The last time I took the airplane from Lisbon to Rome, I saw a really nice article on TAP Up Magazine about Bologna. I had been wanting to visit this city for a while, but the chance never came up. Reading the article that day really made me put it on top of my travel priority list.
Last weekend all conditions were reunited and so I headed north to visit Bologna and to meet my good friend Giulia. Bologna is the capital of Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region and it is known as ‘la dotta, la grassa e la rossa’, which means ’the wise, the fat and the red’. The wise, because of the oldest existing university, dating as far back as 1088. The red, because in history, Bologna has been politically associated with left wing parties, also, coincidentally or not, the matching red tones that are really prevalent in the roofs, walls and curtains. The fat stands for its rich and abundant cuisine, which is considered by many to be Italy’s greatest gastronomic treasure. I personally think that a country’s gastronomic greatness lies in a variety of great regional cuisines, but Emilia-Romagna greatness starts to take shape if you think that it is home to some of Italy’s most recognised products (the great Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, prosciutto di Parma, balsamic vinegar, tortellini, and other great cheeses and prepared meat products). Bologna is also home to well known dishes like Tagliatelle al ragú, Tortellini in brodo, the great Lasagna, Mortadella and other famous affetatti. Please don’t come to Bologna expecting to find Spaghetti Bolognese, this recipe can probably be found in every country in the world but here. Hah..How ironic is that?
I arrived on a Saturday morning and roamed the whole day in the city with my friend and her brother, as my lovely local guides. She had lived in Bologna during college and he currently lives there. The city was full of markets, Christmas decorations and nice stores. Full of nice porticoes, passing bikes and beautiful caffès and restaurants (old and new ones). Bologna’s attributes transmitted a very warm atmosphere, even in cloudy and grey day.
If you are visiting Bologna and you are a food enthusiast, these are my advices for you:
- Have breakfast at Caffè Zanarini (Piazza Galvani, 1)
Put your best Snob face on and start the day with cornetto, cappucino or caffè with the Bologna’s well-heeled society.
- Eat at Trattoria Della Santa (Via Urbana, 7)
It is a small, cosy and a bit demodè restaurant outside of the touristic circuit of Bologna. Don’t miss the traditional Tagliatelle al ragú or the Tortellini in brodo, you will not regret it.
- Buy delicacies at Tamburini (Via Caprarie, 1)
Tamburini is a Charcuterie founded in 1932, this is the right place to buy high quality products, like the local freshly made pasta, mortadella, salami rosa and parmesan cheese and wines.
- Shop, eat and buy a book in Eataly Bologna (Via degli Orefici, 19)
Don’t miss Eataly Bologna, where three floors of bookshop are perfectly merged with the food and products display.
- Visit the Street Food Markets
Just off piazza Maggiore, in via Clavature, via Pescherie and via degli Orefici, you will find beautiful fish, fruit, vegetable and meat markets. You can do some shopping yourself or just observe the locals shopping and passing by.