The Corona d’Oro lies in the historic old city, close to the two famous leaning towers, in a cobbled street which for most of the time is closed to traffic. Enticing food shops (including a wonderful delicatessen) give you some idea of why the city is nicknamed Bologna La Grassa (the Fat). The Corona d’Oro became a hotel in 1890, though the original building dates back to 1300. It is here that Italy’s first printing press was established and there are still a few features surviving from the original palazzo. In the early 1980s the hotel was bought by a packaging magnate, who elevated it from a simple hotel to four-star status, successfully combining the old features with the stylish new. The 14thC portico and Renaissance ceilings were preserved, while the plush bedrooms were provided with all modern conveniences. The showpiece was the hallway, with its fine art nouveau frieze supported on columns. Light streaming from above, fresh flowers and lush feathery plants create a cheerful, inviting entrance. If arriving by car, be sure to get the hotel’s route-map; without it, you will never find your way through the Bologna maze.