Bologna is one of my favourite Italian cities, for both its food and its architecture. I’ve been twice, in 2009 and 2020, for five nights each time, so I’ve got a fair handle on the city.
Below are my top tips summarised and links to my posts (thirteen in all) grouped by subject, to help you access them more easily. You’ll find everywhere mentioned on my map (key top left).
Favourite budget restaurant in 2020: Osteria dell’Orsa (post here).
Favourite mid-range restaurant in 2020: Drogheria della Rosa (post here).
Favourite mid-range restaurants in 2009: Trattoria Fantoni and Trattoria Gianni (post here).
Favourite bar: Le Stanze (post here).
Favourite place for an aperitivo: Piazza Santo Stefano (post here).
Best coffee: Aroma (post here).
Best ice cream: pistacchio flavour at Cremeria Santo Stefano (post here).
Best deli: Tamburini and the Quadrilatero in general (post here).
Favourite sight: Fountain of Neptune (pictured above, post here).
Second favourite sight: Finestrella overlooking Canale di Reno (post here).
Favourite walk: up the hill to Santuario di San Luca (post here).
Favourite Stile Liberty building: 9 Via Rodolfo Audinot (post here).
EATING & DRINKING
Eating & Drinking Like a Professor (post here).
Eating & Drinking Like a Student (post here).
Coffees, Ice Creams and Aperitivos (post here).
Sunday Lunch (post here).
Don’t die before you go to Deli Heaven in the Quadralatero (post here).
A Visit to the Mercato delle Erbe (post here).
A Walk Around the Cathedral Squares (post here).
Medieval Architecture (post here).
Stile Liberty (post here).
Modern Architecture (post here).
ART & DESIGN
Street Art & Grafitti (post here).
Storefronts, Signs, Gates & Porticoes (post here).
In 2009 my employer put me in the Zanhotel Regina, an unremarkable but comfortable hotel located within walking distance of the train station.
In 2020 I was on holiday I thought I’d stay near the famous Two Towers so I rented a room in the Galleria Acquaderni. What I didn’t realise was that one of the towers would be leaning in the direction of my top floor room window!
The Centro Historico is small enough to be walkable so I went by foot everywhere. However Bologna is very much a bicycle-friendly town so bike rental shouldn’t be a problem. The city is flat but is surrounded by hills.
I washed my clothes at the self-service launderette Lava Bo at 11/E Via Remorsella. Another option near my work hotel might be Lavapiumone at 35/B Via Irnerio.
I didn’t get time to go but Gino’s at 13 Via Santo Stefano looks like a good place for a gents haircut.
You may be interested to know that the city has three nicknames; “La Grassa” (‘the fat’) in reference to its cuisine, “La Dotta” (‘the scholar’) due to the university, and “La Rossa” (‘the red’) for the colour of its brick buildings and the predominant political beliefs of the population.
Also you should know that noone has ever heard of Spag Bol here, to them it’s Tagliatelle al Ragù which can be defined as a meat sauce of beef, carrots, celery, tomatoes and onions only, cooked for a long time). You’ll find the ‘official’ Accademia Italiana della Cucina recipe here. Try it, it really is the best way of making Ragù alla Bolognese that I have come across.
Onwards to Ravenna next!