A Day in Bologna – Food, Sun, Food

Bologna, a small student city in
the North of Italy is a must-go destination for food lovers and for people, who want to visit an Italian city that is not overly crowded and flooded by
tourists. 

The small Piazzas, the multiple lovely churches and Palazzos make a
stroll through the city a nice adventure. And if that’s not enough, you can
visit a museum, climb up the Asinelli tower to enjoy the view over the city or
eat, yes just eat.

Which areas to go:

Bologna is quite a small city, so
if you just come here to visit, one to two days are enough. If you want to
breathe the Italian vibes and indulge fully in what the cuisine, or better
‘cocina’ here has to offer, you might want to stay a bit longer.

In general, I really liked a walk
around the big park close to Porta
Castiglione
, an evening Spritz in the student area, close to Osteria
dell’Orsa and a stroll on Via del
Pratello
, a street full of restaurants and a bit off from the tourists.
What’s also very cute is the Piazza
Santa Stefano
with a little café just along the façade of the beautiful
houses, where I strongly advise you to order a chocolate or vanilla cream
filled croissant, along with a Cappuccino and just sit outside and watch the on
goings on the square. Of course the main square, Piazza Maggiore is also a must-see.

Church on the way to Porta Castiglione

Where to eat:

Caffè delle Sette Chiese

A cafe, bar and restaurant where you can enjoy your morning cappuccino and a croissant filled with nutella or chantilly cream, an afternoon Spritz and some Italian bites or anything else during the day. A view on the Basilica di Santo Stefano and the square, make this a lovely spot to rest before or after your tour through the city.




Osteria Dell’Orsa


This two-floor rustic restaurant is somehow a
canteen for students due to its very affordable prices and simple but delicious
food. But not only students lunch and dine here, it’s also older people and of
course as the word spreads, some tourists. Order a bottle of red wine from the
region, some Tortellini in brodo (in broth) and Tagliatelle al ragu Bolognese,
two dishes you cannot miss when being in the city, birthplace of the delicious
pasta sauce with minced beef. Try one of their desserts, they’re epic!

Website: Osteria dell’Orsa
Price: Around 7-9E for a pasta dish, 14E for a bottle of wine, 6E for a dessert

Trattoria Gianni




This very local, slightly hidden trattoria is
perfect if you want to escape the heat and sun and cool down in a cave-like
basement. Extremely nice waiters, a great menu with daily changing offers and
great wines are what you can expect here. Try their Pâté made from
Mortadella, served with Italian toasted Brioche. Then dig your fork into their
Ricottini, similar to Gnocchi but without potatoes and with a lot of Ricotta,
served with butter, truffles and Parmesan. I also recommend their Tortelli
filled with Ricotta, served with butter and sage. Get some recommendations on
their wines, they’re all regional and really fantastic!

Website: Trattoria Gianni
Price: Around 30E for a lunch including drinks, 12-14E for a pasta dish

Other recommended places to eat:

The following places were on my to-do list, recommended by Italians, but unfortunately in one and a half days it’s impossible to try 10 different restaurants. But I put them on here anyways.

Where to shop food:

In case you want to do some
serious food shopping, you know, show off back home with Mortadella,
Parmigiano, Parma ham or any other Italian specialty from the region, then you
won’t be disappointed. You’ll find plenty of smaller and bigger shops in the
area of Piazza Majore, some more touristy and some less.

Eataly and other small shops in the city center

The streets around Eataly are
full of small shops selling Italian produce. Eataly itself is a shop I ironically first encountered in New York, opposite of the Flat Iron building. Back then I
was fascinated by the variety, today, a more food-spoiled me doesn’t see Eataly
as the most original place to buy food at, but it’s definitely a solid spot to
get some pasta, olive oil, sardines or risotto. The Eataly in Bologna is fairly
small, but has a good choice.

Website: Eataly

La Bottega

I bumped into this little bottega
by chance when walking through the small streets of Bologna on my way to Porta
Castiglione. Run by very nice people, you can get pasta, venere rice, sardines
in glasses and my favourite Pugliese specialty: taralli. If you’re staying in the
city longer, I advise you to buy some of their fresh pasta, and anything
marinated, like aubergines or anchovies, it all looked mouth-watering!

Website: La Bottega

Mercato Delle Erbe

Close to Via del Pratello is the daily
market (closed on Sundays) selling fresh vegetables, fruit, meat, you know the
deal. If you’re in Bologna just for a day, pop in anyways and buy some sweet
apricots or a good bunch of figs, which are about twice the size of those you
can find in supermarkets in Germany, France or Belgium.

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