Wow. As a first-time visitor to the Bologna Book Fair, all I can say is wow. I had no idea how robust the European children's book industry was (coming here as an American), but I was thoroughly impressed/intimidated/inspired.
I had some great experiences in Bologna this year, most of them involving gelato, so I thought I'd officially memorialize the trip in this little blog post.
If I had to give some general Bologna advice to future book fair attendees, I'd recommend the following:
Don't count on any taxi drivers being awake at odd hours. Fly in/out of Bologna during normal day hours, or arrange transport to the airport you're 100% confident in. (Some girls from my program learned this lesson the hard way and ended up having a stressful adventure at 4:30am.
Stay downtown. There is so much to see in Bologna, and you'll have a great experience if you're right in the middle of it. (There's also more bus stops)
Speaking of busses, the bus-ticket system in Bologna is a bit different. You have to stop by a convenience store to buy your tickets before boarding. They're pretty cheap and are valid for 75 minutes after scanning them. Basically you scan your ticket when you board, and then have 75 minutes to get where you need. This means if you want to transfer busses you can scan it again without having to spend more money on another ticket.
Mozzabella. If you want some amazing traditional Italian pizza, trust me on this one (though honestly you could throw a dart at a map of Bologna and trust they have good pizza).
I made a YouTube video about my experience of the fair itself, so if you're interested in my Bologna Book-Fair experience, this will give you a peek.
Overall, I'd say I was a very overwhelmed, unprepared visitor this year, so hopefully you can gather a few little pearls of wisdom from this post, as well as my video.
Thanks for reading!