Caprarie 1 between the 2 towers and piazza Maggiore, 40124 Bologna Italy
Tamburini has a food shop, a restaurant, and a wine bar. The wine bar is perfect for an aperitivo and it is open from 12 to 11.30 PM Monday to Thursday and from 12 to 00.30 AM on Friday and Saturdays.
The atmosphere is familiar and very traditional, with 3 internal rooms for bigger parties or celebrations surrounded by the famous old wine bottles that contribute to the iconic ambiance of the restaurant.
The menu includes a wide selection of more than 2o0 national wines, champagnes, and artisanal beers as well as liquors, rums and whiskey. In terms of food, the specialties are the cheese and meat sharing plates, but the offer includes salads, cold dishes and a selection of home-made desserts.
This bar is particularly popular among the younger ones, not only because of the great vibe but also for the value for the price paid. Aperitivo at this bar is one of the cheapest in the city and it includes some finger food, couscous or pasta salads. Calling “Bar Senza Nome” is a bit restrictive as it can be considered more of a winery and a small restaurant.
The bar is special because it is entirely run by people with disabilities, the majority of them being deaf. You can try to challenge yourself and order using sign language! Everyone is put at the same level at this bar, and the atmosphere is fantastic. The environment is lively and cozy and it is suited well those wanting to spend a couple of hours chatting with friends or loved ones. The place organizes a variety of alternative and cultural activities including concerts, courses and art exhibitions among others. The place is often full, but if you manage to find a spot, you’ll for sure have a good time, with good music and a great aperitif.
Marsalino is a bar enjoyed by locals to get their aperitivo. It has become very popular, both for after-work meetings or for “pre-parties”. The popularity mainly comes from the high-quality food offered in combination with a spritz and excellent local wines. The menu includes only a few dishes but always with excellent quality and with the best ingredients. “Taglieri” with cheese, ham, and salami or the traditional “bruschetta” are the best side to accompany your aperitivo. Finger food is available from 6 PM to 9 PM with your aperitivo. However, if you want to order a meal from the menu, the kitchen is open until late at night, so don’t worry!
The ambiance of the place is great and every Thursday night some cabaret events are organized, making the evening even more fun. Because of the informal atmosphere, Marsalino is a great place to socialize and have a good time. For locals, Marsalino has converted into a “must” for the aperitivo in Bologna. Because the bar has become so common and the place is pretty small, finding a spot can be quite hard. During the summer it might get better since the area in front of the local is used, but during the winter, the bar does get quite crowded. If you’re planning to spend an evening there and want to have a seat, booking a table is a good idea.
Here was a shortlist of the three best spots to have an aperitivo in Bologna, enjoy!
A great spot in Sicily, Palermo is one of the areas that tourists would love to visit. It’s not only located on the largest island in the Mediterranean but also one of the areas that define the region’s history and its current affairs.
The origin of Palermo dates back to nearly 3000 years when the Phoenicians first established the first city. The place is rich in both ancient and recent history such as the origin of the Mafia, which is part of life in the city to-date. For outdoor lovers and beach enthusiasts, Palermo provides an unrivaled beautiful coastline in the spectacular island of Sicily. Besides, you can go hiking in the mountains, spread yourself on the sands, and just enjoy the non-stop warm weather that is synonymous with the island.
Here are great places to discover from Palermo day tours:
Scopello is a small, attractive seaside village, located to the south of Zingaro Nature Reserve. It’s approximately 40 kilometers from the city of Trapani. The city built around Piazza Netunno, a popular farmhouse that dates back to the 18th century.
The ancient Scopello was destroyed by Tsunami in 1981, leaving the remains submerged by waters as great testimonies to the past. Today, Scopello is one of the busiest tourist destinations in Sicily. Scopello is home to scenic beaches with the remains of the tunary sticking out of the crystal-clear waters.
In the immediate surroundings, you can see several dive sites such as Cala Rosa, Cala Bianca, and Punta Pispisa. The southern part of Scopello is great for excursions and trekking within the Zingaro Natural Reserve, where you come face to face with unspoiled landscapes.
To crown it, Scopello nightlife is vibrant and nonstop. Tourists can enjoy the walks and fine cuisine; sample the delicacies such as fresh fish in the local restaurants, as well as multiple couscous dishes made from local genuine products of Trapani hinterland. Overall, Scopello is a popular spot for both local and foreign tourists.
Located a few kilometers from Castellammare Del Golfo, the Guidaloca beach is simply close to everything that a tourist could admire. There are a lot of parking places around the Spiaggia, and probably one of the places where you can get free packing. Visitors have the options to enjoy the free beach or just relax under a rented chair and umbrella at the Bar, where you can also get free fruits.
Guidaloca is a pebble beach, without sand. The waters are clean and clear, great for fabulous swims when you visit as a couple or family. If you intend to spend the night, you can find solace at the Villa Guidaloca, tucked in the leafy suburbs of the Zingaro. The place is calm and relaxing, delivering sweet scents of the Sicilian orange and lemon trees, which are part of its garden. From here, you can have a wonderful view of the sea. Overall, Guidaloca pebble beach offers great waves similar to the ones on the beaches south of Sicily, making it a perfect spot for snorkeling.
Marsala and Salt Pans
Marsala is globally popular for its wine, made from the town’s amber nectar. However, you cannot neglect the long, memorable history at the mention of Marsala.
Currently, Marsala is a popular destination for tranquility lovers who just want a relaxed environment. The Baroque old town is a nice place to stroll. Most people visit the place for wine tasting. However, the place offers many other interesting things such as the Baglio Anselmi or Cathedral, Archeological Museum, and more.
Importantly, Marsala provides great ingredients for salt making, as discovered by the Phoenicians eons ago. The conditions such as sun-drenched and longer summer days, hot winds, and shallow coastal waters favored the emergence of the salt pans between Marsala and Trapani. The people who lived in Europe and around the Mediterranean used salt to preserve food and so the establishment of salt pans in the west coast of Sicily played an important role in their lives.
Today, the salt pans provide a great tourist destination with windmills and heaps of harvested salt that are synonymous with the landscape. Besides, there is a salt museum located between Trapani and Marsala. Here visitors can have a glimpse of how the ancient inhabitants made the salt pans as well as their functions over the years. From Marsala, you can proceed to Mothya, another archeological site built by the Phoenicians on the Pantaleo Island.
Segesta Archeological Park
Segesta archeological site is one of Sicily’s most valuable tourist destinations. The site is located on the island’s western side, surrounded with lush green and quiet countryside. The park has the beautiful Doric temple, preserved and harmonious in nature. It’s also home to the 400-meter high theater, located on Mount Barbaro. These two monuments have withstood the test of time to our day. The theater is accessible by walking or by bus.
The site gives a panoramic view of the church that dates back to the 15th century, the castle, the mosque, as well as the amazing theater, perfectly preserved to-date.
The opening hours for the park are as flexible as follows:
• March 27 – September 30: From 9 am – 7 pm
• October 1 – October 31: From 9 am – 6 pm
• November 1 – February 28: 9 am – 5 pm
• March 1 – March 26: 9 am – 6 pm
Ticket prices are affordable, usually, six Euros for full ticket and three Euros for the reduced ticket. This rate applies to visitors between 18 and 25 years old. Visitors under 18 years visit the site free.
The archeological site is accessible both by bus and by car. If you opt for the bus, you can connect through the major cities from Trapani through Calatafimi to the site or from Palermo to Segesta. Check the bus timetable for prior booking.
By car, you can go through the motorway A29. This takes you from Palermo through Trapani with an exit at Segesta junction. You can then follow street signs and drive to the site.
Palermo with its rich history, outstanding landmarks, dazzling churches, and mouthwatering dishes, provides a perfect tourist destination. There are a lot more to do in the city. On day tours from Palermo, you can discover these great places and more.
At Self Service Ghirlandina for sure you cannot eat the sophisticated dishes of Osteria Francescana, however you can tell your friend that you ate at Bottura’s “Restaurant” in Modena. Moreover you can sample dishes from the Modenese tradition like passatelli, tagliatelle, tortelloni, tortellini, prosciutto di Modena, ragu’, and zampone. The average meal is 10 euros or less, what are you waiting for?
Chef Massimo Bottura opens a canteen in Modena, being part of the food for soul initiative to reduce food wastage and help social inclusion. Self Service Ghirlandina, the name of the canteen is situated at a historic and very popular place, near the cathedral in Modena.
What is the food for soul initiative
If you have never heard about communities to fight food waste through social inclusion, then here are some interesting facts about food for soul. Food for Soul is a non-profit organisation founded by chef Massimo Bottura & Lara Gilmore.
Do you know that food waste is a huge problem and that there are food sources that can be used more effectively with the right knowledge and education? So, what are the main features of this initiative aiming to combat food waste?
Food for soul key features
Many partners collaborate with the main aim to raise both the awareness on issues related to food waste and social isolation. This happens not locally but around the world. Of course, not all local communities are the same, therefore the local needs are being considered and these needs can lead to the creation of brand-new possibilities to be examined, never considered before.
Special attention is given in the renovation of neglected spaces and their creative transformation into inspiring community kitchens, where people that feel socially vulnerable can feel the welcome atmosphere and experience the meals created with food surplus. These special meals are prepared by renowned chefs, with emphasis given on making them both delicious and healthy. Social issues such as hospitality and dignity are given a lot of importance.
Social awareness in practice
Social Tables or “ Refettorios” are another service highlighting the need to create both an active and a conscious as well community. Social Tables Ghirlandina were launched 3 years ago, in 2016 and once per week, each Monday this community kitchen serves about 70 persons in need from the local community.
The concept of theme meals is to be inexpensive. But their low cost does not mean that they are not delicious or healthy. On the contrary besides these features there is a special atmosphere as local artists, designers and even actors are being involved to create a community being well-conscious.
Bread is Gold
In financial world gold is a precious metal with many desired features such as a hedge for inflation. But bread can be gold too.” Bread is Gold” is a book written with many recipes and the combined effort of over 50 chefs who got the idea to write how to transform in many cases neglected ingredients and turn them into a meal both delicious and most importantly healthy.
This book has been written is many languages, some of them being English, Italian and Spanish. Buying the book is another way to increase the social impact of the food for soul initiative. Doing so helps the food for soul initiative to open even more Refettorios and Social Tables around the world.
Self Service Ghirlandina in Modena is a canteen with a special social purpose. Being part of the food for soul initiative it is also a part of a community which wants to decrease drastically food waste and at the same time decrease the impact of social isolation. The location near the cathedral in Modena has the potential make it popular.
Grand Hotel Majestic gia’ Baglioni is a beautiful hotel in a perfect location and with friendly staff always ready to serve its guests perfectly. It is a top-notch rated hotel in Bologna positioned at the center of an 18th- century palace. Its interior furnishing suggests an ancient style which makes the hotel look artistic and decorated. I spent four nights here while I was working in the city and I had a good experience. While here, make sure you take various food of great choice including breakfast buffet, juices, and delicious fruits. The beds are incredibly comfortable. The prices charged at the level of a luxury hotel in Bologna but still affordable for one or 2 nights. I enjoyed every moment of my time when I was there and felt as if I was at home.
Majestic gia’ Baglioni hotel is located in the center of Bologna, a few meters from Piazza Maggiore and the well-known Two Towers and Bologna Central Train Station. The hotel neighbors Navile, Santo Stefano and Savena. The landmarks of the place are the city center of Bologna 10 km from the Airport, and there is also the Ducati museum. The hotel offers spacious rooms with decorated interiors, with watercolors that makes its outlook one and only best hotel in Bologna. The furnitures of the Grand Majestic hotel usually look heavy, oaky and ornamental. It is air-conditioned and offers entertainment services to its esteemed customers through the provision of satellite Television. The hotel offers bed and breakfast, country house, parking services and garage which extra charges are incurred when it is reserved for its customer. Its restaurant serves drinks, snacks, and other foods. Free Wifi services, private parking and.
The Grand Majestic Hotel has the following facilities: Airport collection, bar, business facilities, car charging places, free wifi and parking, gym, pool, meeting facilities, smoking areas, childcare, and spa. While there at hotel Majestic, I found out that they are a lot to its guests by providing in-room accessibility services, wheelchair accessible rooms, accessible bathrooms, and roll-in showers.
The design of the hotel is impressive and conveys a luxurious lifestyle. It is stylish and the rooms were neat and clean. Its staff is friendly, and caring.
Starhotels Excelsior Hotel Bologna
The Starhotels Excelsior is a remarkably one of the best hotels in Bologna, I just visited there for a weekend. The hotel is situated opposite Bologna Train Station. I enjoyed the friendly staff members, American breakfast I was served and the modern interior of the hotel. Its rooms look large, impressive, with a carpeted floor. The Starhotels Excelsior is strategically located opposite to the Bologna Train Station. Even though the hotel is opposite to a railway station, the place is quiet and not noisy at all. The average price of the hotel is relatively cheap and affordable for many people. The hotel reveals one of the classic rooms and a selection of traditional food which I was served with. The rooms were clean, the bed was confy and the food and drinks were delicious. It made me enjoy being there as a guest. The personnel here were really loving and friendly and gave me an easy time talking to them since they speak in English which is a language I understand best.
The Starhotels Excelsior is beautifully decorated with modern interiors in it, its floor is carpeted on wood which makes it look superior. Its rooms are spacious and air-conditioned to give a fresh cool air into the hotel. The facilities offered at Starhotels Excelsior includes parking, free Wi-Fi, food and drink, internet services, pets are allowed on request and are chargeable, reception services, entertainment, cleaning services, and business facilities.
Metropolitan Hotel Bologna.
The other best hotel in Bologna is the Metropolitan hotel which for now I have visited it twice. It is a five minutes walk from Bologna’s main square. It is suited to modern facilities in it and has spacious rooms. Guests enjoy visiting this place, especially for cocktailing parties on the rooftop and view the hills of Bologna which looks amazing. When they’re at the Metropolitan Hotel, you will enjoy strolling around the Bologna’s historic Centre and have a tour of tourist attractions. It is well positioned for the airport shuttles and stations to stop over this place. The interior design is fitted with enough space, good lighting capacity, nice colors, and nice shaped rooms. The rooms are neat and always clean which makes the guests face the beauty of the hotel and feel good. The facilities offered by Metropolitan Hotel include internet services, parking, bathroom, outdoor furniture, Kitchen, room amenities like sockets and clothes rack, living area, entertainment, food and drinks, cleaning services and reception services. All these activities are bearable to all the guests. The lighting of the room is quality and has a television with sky channels. The bathroom has a spa bath to make the guest enjoy the services. The beds are comfortable and clean. The hotel is quiet although the hotel is situated on the main street. Breakfast was tasty and the staff was polite and friendly. Actually, I like the hotel for it is convenient and most welcoming. The surrounding environment is also good for tour services and closer to the City Centre.
In conclusion, the best hotels are located at the heart of Bologna. These are the perfect hotels one should dream of visiting in life. They offer quality services to their guest and they have a heart of welcoming. When there, one feels at home away from their actual home.
Venice has remained a top destination for tourists, who intend to make great use of their holiday and leisure time. This has been adversely contributed by the several islands Venice takes pride in, full of amazing and breathtaking sceneries, making your visit worthwhile.
But more fun comes from visiting less crowded islands. They offer the much-needed peace, away from the busy mainland. Venice has some Islands which offer this conducive environment. Unfortunately, over the years, these islands in the Venice Lagoon have been disregarded. Nevertheless, they harbor some of the exciting sites and landmarks that your eyes crave to have a glimpse of. These islands include the following;
This disregarded Venice Lagoon was once ranked second in the most beautiful places list in the Forbes magazine in 2016. Though overlooked, this ranking confirmed its capability of attracting tourists. Any visitor to this less crowded area comes back with fond memories. The main contributor being its wonderful and colorful fishermen’s cottages.
Once you arrive in Venice, simply take a water bus and in about 40 or so minutes you will be right in this amazing Island. It has a population of utmost 3000 people, who have settled in this densely urbanized island entwined by canals full of colorful fishing boats matching with the beautiful cottages. This small population will go a long way to sprucing up your visit.
This island is not only highly attractive but also full of lacework. You can also visit Museo del Merletto a reliable museum in Lacemaking. This is indeed a perfect place for lacework enthusiasts.
You won’t resist falling in love with the beautiful wooden roof terraces which have been strategically positioned to conform well to the sun and sea breezes during the islands hot days. If you need a nice place for sunbathing and late-night dinner, Burano Island is the place to be.
Excellent delicacies are not a problem in this amazing island. Since it is a fish affair, Burano is packed with a couple of restaurants that provides various types of fish dishes for its tourists. Besides, there is Dolce and pasta which are a perfect delicacy. For lovers of new cuisines, you ought to visit this Island. By the end of your stay, you will have acquired some new recipes to try them back home.
This Venice Lagoon island is a short water boat ride north of Venice. It is made up of 7 islands, separated by waterways which are larger than most of Venice canals. It has an estimated population of 500 people.
Most people visit Murano because of the valuable glass factories that are ever pleasing, in order to witness the process of glassmaking. Some of the companies even offer free boat rides to lure these tourists into visiting their premises. You can visit the Museo del Vetro, which is a glass museum. Here you will get a view of some of the best ancient and amazing glass. Besides, there are several furnaces which are open for everyone to see.
Murano has wonderful architectural designs that catch the attention of any visitor. These unique architectural designs have been applied on some of its ancient churches, for instance, Chiesa di San Pietro Martire, Basilica dei Santi Maria Donato. For lovers of amazing architectural designs, then Murano is the place to visit in a bid to get some rare feat in architecture.
There are also some ancient mansions that have graced this island making it one of a kind. Some of these mansions include Murano Lighthouse that was built in 1912.
In case you need some conducive peace away from the city, Murano is a place to visit. It is not densely populated thus you will not have to struggle with putting up with noise. As the holiday sets in, you can make reservations on visiting this amazing place.
lthough it has been overlooked, this island is home to various attractive sights. It has lovely mosaics, impressive views that will ensure your visit is one to remember. Torcello was the first ever island to be considered as a home by the people who were escaping from the Barbarian Hodes. It is made up of sights that will spice up your stay in Venice Lagoon island.
The Devil’s bridge was built in the 15th century and revamped in 2008. It is an amazing place to pass as you appreciate the elegance of Torcello architectural design and the masterpiece of the engineers that designed and built it. Having a photo of you taken from you, not only preserves some dear memories but is a sign of an excellent stay in Torcello.
The Cathedral of Torcello is one of Torcello’s ancient monument. It was founded in 639 AD and renovated in 1008. This cathedral is well known for its 11th-12th century Byzantine Mosaics. However currently, it is no longer a cathedral because it lacks a bishop. Despite that, it is still an amazing place to look at.
There are also famous restaurants that are Locanda Cipriani that serves as a nice place to eat and also accommodation. After eating you can take a stroll at the famous Archaeological Museum of Torcello. It is full of remains and fragments of famous 10 churches.
Torcello will not only offer you amazing sights to look at but also a suitable environment to spend your holiday in. It is less crowded, just a perfect place to enjoy your holiday peaceful as you bond well with your family. This confirms the relevance of visiting less populated areas.
Less crowded islands are undoubtedly some of the best places to visit. Not only for the amazing sceneries they have to offer but also the conducive environment they have. The Venice lagoon has such islands, that will give you that harmony and peace needed while on holiday. Murano, Burano, and Torcello are packed with amazing sights that tend to take away the breath of any visitor. As a potential visitor, you can begin planning your visit to these amazing and less crowded islands. It is a guarantee your visit will be worthwhile.
A Unique Opportunity to see a Parmesan cheese facility in the Afternoon.
This tour is a guided tour of a Parmesan producing dairy and it happens in the afternoon. We depart from Modena train station and we provide transport, English speaking guide, and a generous tasting. The tour lasts approx 1 hour.
You would think February to be a pretty uneventful month. After all, the Holidays have just come and gone, so what in the world is left for me to see out there? If you’ve booked your trip to Italy and are finding yourself in Bologna during February, fret not – there is plenty to see and do. Aside from the fact that you could be about to experience a super-romantic Valentine’s Day with your significant other during your Italian Holidays, between fine wine, delicious dishes and the perfect spots around the city for a date, February is also the month that will see Carnival celebrations and parade get out onto the streets. While not quite as flashy as Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro world-renowned parade, in all cities of Italy you’ll be able to see wonderful and colorful displays of masks, costumes and fun activities! But first, let’s take a look of the traditional and regional treats that you’ll only have a chance to enjoy during the Carnival season.
What To Eat
As you might have noticed, food is a very important part of Italy and its traditions. Food marks a convivial and festive moment, and Carnival is the perfect moment to enjoy a number of sweet and interesting seasonal treats and desserts (which also help to really get in the mood to celebrate). Sweets are a staple of Carnival so be ready to party to the rhythm of a sugar rush.
The name of this deep fried ribbons of dough is widely discussed in Italy, since each region and province (or even city) calls them by a different name. Known to the English-speakers as “Angel wings”, the pastries are served with a generous dusting of powdered sugar. Optimal sfrappole should be crispy, while also melting in a sugar paradise in your mouth. You’ll find these and other seasonal sweets in most bakeries or grocers, which are also supplied by local bakeries so that each treat will be produced according to the tradition.
Still deep-fried, still favored with a dusting of powdered sugar, the castagnole take their name from “chestnuts”. Not because it’s an ingredient, just because they’re round as a chestnut, golden and will fill you with energy. You might find these in a variety of types: with custard or chocolate filling, soaked in Alchermes liqueur or covered in honey.
“Fritti” as in “fried”. This is another caloric treat that is sure to entice your sugar receptors. These pastries are truly a regional tradition and as such are a bit more complex and ingredients vary from bakery to bakery, from family to family. But mostly, they’re fried buns eaten plain or with a filling, and optionally a dusting of powdered sugar. Among the fillings you might find custard, home-made jams with raisins and such. Every tortello is a surprise!
But remember, food stands at every corner also mean it’s a great opportunity to taste other dishes and savoury treats both seasonal and regional.
What To Do
So, now that you’re energized and ready to go out in the city, what is there to do in Bologna? Carnival will last from Thursday 23rd to Tuesday 28th of February, so here are the main parades and events to attend in cities around Bologna and in the city itself. The Carnevale di Cento, in the city of Cento (province of Ferrara), is among the most famous celebrations of Italy. As such, it’ll last from Sunday 12th of February to the 12th of March with samba dancers, food stands and catwalks and contests for the best masks. Most cities’ parades showcase floats decorated according to themes or pop culture, but in the city of Comacchio (Ferrara) the “Carnevale sull’acqua” will feature literal floats parading over the waters of the city’s canals on Sunday 19th an Sunday 26th of February. Don’t miss the seafood and fish delicacies, and the activities for children! To enjoy true traditional seasonal dishes and treats, you can pop by the Carnevale di San Pietro in Casale. The town in the province of Bologna will offer catwalks and parades of beautiful masks and plentiful food stands for every taste. If you’re more interested in seeing floats and buskers than masks and costumes, the Carnevale dei Fantaveicoli, an eco-sustainable parade in Imola that will take place on the 26th of February is the event for you. On the other hand, if you enjoy traditional and Renaissance-style costumes and the idea of a more historic re-enactment of Carnival parties from the 1400’s, be sure to check out the Carnevale Rinascimentale Estense from the 23rd to the 26th of February. No floats will welcome you, but just the wonderful costumes inspired to noble and historical figures of the city of Ferrara and it’s court. Buskers, jugglers and street artists will entertain you as you wait for themed events and shows to take place on the last day of Carnival in the Piazza Municipale. There’s plenty to choose from, and anything goes, as long as you can truly experience the exhilaration and festive atmosphere of Carnival with foods, entertainment and masks.
What is the best way to get travel money and how do I avoid getting a poor deal?
Preparing to go on holiday can be a stressful time. Deadlines to meet, clothes to wash and bags to pack – there’s lots to think about. One thing that often gets left until the last minute – but never gets less important – is sorting out your holiday money. Getting it isn’t difficult, but knowing where to go for a good deal is. So we’ve done a bit of research and put together a guide. Follow this and avoid any nasty financial shocks when you get home. Never exchange money at the airport. This is a super-easy rule to follow: Simply don’t use bureaux de change at the airport to exchange your currency. Ever. It might seem like a convenient option, and it is, but the exchange rate is always horrible and at that late stage what other choice do you have but to accept it? Don’t be fooled by a sign that reads “0% Commission”, the fees are often hidden in a poor exchange rate. This is a good rule to follow in general: When a sign reads “0% COMMISION”, it’s usually too good to be true. Using your UK debit/credit is super-easy but can be super-expensive. Of course, you may get to the airport, see those poor rates and decide to use your UK card abroad. More and more travellers are opting to take their regular debit/credit cards away anyway. This is by far the easiest option and requires no effort whatsoever apart from packing your wallet. The thing is – you’ll often spend a considerable amount on fees. Let’s take a Halifax debit card, for example. If you were using your card in Rome – they would charge you £1.50 for each point-of-sale transaction and/or £1.50 for every ATM withdrawal. On top of that, a 2.75% conversion commission is charged each time. Costly.
Don’t exchange abroad
Of course, you could just do the exchange once you reach your destination. The problem is you’re still going to have to hunt around for the best rate. Spending the first day of your holiday scanning for the best deal doesn’t sound like much fun, wouldn’t you rather be having a glass of wine and picking at some olives?Also, what about paying for your taxi from the airport?
Prepaid cards are usually the cheapest way.
Prepaid cards are cards that you load up with currency before you go and use when you’re on holiday like a debit card here. Imagine a prepaid card is like a pay-and-go mobile contract. You can’t spend until you’ve loaded it with money but there are lots of benefits once you have. Like a pay and go – you can track exactly what you’ve spent and how much you’re spending. You can also ‘top up’ anytime. The rates are much better than most other options and unusually, rates are fair and transparent. The guys at Money Saving Expert know their stuff, they’ve reviewed all of the UK options. We really like WeSwap which is a prepaid card with a difference. Instead of buying money from a trader and selling to you – like most banks and bureaux do, WeSwap actually swaps money between travellers heading in opposite directions. Swapping is obviously much cheaper and therefore so is WeSwap. They noe have 200,000 travellers in their community and just raised over £2 million in crowdfunding.
Beware of dynamic currency conversion
Cash machines and some vendors will ask you when making a transaction whether you wish to make it in pounds or in the local currency. It very rarely pays to make the payment in pounds. This is due to the fact that the overseas vendor is making the conversion, usually at a less than favourable rate. In short, always select to pay in the local currency. If you’ve already swapped into Euros – which you will have done with a prepaid card – you don’t need the ATM to convert because you’ve already done it! This is just a way for the local bank to try and make some extra money.
Don’t take a packet of cash, it’s not 1997.
A surprising amount of people still nip down to somewhere like the Post Office or M&S, swap all their money and take it in their suitcases. Not only are these traditional providers often expensive – how often do you walk around with hundreds and hundreds of pounds in your wallet in the UK? Even if you hide a few hundred Euro under a mattress, in a ball of socks or inside the curtain it’s not exactly bullet proof. If it doesn’t get stolen, it is easy to lose and you’ exchange rate would have been poor anyway.
Keep an eye on the markets and watch out for elections. It is worth keeping an eye on the FX markets in the lead up to your trip and bearing in mind the potential impact of politics. Two surprise election results had volatile consequences on the FX markets in 2016. Firstly, the British public voted to leave the European Union, and secondly the American public voted Donald Trump as their next president. Both of these decisions had a negative impact on their respective country’s currency. Basically, markets don’t like uncertainly and new leaders and political change often mean uncertainty. Shrewd travellers may have exchanged some money pre-election so as not to be affected by the result. Obviously this isn’t very practical but it helps to have a little knowledge of these things so you can make a measured decision.
This tour will allow you to discover hands on how to make the perfect espresso, cappuccino and caffe’ latte. Participants will be visiting one of the most famous coffee maker in the province of Bologna and Modena, where they will take a one hour Italian coffee-making experience with a local trained barista. Following the coffee experience we will be visiting the Ice Cream museum in Anzola Emilia at the Carpigiani factory. Here you will be taking a guided tour with gelato sampling at the museum where you will learn the basic of gelato making. This tour also include a visit to a balsamic vinegar maker.
Time: Leaving at 9.30 am and returning at 4 pm. Tuesday to Saturday, excluding Italian national holidays. Min. 2 adults. This is a private tour just for your group.
What is included:
Transport from Modena train station or Modena Hotel is standard. We can also pick you from Bologna however this is an extra, please see booking calendar for pricing.
1 hour hands on barista course in Vignola (Modena)
Visit to Carpigiani Gelato museum in Anzola (Bologna)