Bologna is the capital of food. I’m not kidding, what’s important in Italy? Coffee, fashion, food, family and of course talking with your hands. What’s important in Bologna, food? No, scratch that, food has become more important that family in Bologna. Not kidding. We did a food tour with the AWESOME Mattia, and his great company Delicious Bologna. This is definitely something I would recommend doing, the tour is great, you learn all the local ins and outs of Bologna, and then what’s the best is that you get recommendations of where to visit after the tour. Literally an entire email filled with awesome Cafe’s and restaurants. #Worthit.
However, there are other things to do there in between the 6 meal times of the day. I’m going to give you some “consigli” (advice) if you are ever in the area. Apart from eating, obviously.
So I would say the first thing to do is definitely go and see the food market. Yes, this does revolve around food. I know. But it’s actually a really great taste of the culture, food culture and the community that has brought this special market into being. There are old ladies and men screaming at you, raw fish on the side of the road, and places you can’t eat at if you aren’t drinking wine. (that’s 100% true)
As an added extra, in the food market there is an incredible restaurant called Simoni, where you can taste loads of different hams, and different ages of Parmeggiano Reggiano. Yes, different ages. Try it out for yourself if you don’t believe me.
We also visited a coffee shop called Aroma, quite literally the best coffee I have had in Italy so far (Apart from our Florence trip. sshhh). The main Barista is a world champion, they have all different types of artisanal coffees, and it’s not frowned upon to order a cappuccino after 11am, yay!
Another cool little adventure we went on was climbing the 500 steps up the tallest leaning tower in Italy. Little surprise, its not Pisa, it’s actually the “Torre degli Asinelli” which initially was not meant to be leaning, but hey… these things happen. It’s totally safe to climb up, and definitely worth all the cardio. I have to warn you it’s not for the faint hearted, literally. Don’t climb it if you have a weak heart. Bologna is actually called the red city, because of all the red roofs in the centre.
The tickets were 5 Euro each, and they have to be bought at the tourist station in the main piazza, not the tower itself. Loads of people made this mistake. It takes about 20 minutes to climb the whole thing, and then you get about 40 minutes up there to take it all in and naturally, take all the photos you want. Then you have to leave so that the next group can suffer the 20 min of cardio to the top.
Another great feat of Italian Architecture is in the main Piazza (Square) of Bologna, and it’s the Basilica di San Petronio. It’s the city’s main cathedral, which during construction was meant to be in the shape of a cross, and was going to be bigger than St Peter’s Basilica, in the Vatican.
When the pope, then, heard about it, he ordered the construction to stop, and it remains unfinished to this day. The people have grown fond of their “unfinished” duomo, and it has become one of their proudest monuments. Almost like a Look-what-we-could-have-been thing.
This is where it gets really exciting…. what we did for dinner. During our food tour Mattia spoke about this famous ‘Osteria which is like a very chilled restaurant, I actually have no idea how to translate it, you will just have to visit Italy and experience it for yourself. Anyway, I digress, we went to this place called Osteria dell’ Orsa where you sit on a long table, and essentially eat your dinner with strangers. IT’S THE BEST!
The food is absolutely great, but you have to make sure you get there early. They don’t take reservations, and when we left, there was a MASSIVE line outside. No kidding. These people know how to do food.
In the heart of Bologna, there is a little stream running through the middle of the city, its called “little Venice” because it’s almost as if you have been transported to a different city, its adorable!
On top of all the food we had, and the many different people we met, Bologna is so much more than that. It’s a completely unique city rich in absolutely everything, stories, myths, good food, and of course lots of wine. This is Italy after all.
So if you are planning a trip to Italy, I would definitely recommend making Bologna a stop on your trip. We came home from our little whirlwind trip a whole lot fatter, and more knowledgeable about the Italian culture, plus… who doesn’t love good story.
Don’t forget to follow @littleBrave_cc on Instagram for all the story highlights if you want to keep up to date with our travels. Hopefully the next one will be in Spain!