Dining and Drinking in Bologna







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Where to eat and drink in Bologna                    (Back to Bologna main information page)

In the year 2000, Bologna had an extra incentive for ostentatiously celebrating the arrival of the new millenium. This is because on 20th November 1999, it was chosen as the European City of Culture. Together with other European cities, it had to demonstrate its unique identity through a programme of intercultural exchanges. Needless to say, this programme, combined with the millenium celebrations, attracted an influx of tourism to the city and brought about a increased level of international interest.

There is no denying that Bologna is noted for its academic culture ? the presence of one of the world?s oldest universities here is testament to this fact ? but there are also many other cultural aspects of which Bologna can be proud. Its cuisine, for example, never fails to delight visitors to the city: it has a culinary tradition which successfully manages to combine the traditional and the modern while never sacrificing creativity.

The best restaurants in Bologna offer official ?Bologna 2000? dishes and menus, in which all the food has been prepared according to ancient traditions, using ingredients of the highest quality. This way, eating is not only a pleasure in itself, but also becomes a means of appreciating and remembering the past.

Puff pastry dishes are extremely characteristic of Bolognese cuisine. Other typical dishes include the famous, aromatic mortadella (ham), tiny tortellini in stock and pale yellow tagliatelle in rag?/i> (meat sauce) - which is a very popular home-cooked dish.

The roof of the Palazzo Communale is embellished with Guelph and Ghibelline battlements. Inside, are the sumptuous rooms of the Papal Legate?s former appartments. These contain the precious Civic Art Collection . The Museo Morandi is also housed inside this palace.

Also on the piazza are the Palazzo dei Banchi, the Palazzo dei Notai, the legendary Palazzo Re Enzo and the famous Neptune?s Fountain, which was designed by Giambologna and Tommaso Laureti in 1563.

To the east of the basilica, along the right hand side is the Portico del Pavaglione, beneath which you will see the ancient Ospedale della Morte ? which today houses the Archaeological Museum and the Archiginnasio ? which is famous for the seven thousand heraldic coats of arms which have been painted on its interior walls.


Beside Palazzo dei Banchi lies the tangled street network of the mercato di mezzo, where the streets have all retained the names of the ancient Corporations of the Arts.

If you leave Piazza Maggiore and cross Via Rizzoli via Via Oberdan, you will reach the Jewish Ghetto where the new Jewish Museum was opened in 1999.

If you walk away from the Ghetto down Via Rizzoli, you will be able to admire the beauty of the historic Due Torri di Bologna (?Two Towers?). The highest ? which is known as Torre degli Asinelli - measures 97m while the Torre pendente della Garisenda is no higher than 48.16m.

Head towards the famous Piazza Santo Stefano, with a short stop to take in the Palazzo della Mercanzia. This enchanting piazza houses the legendary Complesso Basilicale Stefaniano which was founded by Petronio ? the city?s patron saint. This religious complex (made up of seven churches) is unique as it was built on the remains of an ancient Pagan temple dedicated to the Goddess Iside.

Turn down Via Santo Stefano, and you will be able to see the beautiful church of San Giovanni in Monte. At the bottom of Via Santo Stefano, turn onto Via Dante which will lead you to Piazza Carducci where you will see Casa di Giosu? Carducci (house of the poet Giosu?Carducci), the Museum of the Risorgimento and a monument dedicated to the poet.

Continue down the street and you will get to the church of Madonna del Baraccano which was built just behind the ancient city walls. Finally, stop off for lunch or simply an ice cream at Giardini Margherita.

Strada Maggiore ? Via Irnerio

This tour starts on the roads which lead from the city centre out to the periphery.

Along Strada Maggiore stand many important palaces built for the city?s nobility including the eighteenth century Palazzo Davia Bargellini (better known as ?Palazzo dei Giganti?) which houses the Museum of Industrial Arts. Opposite Palazzo Davia Bargellini stands the Santa Maria dei Servi church which was built in the fourteenth century.

If you continue down to the bottom of Strada Maggiore, you will get to Via Fondazza - the legendary street on which Giorgio Morandi lived.

Leave Strada Maggiore and head towards Piazza Aldrovandi ? this should take you down Via San Vitale. You will pass a Romanesque church dedicated to the early Bolognese martyrs - Santi Vitale e Agricola, as well as the beautiful Palazzo Fantuzzi (characterised by its door-less rock fa?de and the eighteenth century Palazzo Hercolani - the ancient senatorial residence which now houses the Faculty of Political Science.

From Via San Vitale, you will reach Piazza Rossini which is dominated by the Romaneque fa?de of the single-spired San Giacomo Maggiore Church . The piazza also houses the Musical Conservatory where Rossini and Donizzeti once taught.

Beneath the beautiful portico on the right hand side of the San Giacomo Maggiore Church, you will find the partially hidden Santa Cecilia Oratory which contains frescoes of equal value to those in the Sistine Chapel in Rome.

On Via Zamboni, you can visit the beautiful Palazzi Magnani and Malvezzi Campeggi. Continue down Via Zamboni and you will get to the Teatro Comunale and the heart of Bologna?s university district. You can also visit Palazzo Poggi, the Aula Carducci, the ?Specola?, the Museum of Astronomy, the Naval Museum, the Academic Museum and several others.

Continue walking and head towards the National Gallery - a must for all art lovers.

At the bottom of Via Zamboni, you will see the Museum of Paleontology and the Museum of Mineralogy. Continue down Via Irnerio where you will be able to visit the ?Erbario?, the Botanical Gardens and the Museum of Anatomy.

Via Indipendenza ? Colle della Guardia

Via Indipendenza links the train station to the historic city centre. Here you will see the Porta Galliera and, on the left, the remains of the notorious Rocca di Galliera (the former papal residence). Also on the left of Via Indipendenza stands the beautiful stairway leading to Montagnola Park where an uninterrupted series of porticos leads to the monumental Metropolitana di San Pietro. This church of considerable proportions is characterised by its imposing fa?de designed by the architect Alfonso Torreggiani in 1743. The inside of the thirteenth century bell tower houses an ancient round bell in the Romanesque style.

Via Manzoni opens up on the right hand side, and here you will see the Fava Ghisilieri and Fava Ghisilardi Palaces which now house the Medieval Museum. Opposite the palaces stands the beautiful Madonna della Galliera Church which has a unique sandstone fa?de decorated with statues. At the bottom of Via Manzoni, you will reach Via Galliera and a succession of beautiful palaces built for the nobility.

Now turn towards Via Ugo Bassi and stop outside the San Francesco church on Piazza Malpighi. This magnificent thirteenth century church has retained its Romanesque fa?de, but its interior is testament to the French Gothic influence. The side of the church which gives out onto the piazza is embellished by the presence of several beautiful arches. The church?s two bell towers are also charming from an architectural point of view. The larger of these is attributed to Antonio di Vincenzo, who was also responsible for the constuction of the San Petronio Basilica.

Leave Piazza Malpighi and continue down Via Barberia until you reach the Synagogue.

Via Barberia leads to Via Carbonesi and along the way, you will be able to see the seventeenth century church of San Paolo which was designed by Giovanni Ambrogio Mazenta. You will then reach the Collegio di Spagna which has a beautiful courtyard facing the bell tower of the little church of San Clemente. Closed in behind crenellated walls, the college ? and fortress ? was built on the orders of Cardinale D?Albornoz as a place of refuge for Spanish students.

The winding road running between Via Barberia and Via Collegio di Spagna will lead to the Roman Theatre which is surrounded by a modern building containing shops. The Roman Theatre is thought to have been built at the time of the Empire. It was only discovered as a result of excavation work which was carried out in order to construct a new building. It was felt that such a rare archaeological find could not be given up for the sake of a new building, and therefore it was decided to keep both constructions side by side. The results are those of a feat of ?modern archaeological engineering? and therefore very interesting. The only small drawback is that the opening hours of the shops also determine the times you can visit the Roman Theatre.

You should now proceed in the direction of Via Saragozza, passing the gateway of the same name. Steel yourself for a long walk, punctuated by 666 porticos which will eventually lead you to the Madonna di San Luca Sanctaury which is perched elegantly on the summit of the della Guardia Hills. This walk (around three kilometres long) is usually done by pilgrims, but it is also recommended as good exercise, with a beautiful panoramic view at the top as a reward. Every year, in the month of May, there is a procession up this hill in honour of the legendary Madonna of San Luca. She is prayed to for protection against inclement weather and bad harvests.


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