When it comes to “where you can you visit while using Florence as a base” nothing comes more to mind than the city of Bologna, capital of Emilia-Romagna. A quick and pleasant 35 minute journey by fast train from Santa Maria Novella will have you up there quicker than you can say “mortadella” and maybe an hour from that time, you’ll be able to eat some in one of the city’s gastronomic hotspots because this place well known for its cuisine. In fact, the entire Emilia-Romagna (check out my post on Parma here).
Home to prosciutto di parma, aged parmigiano-reggiano and squacquerone cheese, balsamic vinegar, tortelli in brodo —this is hardly a place you come to diet, nor would you want too.
It’s also got an edgy feeling, partly for the fact that its a university town, with a huge student population that brings a livelier edge to the city.