Some time ago, I wrote and asked about favorite European cities. Well, I have narrowed my Italian choices down considerably, now that I have been everywhere except Torino and the lakes (except via train) and Sicily, which I very much want to visit, but various Sicilians on tripadvisor have suggested it may not be a great idea to travel there alone (despite my age), female, blonde and in need of a rental car since there are few day tours).
Here's my own choice:
Bologna does have charm, and the people are nice. But it's a little bit of Piacenza, sort of like Florence, a tiny bit Milanese, and a lot Prato. There are many things to see here, but besides its library (and medical school which goes back to 1088) the main attraction is nearness to Ravenna. One thing I do like is the bells. They ring pretty regularly but differently each time, and its pretty cool. I've spent a lot of time in Tuscany and while the hill towns are lovely, I prefer Umbria. And Florence, well, I guess you have to have seen Florence only once or fallen in love there. It is probably my least favorite city in Italy, perhaps because I've been there about 8 times and it feels somehow 'darker' each time -- maybe I'm internalizing medieval Florence. (Though I was wowed the first time I went there in the 90s.)
I do have to say, however, having eaten at three of what are considered Bologna's better restaurants that I think the cuisine here is WAY overrated. Anyway, I will post on tripadvisor when I get home. The best restaurant I found was Da Nello.