Bologna: food and history in one soul

Primitive, rustic archways left standing to stroll under the beautiful structures in the city center... This is the land of food and culture, the beautiful Bologna!
Bologna, Asinelli tower and St Bartolomeo and Gaetano church
Bologna, Asinelli tower and St Bartolomeo and Gaetano church, photo by Stephane Rossignol

1. Best things to do in Bologna (Emilia Romagna)

The main meeting point in Bologna is Piazza Maggiore: there is a lot to see here, including the Basilica of San Petronio. Meant to be the largest church in the world, with its bas-reliefs by Jacopo della Quercia and paintings by Giovanni da Modena, Jacopo di Paolo, Lorenzo coast, Aspertini... Not to be missed Podesta's Palace, Palace of Notaries and Palazzo d'Accursio... Via dell'Archiginnasio with the seat of the University from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century has surely to be visited too...

The Two majestic Towers are the true symbol of the province.

Commodity Exchange
Commodity Exchange, photo by Angel


The “donkeys” Tower and Garisenda Twer. Next to them you can find the Piazza della mercanzia, with the eponymous loggia and the Sala Borsa, a brand new media library. Waiting unchanged for you, the Cathedral of St. Peter, at the beginning of Via Independence.

In Via Zamboni you can find an unexpected Bologna with water creeping lascivious under the ground... Under the porch of Piella way, in fact, a small window sheds light on a little Venice.

Still a little attention to the culture... visit the Medieval Museum, one of the most beautiful in the city!


Spaghetti with Ragu alla Bolognese
Spaghetti with Ragu alla Bolognese, photo by Naotake Murayama

2. Taste and local Food

Bologna is famous for its dishes and its great wines. A crescendo of carbohydrates and proteins, from the famous tortellini to the typical mortadella, all to be enjoyed with hundreds of local recipes, children of a timeless tradition: bolognese cooked meat, fried cake, noodles, lasagne, Bolognese sauce ... and then flat bread, the delicious tigelle seasoned with lard...

The narrow streets with assorted banquets of seasonal fruits
The narrow streets with assorted banquets of seasonal fruits, photo by Gabriele Tudico

Bologna the fat, they call it, for good food, not always full of Kcal... so why don’t you wander through the narrow streets of the ancient market, with assorted banquets of all kinds of food, seasonal fruits and fresh fish from the Adriatic sea?

A legend to debunk for ecotravellers: it is not true that the lard is everywhere in food. Most of the “piadinerie” has the alternative of flat bread with olive oil. The same happens with tigelle. The point is to ask for information with curiosity and spirit of adventure!

In Via Albari, 6, in the former Jewish ghetto, there is an organic-vegan-vegetarian restaurant very welcoming. The restaurant has three rooms with wooden tables, wooden beamed ceilings and (hard to believe it), mobile phones must be switched off! The food is great, everything is organic, prepared daily and fresh. Very suitable for those who eat vegan, vegetarian dishes and dairy products are very few and well-marked. A few choice of raw fresh fruit and salad. A good alternative is the Estravagario Restaurant, Via Mascarella. Good vegetarian choice and courtesy of the owners will make you feel at home.

Talking about Cheese, Parma is just a short train ride away from Bologna and you cannot loose Parmesan cheese. Give it a try, you will never come back! It is aged for two years and hand made. Try it also with balsamic… Delicious!



Banqueting-hall, Barbarossa Day to Medicina close to Bologna
Banqueting-hall, Barbarossa Day to Medicina, photo by Stefano

3. The bolognese Hills and the surroundings

A glance at the valley of the Rhine that arrives in Tuscany is a must see, as a side trip to the "road of the castles" which starts from Tizzano and continues to Zola Predabissi, Bazzano, Monteveglio.

Imola is right on the border between Emilia and Romagna (not to be confused, absolutely) and this makes it a bit special... a “must” for sports and gastronomic reasons.

The medieval festivals in the nearby of Bologna are various and well made, the one in Medicina in mid-September is particularly striking: you will find the "den of scoundrels" and the "tower of geese" to eat the fried onion, a gastronomic lust...

After that… festivals to suit all tastes... from the wine festival and donut to the ones of ravioli, tortelli, Garganelli, macaroon, brown, mushrooms, grapes, watermelon, beer, apricot and cherry ...


Gessi Bolognesi Park
Gessi Bolognesi Park, photo by Lella Viola

4. Nature, sport and green itineraries

Do not miss the Natural Park dei Gessi Bolognesi e dei Calanchi dell'Abbadessa. Here you can have funny walks involving the stables in the area. We are on the hills of Bologna, a real heritage for eyes and heart: sinkholes, plateaus, blind valleys and cliffs of Mediterranean to discover riding a horse.

The bike paths are many. Some points of interest are:

Castello di Serravalle: fifty-five km from Reno to Bazzano and Castello di Serravalle, with a slope rather strong.

Valle del Senio - Valle Del Lamone: two long climbs; a route that starts and falls in Faenza through Riolo Terme, Marradi and Abeto, trespassing in Tuscany, between its mountains.

Sassoleone: the starting point in Castel San Pietro, a little town between Imola and Bologna, make it possible to discover a castle dating from the thirteenth century and a relaxing spa.

The route passes through Dozza, with its famous wines. A climb to Castel San Pietro leads to the valley of meadows, in a latch that comes in Sassoleone. The way backis downhill to Dozza along the Via Emilia to Castel San Pietro (53 km).

5. Where to stay in Bologna and surrounding

Discover all eco-friendly accommodations in the province of Bologna: organic farms on the hills, small B&B set in beautiful medieval villages, ecofriendly hotels in the old city center.

Discover all eco-friendly accommodations in Bologna


by Angela Sebastianelli

Cover photo by Goldmund100 (Luca Volpi), Bologna view by Asinelli Tower, via wikipedia

Eco-friendly accommodations

B&B Cà del Buco

Bologna (Emilia-Romagna)

Starting from €60.00

Agriturismo Parco della Chiusa

Metropolitan City of Bologna (Emilia-Romagna)

Starting from €90.00

B&B AmaBologna

Bologna (Emilia-Romagna)

Starting from €70.00

Agriturismo il Cavicchio

Bologna (Emilia-Romagna)

Starting from €78.00