Bologna city guide: Where to stay, eat, drink and shop in Italy’s gastronomic haven

Famously underrated, this gourmand’s haven is Italy’s seventh largest metropolis, filled with jaw-dropping medieval structure and sweeping piazzas. Town shimmers with vibrant exercise, its world-class cultural establishments internet hosting year-round occasions for a buzzy populus of scholars and intellectuals.

There’s a definite lack of mass tourism, too – you received’t see coachloads of day-trippers or gallery queues – so you may merely fall into the circulation of locals (particularly in case you add some Italian to your repertoire). Beloved by its nation folks, Bologna has not one however three nicknames; La Dotta (‘The Realized’) in honour of its Eleventh-century college, hailed because the oldest in Europe; La Rossa (‘The Crimson’) for town’s leftist politics; and, most significantly, La Grassa (‘The Fats’), a nod to its notoriety as Italy’s foodie capital.

What to do

Eat your means round city

Prime precedence on any journey to Bologna is the native meals and realizing the place to eat it. “Bolognese’’ is understood regionally as Tagliatelle al Ragù, and it goes with out saying that its origin metropolis serves a life affirming plate of the good things. The opposite quintessential Bologna dish is tortellini in broth – often hen – which is simply as comforting as you’d think about a pasta hen soup to be. Making reservations for dinner plans is a should, now extra so than ever (try our ‘The place to Eat’ part under for some suggestions to get you began) however chances are you’ll properly wish to make a day of it, visiting the meals markets, or reserving your self a meals tour and cookery class with veteran guides at Style Bologna or Scrumptious Bologna excursions.

Take within the structure

Bologna is house to a roster of fantastic Renaissance buildings spared by the builders of bygone eras, from the Unesco-listed porticos (roofed walkways) that body the outdated college in addition to Piazzas Maggiore and Santo Stefano, to a complete of 20 towers – most notably ‘Le Due Torri’ of Asinelli Tower and Garisenda Tower. Ascend the previous for heart-lifting metropolis views, and word how the latter has much more of a lean than its Pisan counterpart. Consider a stroll across the illustrious essential sq. of Piazza Maggiore to absorb the layer-cake Basilica of San Petronio, in addition to the knockout palazzos that encompass it.

Brush up in your Italian cinema

Cineteca di Bologna is the devoted movie institute that preserves, restores and promotes native movie heritage. Born within the Sixties, the Cineteca has been in its present fashionable constructing for nearly 20 years – it’s the place you may catch the most effective of Italian cinema, alongside present and worldwide releases. The organisation is behind the annual Visioni Italiane movie competition, the twenty eighth version of which will probably be held in Bologna from 2 to six November 2022, in addition to the outside summer season screenings you’ll see in Piazza Maggiore in summer season months.

(Getty Pictures)

Return to uni

The College of Bologna, or UniBo to its associates, isn’t simply an architectural marvel and seat of excellent schooling (it’s the best rating college within the nation). It additionally comprises a ​​smorgasbord of mini-museums, together with medieval anatomy collections and Renaissance portray shows.

Be sure you go to the Archiginnasio, the college’s former web site, which features a Seventeenth-century anatomical lecture theatre and fascinating historic library, earlier than heading to the present web site at Palazzo Poggi, which has been the house of UniBo since 1803. The person museums have assorted, unpredictable opening instances so do test on-line upfront.

The place to remain

Bologna has a powerful collection of mattress and breakfast lodging within the outdated city centre, with vibes starting from chintzy to minimalist. AB Suite Revolutionary Design B&B – a renovated 1850s resort that’s had a boutique fashion makeover – is a best choice simply east of the college. Doubles from £70.

For one thing extra central nonetheless, lookup BLQ01 Boutique B&B within the Quadrilatero, a stunning keep that has a boho really feel and tremendous pleasant host, who serves a tasty breakfast. Doubles from £92.

Should you’re extra inclined to guide a keep that gives the works, the deceptively named Pupil Lodge Bologna is for you. A classy, sizable constructing simply north of the prepare station, its co-living, co-working quarters have been designed with nomads and distant staff in thoughts. It has an outside pool and indoor health club, in addition to a few of the largest rooms within the metropolis. Doubles from £81 an evening, reductions for lengthy keep out there.

For mountains of character, test your self into Phi Lodge Bologna – Al Cappello Rosso, a tastefully restored resort that’s been internet hosting company since 1345. The property, which began its life as a 14th century inn, has constantly welcomed guests for 600 years and is now a four-star delight, full with native fashionable artwork on the partitions and a divine but petite restaurant. Doubles from £87.

(Getty Pictures)

The place to eat

In distinction to its tourist-trapping sister cities, you’re extra prone to get an excellent chunk right here than a mediocre one – whether or not snacking in a bar or sitting right down to make an evening of it. A standout, tavern-esque spot to high your hit record is Osteria del Cappello, nestled within the aforementioned Phi Lodge Bologna – Al Cappello Rosso. This place has been feeding guests the most effective Bolognan fare since 1345, making it the oldest restaurant within the metropolis. It’s an intimate dimension, with simply six tables, so remember to guide, whether or not you’re a resort visitor or not, and remember to attempt the fried tortellini.

Whereas Ruggine is technically a bar, it serves engaging plates all day lengthy, with pastas, burgers and salads all given a contemporary twist. Tucked away down an alley within the metropolis centre, the country décor of this former bicycle restore store (ruggine means ‘rust’) spills out onto the road, taking up the pavement with mouth-watering fare and distinctive cocktails. Employees are all the time comfortable to make suggestions, so do have a chat with them concerning the menu.

Bologna is a meat lover’s paradise however that doesn’t imply it’s not with out good vegan outposts. Botanical Lab Cucina is a cultured plant-based affair that could be very moderately priced contemplating how fancy it’s. Vegan pastas are plentiful, as are the Mediterranean fusion plates. Don’t miss the cashew-based cheesecakes, whether or not you’re carnivore or herbivore.

The place to drink

Regardless of the time, remember to swing by Caffe Rubik for a few of the greatest people-watching alternatives on the town. Serving robust Italian coffees by day and cocktails by night time, its partitions are lined with cabinets filled with cassette tapes, porcelain teapots and classic toys, punctuated by work of native artists. Cafe de la Paix has the identical all-day lounging vibe, with an added sustainable, fair-trade ethos.

To witness Bologna in full power, step into Osteria del Sole, town’s oldest wine bar. With an enjoyably unassuming façade, it’s a busy watering gap that’s widespread for commencement events – and belief us once we say the Italian college commencement celebrations are really one thing to witness (you’ll always remember the music). You possibly can even convey your individual meals in with you, in case you’re not already utterly stuffed out of your consuming adventures.

For an interactive night time out, pop in to Senza Nome, whose deaf or partial listening to bar employees will give you some signal language suggestions or flashcards, however all are capable of lip learn in case your communication abilities are amiss. There are glorious snacks on this excessive ceilinged bar, but when it’s scrumptious décor you’re after hit up Le Stanze, whose fading, elegant, Renaissance wall and ceiling work will dazzle you as a lot because the cocktails.

Contemporary and handcrafted tortellini in Bologna

(Getty Pictures/iStockphoto)

The place to buy

Nothing says “I’ve been to Italy” like a brand new pair of handcrafted leather-based footwear, and the Bologna department of Milanese shoe makers Velasca is the place to go for stylish brogues and different fantastic footwear. Their retailer not far away from Piazza Maggiore is a enjoyable go to (not the same old shoe merchandising austere environs) in a transformed storage, with industrial décor and neon lights.

Make your self widespread and take house a stunning, vacuum-sealed packet of tortellini from La Casa del Tortellino, which sells freshly made artisanal pasta from its laboratory-slash-food-bar. It’s a little bit of a means out of town centre, however close to the airport, so make the pitstop in case you’re leaving that means.

Like many a pupil metropolis, Bologna has an excellent classic garments scene. Take a while to discover and discover that one-off, pre-loved shirt at La Leonarda, Humana Classic Bologna and Zero Classic – all of whom inventory high quality collections and have beautiful employees. Should you’re into bric-à-brac, there’s additionally a powerful weekly flea market on Fridays and Saturdays at Piazza VIII Agosto.

Bologna has a wealthy historical past of pure sciences, and La Bottega dei Minerali faucets into that heritage, promoting a wonderful array of crystals and minerals in addition to uncommon items of jewelry. Discover it simply north of Centrale station – it’s open within the mornings till 1.30pm and once more after a lunch break from 3.30pm. Best for presents – or treating your self.

Architectural spotlight

When you’ve had your fill of Renaissance pendentives, make the time to go to the Bologna Shoah Memorial, a deeply transferring, up to date area accomplished in 2016 in memorium of the Holocaust and Italy’s misplaced Jewish communities.

Nuts and bolts:

What forex do I want?


What language is spoken?


Ought to I tip?

10 per cent minimal. Plus anticipate a “coperta” cowl cost of €2 or so added in eating places.

How ought to I get round?

By foot, it’s an enjoyably walkable metropolis.

What’s the most effective view?

Ascend the 468 steps of the taller “Le Due Torri” – Asinelli Tower for panoramic views of town under.

Insider tip?

Bologna has some nice public parks, the best of which, Giardini Margherita, is house to just lately renovated botanical gardens. It’s an excellent place to work, relaxation and play, tending to be a pupil hang-out because it’s the best place to review because of low-cost meals and drinks, and free wifi.

Getting there

Making an attempt to fly much less?

Take the Eurostar from London to Paris, then an SNCF prepare onward to Turin, from the place you may catch an area prepare to Bologna.

Wonderful with flying?

British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair all fly to Bologna from the UK.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.