Bologna = A food lovers paradise!
Bologna is an alluring city with its old town stretching on seemingly forever. It’s located in the heart of the Emilia Romagna, Northeastern Italy and is an ideal city to make a base when traveling around the central region of the country. Bologna also has a realness to it that you will instantly relate to and feel right at home in. There are no large crowds of tourists here only authentic locals and their amazing personalities.
What makes Bologna even more appealing is how affordable it is. This is a place that doesn’t charge you more if you decide to sit down for your coffee. Bologna and its locals welcome you in and you will feel very welcome and relaxed during your entire stay.
Bologna offers a variety of amazing shopping, food and sites to explore. We recommend staying at least a week and enjoy walking around this amazing city.
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Trafoodel Recommends Restaurants…
In Bologna meat-filled Tortellini, Tortelli, Lasagna, Tagliatelle al ragù, Lard-dotted mortadella rule the local food scene. You will also find a variety of cured meats, like Prosciutto di Parma and culatello, advertised on appetizer boards in surrounding markets. The city has three nicknames and After a visit, you’ll understand why, nicknames: la grassa (the fat), la dotta (the learned) and la rossa (the red).
Bologna has amazing food around every corner and because of this to properly enjoy in all of Bologna’s food delights you should start by strolling through the food shops and stalls surrounding Mercato di Mezzo, whose street names represent the foods that can be found there, Via delle Pescherie Vecchie = Street of the Old Fish Mongers. Visit Simoni for a selection of cured meats, mortadella, and local cheeses and local wines. If you want to experience snack time with the locals head across Piazza Maggiore and experience Pigro Mortadelleria for a mortadella served with a glass of Franciacorta.
An amazing restaurant that Trafoodel recommends is Al Pappagallo. Situated literally in the shadow of the two towers that are the symbol of Bologna, this restaurant depicts authentic Bolognese cuisine as it should be. Pappagallo hold onto the old traditions that many other restaurants stopped following many years ago, for example, if you are a dining as a couple, the ladies menu will not have the prices printed on it. Overall this amazing restaurant has some of the best and most traditional food in Bologna.
Trafoodel Recommends Accommodation…
Bologna being a stunning very old city you are surrounded be original architecture and staying in one of these traditional buildings is a must. This is why Trafoodel recommends the Grand Hotel Majestic già Baglioni
Grand Hotel Majestic già Baglioni is the oldest and most prestigious hotel in Bologna and sits in the heart of the city on Via dell’Indipendenza, within walking distance of Piazza Maggiore and the famous Due Torri. This five-star deluxe hotel is situated in a Palazzo is designed by architect Alfonso Torregiani during the first half of the 18th century and built by order of Cardinal Prospero Lambertini, who later became Pope. The palazzo is built on top of an ancient Roman road that can be seen in the hotel.
The hotel has 109 rooms that are a mix of antique furniture with modern amenities that offer a perfect mix of classic Italian style and hospitality. There is also a total of 7 meeting rooms that all enjoying natural light and can each accommodate up to 120 people. The three original rooms are quite unique each having 16th-century coffered ceilings.
The hotel is also famous for its I Carracci Restaurant with its frescoes that are regarded as among the most sophisticated and elegant in Bologna. Here you will enjoy the traditional recipes of the Emilia region whilst seated under an authentic Italian masterpiece. I Carracci Restaurant has recently been rewarded with the prestigious Three Forks Micheline and included in the last Espresso Italian Restaurants Guide.
Trafoodel Recommends in Bologna…
1. Climb Italy’s tallest leaning tower
Bologna has a great leaning tower of its own.
Visiting Asinelli Tower in the heart of the city, you won’t feel like you have stepped into a tourist trap. This tower is old, it’s leaning and while walking up it’s teetering stairs, you’ll definitely feel like you’re on an adventure. The wooden stairs are narrow and all that separates you from a tumble below is a thin wooden railing. But the climb is worth it because you’ll come out to an extraordinary view of the ancient city’s rooftops.
2. Try Traditional Balsamic Vinegar
Traditional balsamic vinegar can sell for €50-€100 a bottle and after you learn about how it’s made you will understand why. It takes a minimum 7-years to age traditional balsamic with most batches sitting in barrels up to 15 years. Some are even aged for 45 years.
3. Eat Parmigiano Regianno
This isn’t the supermarket balsamic vinegar that we buy, traditional balsamic is thick and delicious. You only need a few drops to drizzle over anything you want including pasta, strawberries and cheese.
Parma is just a short train ride away from Bologna and you must eat Parmesan cheese when visiting. The locals will tell you it is very good for you and you must eat it every day. After a run, before dinner, after dinner with prosecco…you name the time of day, you must eat the amazing Parmesan Reggiano. Like traditional balsamic, a lot of care goes into making parmesan cheese. It is aged for two years and hand rotated on a daily basis to evenly distribute the flavour.
4. Basilica di San Petronio
This basilica is actually the world’s 5th largest church. It was actually never completed to its original plans that would make it bigger than St Peter’s in Rome.
6. Stroll the Porticoes
As Bologna was booming due to its thriving university, extra housing was needed for students. The university was located downtown and instead of building outside the city, Bologna built facades on the front of their buildings into the streets. The student housings were built on the front of already existing buildings with a stipulation that they must be wide and high enough to allow horse carts to pass. Thus, giant archways were built throughout the city.
Today, there is 45 km of archways left standing and allow for pedestrians to stroll under the beautiful structures sheltered from bad weather including rain and hot sun. It makes for a pleasant afternoon of shopping.
7. Piazza Maggiore
The main plaza of Bologna is Piazza Maggiore the Basilica of San Petronio. This church was meant to be the largest church in the world. This Basilica isn’t Bologna’s main church, the actual main church of Bologna is located on the main street of dell’Indipendenza, Cattedrale di San Pietro.
8. Enjoy Gelato
Bologna is home to the foremost Gelato Machine company in the world. Carbigiani Gelato University offers courses for €900 that you will get back after you buy their €21,000 machine. Don’t have €21,000 to spare? That’s ok, tasting gelato is a lot more enjoyable. Bologna has many authentic gelato shops where you’ll become addicted to the rich and creamy taste.
The rule of gelato in Italy…eat it at least twice a day.
9. Oratorio di Santa Cecila
Near the University stands the amazing church Oratorio di Santa Cecila. There are well preserved 16th-century frescoes by the talented artist Lorenzo Costa which is a must see. There are also many many other churches that are worth while places to visit in Bologna such as Cattedrale Metropolitana di San Pietro, Basilica di San Petronio, Complesso di Santo Stefano, Santuario di San Luca, Basilica di San Domenico’ Complesso di San Michele in Bosco.
10. Go to the Markets
Bologna is a market city, from clothing, antiques and most definitely food. There is a pedestrian street filled with fruit, meat and cheese markets called Mercato delle Erbe in the old town that you must visit.
You’ll find traditional balsamic, cured meats, Parmigiano Reggiano and fresh fruits and vegetables. It’s all high-quality food for reasonable prices. Bologna isn’t only an amazing destination, it’s also very affordable and an amazing city for anyone visiting Italy.
In Bologna, the summers are warm and mostly clear and the winters are chilly and partly cloudy. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 0°C to 31°C and is rarely below -4°C or above 35°C.
The hot season lasts for 3.2 months, from June 6 to September 13, with an average daily high temperature above 25°C. The hottest day of the year is August 3, with an average high of 31°C and low of 20°C.
The cold season lasts for 3.4 months, from November 19 to March 1, with an average daily high temperature below 11°C. The coldest day of the year is January 12, with an average low of 0°C and high of 6°C.
High °C Low °C
January 6 -1
February 9 1
March 14 4
April 18 7
May 23 12
June 27 16
July 30 19
August 30 18
September 25 15
October 19 10
November 11 4
December 7 0