Quick Guide to Bologna, Italy
Bologna is a beautiful, quaint city in northern Italy. The home to the world's oldest university, Bologna holds many nicknames including La Dotta (the learned one) referring to the university founded in 1088, La Grassa (the fat one) as the region is where many of the foods we know well originated from, and La Rossa (the red one) for the terracotta medieval buildings adorned with miles of porticoes. A mix of intellect, artfully graffitied piazzas and excellent food, Bologna truly has many sides.
For my week away, the city was the perfect base for my adventures. Easy to navigate and walk around, it was also the best launch pad to train to Venice and Florence. I visited Florence twice, only being 35 minutes away on the Frecciarossa or Frecciargento. Read on for my quick guide to Bologna.
Airbnb is the best way to feel like you are 'living' in the city. It's my favourite way to 'live the city'.
The Emilia-Romano area is known for food! The birth place of balsamic vinegar, tagliatelle al ragu (bolognese), pumpkin-filled tortellini, parmigiano reggiano (Parmesan cheese), Parma proscuitto and Lambrusco wine (sparkling rose wine). And the list goes on!
Note that for majority of the restaurants they open for lunch from 12:30pm - 3pm and then reopen again for dinner service at 7:30pm - midnight. There are a few places that are open all day food service including Eataly but they are few and far between.
Down Via Pescherie there are multiple places to have a drink and snack before dinner or as your dinner.
- Panificio Nettuno for tigelle e prosciutto
- La Baita
- La Corte di Bacco (In Corte Isolani. Next to Piazza San Stefano)
- Casa Minghetti wine bar Piazza Minghetti 1/A
- Orstiche Pazza - raw fish and seafood
Lunch and Dinner
Da Silvio (Via San Petronio Vecchio, 34) - Visit on an empty stomach. Begin with buffalo mozzarella, have a pasta (the Bolognese is so yum) and ossobuco. Then ask for dessert and they will bring you all of the dessert on offer so you can have a slice of each. From english triple (zuppa inglese), cheesecake, meringue with melted chocolate and a thin slice of chocolate torte with home-made ice-cream.
Osteria dell'Orsa (Via Mentana, 1) - put your name down at the bar inside and wait until your name is called. Filled with students and locals this is a lively place to have a bite of casual traditional food.
Osteria La Fontana (Via Fondazza, 83)
Osteria Broccaindosso (Via Brocaindosso, 7)
Trattoria Scacco Matto (Via Broccaindosso, 71) For fish lovers
Ambasicatori (Via degli Orefeci, 19) Always open
Eataly - Bologna central (always open)
RoManzo c/o Mercato di mezza (Via Clavature, 12) for meat lovers near the two towers
Gassilli (Via dal Luzzo, 3) near to Piazza San Stefano
Leonida (Vicolo Alemagna, 2) near to Piazza San Stefano
Da Nello (Via Montegrappa, 2) near to St Peter's Church
Trattoria Collegio di Spagna (Via Collegio di Spagna, 15) near to via Saragozza
Osteria La Bottega (Via Santa Caterina, 51 near to via Saragossa)
Cantina Bentivoglio (Via Mascarella, 4/b) in the university area. There are jazz concerts here.
La Sorbetteria Castiglione (Via Castiglione, 44)
Cremera Santo Stefano (Via San Stefano, 70)
Pretto (Via De Toschi, 2)
Gelateria La Funivia (Piazza Cavour)
Il Gelatauro (Via San Vitale, 98/b)
Stefino (Via Galliera, 49)
Nicola's (Piazza San Martino, 9)
Pino (Via Santo Stefano, 172/B)
Toto (Via San Valentino, 2/b)
Le Belle Arti (Via Belle Arti, 14) always open
Fountain of Neptune, Piazza del Nettuno
Biblioteca dell'Archiginnasio - beautiful old library
Piazza Maggiore, the main square
Walk up to The Sanctuary of Madonna di San Luca through the longest porticoed arcade in the world. There are more than 600 vaults along almost four kilometres. The porticoes connect the shrine with the town and provides shelter for the yearly procession which transports the Byzantine Madonna and Child to the cathedral in the city centre during Ascension week. It's a rather strenuous climb up to the Sanctuary, locals take this beautiful route to exercise, but the building and view at the top is worth the hike. You can also take a little tourist train up or down the hill from the city centre. After we walked up to the top, we stopped for an Aperol spritz at the little bar near the cathedral and took the tourist train back into town.