Our trip to Italy started and ended in Bologna, Italy. We flew in and out of this city, which sits about an hour and a half north of Florence, and luckily we were able to spend a little time sightseeing on both ends of the trip. I love Bologna! It was full of young people, the food was excellent and the city itself was very lovely. Many people will argue that Bologna is the food capitol of Italy, and we experienced absolutely nothing that would disprove this theory.
I think Bologna is often overlooked by tourists. This showed in the prices, which were very reasonable compared to Florence.
As I wandered the little alleyways (by myself, I'd left Steven in a piazza to read/relax so that I could stop and take photos every five seconds without annoying him.) I encountered dozens of little markets, bakeries, gelaterias, butcher shops and hole-in-the-wall restaurants. Bologna is definitely a foodie paradise!