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A local’s guide to Bologna: from belt-busting pasta to craft cocktails | Bologna holidays

Kevin Raub is an American journey journalist based mostly in Bologna. He is co-author of greater than 100 Lonely Planet guidebooks.


Bologna is the capital of arguably Italy’s most essential meals area, Emilia-Romagna, a storied territory whose kitchens have given beginning to an extended listing of specialities well-known the world over. Lasagne, ragù, tortellini, mortadella, parmesan cheese and balsamic vinegar all hail from right here.

At Pasta Fresca Naldi, a tiny store/cafe west of the historic centre, pastaphiles line up for the hand-rolled specialities of proprietor Valeria and her staff of nonne (grandmothers). Daily-changing choices (from round €7) like tagliatelle with ragù or prosciutto and lemon; tortellini al pasticcio (baked with pork and cream); and gramigna alla salsiccia (curly pasta with sausage) will flooring you. With simply six stools inside, most individuals go for a takeaway package deal.

For a sit-down expertise, Trattoria Bertozzi usually tops Bologna’s lengthy listing of fantastic conventional eating places. It’s virtually a mile from the centre, far sufficient away to keep its genuine ethos, with native dishes akin to gramigna with cured pork, courgettes, saffron and shaved parmesan.


Handmade tortelliniHandmade tortellini, a grandmothers’ speciality in Bologna. Photograph: Maria Moratti/Getty Images


For 5 a long time, till his dying in 2012, Lucio Dalla was Italy’s most revered singer-songwriter. In 2019, his mesmerising residence contained in the Fifteenth-century Palazzo Casa Fontana poi Gamberini, was opened to the general public. Casa di Lucio Dalla (€15pp) is a wild experience by way of the eccentric thoughts of a musical genius, full with a head-spinning potpourri of provocative bric-a-brac, private artefacts and treasured artwork.


Bolognina (“Little Bologna”) sits behind the principle prepare station and is a hub of working-class life. Bolognina is pretty quick on points of interest – they comprise a (free) museum about the mysterious 1980 Ustica plane crash, and the Nineteenth-century Sacred Heart church with its large cupola – however lengthy on persona. It’s an up-and-coming, multicultural neighbourhood of markets, ethnic eateries and innumerable accents. Gentrification hasn’t fairly dug its heels in right here, however streets akin to Via Luigi Serra (residence to the improbable, and improbable worth, Trattoria di Via Serra; hip bar/cafe Fermento; artisanal bakery Forno Brisa and natural gelateria Stefino) give a way of Bolognina’s course of journey, and reward those that enterprise out of the centre.

statue, green grass, blue sky, young peopleGiardini Margherita, Bologna. Photograph: Luca Antonio Lorenzelli/Alamy


Green area

No Bologna park fulfils green-space hankerings like Giardini Margherita, a 26-hectare expanse inaugurated in 1879 and impressed by English panorama gardens. The metropolis’s former municipal greenhouses have been repurposed into one in all Bologna’s coolest venues, residence to Vetro (for drinks and vegan bites) and Le Serre (with co-working areas exhibitions and cultural occasions). Be it for completely happy hour or an hour or two of alfresco work, it’s straightforward to laze away a day right here.


Via del Pratello is Bologna’s well-known nightlife road, however for a bit extra character together with your cocktails, set a date with Davo, Don, Jack and Ricky at Ruggine on Vicolo Alemagna. Four associates from numerous corners of northern Italy opened this cocktail bar on a slender, glow-orange alley 450 metres from Piazza Maggiore. You gained’t discover Campari, Aperol or fancy garnishes right here, however regionally pushed craft mixology.

To faucet into Italy’s glorious craft beer scene, head a brief approach west to Il Punto, which has an array of ales on draught (together with one hand-pump), with a concentrate on native birra artigianale. Fans of sours and wild ales ought to strive a tipple at Ca’ del Brado, a top-notch craft brewery a couple of miles south of the town centre.


Close to the outdated city, artwork historian Maria Ketty runs the charming Bologna nel Cuore, a B&B with two doubles and two one-bedroom flats, providing brilliant interiors, excessive ceilings, colourfully tiled bogs and really beneficiant breakfasts. Doubles from €125,

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