Bologna – Centro Storico – coffees, ice creams and aperitivos

Each day I was in Bologna I had at least one coffee to start the day, an ice cream in the afternoon and a Negroni or two in the evening. Below are my favourite places for each. You’ll find them all on my map.

The most atmospheric place for a sundowner is at one of the bars under the porticoes in Piazza Santo Stefano.

You can sit out on one of the terraces in this atmospheric cobbled square and watch the world go by.

Another good spot for an aperitivo is at Caffé Pasticceria Zanarini at 1 Piazza Galvani.

It’s a posh wine bar, also known for its cocktails, with lots of tables outside in the square served by attentive waiters. It was my auntie’s 70th birthday on the day I was here in 2009, so I celebrated for her with a glass of prosecco. It cost €8.50 but I also received a plate of pretty mini-sandwiches with it (you can choose your own) and various stuzzichini (‘toothpick’ nibbles) which could make a small meal in its own right.

I’ve eaten a lot of gelato in my time but the Pistacchio flavour served at Cremeria Santo Stefano at 70/c Via Santo Stefano is some of the best I’ve ever eaten (A+). This didn’t surprise me as they use Pistacchio Verdi from the Bronte DOP in Sicily, which are simply the best I’ve ever come across in my travels. The hazelnut flavour, Nocciola di Cravanzana (from the Piemonte IGP), is pretty damn good too.

There are a few branches around town but I think this is the original location. They do great chocolates too.

Not quite as good but still decent is Il Gelatauro at 98/b Via San Vitale.

I had my usual Pistacchio and also a scoop of Crema con Fichi Caramellati e Mandorle (caramelised figs and almonds), both pretty good (B).

Although the space itself doesn’t look like much, the best coffee I had was from Aroma at 12/b Via Porta Nova. Their double shot Capu and a Brioche con Crema e Fragole is a great way to start the day (both A). And no, that’s not a shot of grappa!

The poshest place, with its chandeliers and waiters in white tunics with silver buttons, is Café Pasticceria Gamberini at 12/R Via Ugo Bassi.

They do a highly refined Capu and Brioche here (B+).

Their cake display is pretty impressive too.

Another posh place, white tunics again, but off the main drag down a side street, is Caffè Terzi at 10 Via Guglielmo Oberdan.

For a more relaxed hipster vibe check out Naama Cafè at 31/b 10 Via Guglielmo Oberdan.

Cheap eats next!

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