North West Italy & San Marino Tour – Part One, Bologna

San Marino happened to be the only country in Europe that I had yet to visit and stay overnight in, so a mission to put that right was essential.

When Depeche Mode announced their world tour dates would include an appearance at Milan’s San Siro Stadium in mid-July the plan was hatched – a train tour of North West Italy encompassing San Marino and culminating in the gig.

Ordinarily we would never have travelled in July but despite the heat (peaking at 39 degrees), we managed to stay cool and happily found our destinations relatively quiet.


Flying BA from Heathrow including our first ever journey on the Elizabeth Line, the very pleasant university city was our start point for 36-hours. We had visited before in 2016 so took it easy.

The unexpected highlight was a visit to a splendid throwback cinema to take in the David Bowie Ziggy Stardust movie. The retro Odeon was two-minutes walk from the lovely Steam House Hotel in which we stayed.

Apart from that, we ate far too well and ambled round the historic centre that includes a pair of towers, a nice cathedral & square with open air cinema and a spectacular Anatomical Theatre.

As mentioned we stayed at the Steam House Hotel, situated in a renovated monk’s residence in a lovely street popular with students and containing plenty of great al fresco drinking & dining options.

The Steam House Hotel, Bologna​, Wilbur’s Travels
The Steam House Hotel, Bologna

My previous visit to Bologna in 2016 can be reached here.

Coming next – the journey continues to San Marino.


  1. I liked Bologna. Did you climb that tower?

    1. In 2016 I did. Great views. Did Modena cathedral bell tower this time.

      1. A big climb for sure.

  2. Nice stuff. We once detoured during an Italian road trip, just to say that we had been to San Marino. But we’ve never had a chance to return for a proper visit. Now, we are inspired to do so. Thanks heaps.

    1. A couple of days well spent.

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