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’s co-author of greater than 100 Lonely Planet guidebooks.


Bologna is the capital of arguably Italy’s most vital meals area, Emilia-Romagna, a storied territory whose kitchens have given beginning to a protracted 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 crew of nonne (grandmothers). Every day-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 bundle.

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

Handmade tortellini
Handmade tortellini, a grandmothers’ speciality in Bologna. {Photograph}: Maria Moratti/Getty Photos


For 5 a long time, till his loss of life in 2012, Lucio Dalla was Italy’s most revered singer-songwriter. In 2019, his mesmerising house contained in the Fifteenth-century Palazzo Casa Fontana poi Gamberini, was opened to the general public. Casa di Lucio Dalla (€15pp) is a wild journey 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 primary practice station and is a hub of working-class life. Bolognina is pretty brief on sights – they comprise a (free) museum about the mysterious 1980 Ustica plane crash, and the Nineteenth-century Sacred Coronary heart church with its big cupola – however lengthy on character. 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 comparable to Through Luigi Serra (house to the implausible, and implausible 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 people
Giardini Margherita, Bologna. {Photograph}: Luca Antonio Lorenzelli/Alamy

Inexperienced house

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


Through del Pratello is Bologna’s well-known nightlife avenue, however for a bit extra character together with your cocktails, set a date with Davo, Don, Jack and Ricky at Ruggine on Vicolo Alemagna. 4 pals from varied corners of northern Italy opened this cocktail bar on a slim, glow-orange alley 450 metres from Piazza Maggiore. You gained’t discover Campari, Aperol or fancy garnishes right here, however domestically pushed craft mixology.

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


Shut to the previous city, artwork historian Maria Ketty runs the charming Bologna nel Cuore, a B&B with two doubles and two one-bedroom residences, providing vivid interiors, excessive ceilings, colourfully tiled loos and really beneficiant breakfasts. Doubles from €125,

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