Where to eat and drink in Bologna
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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
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
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
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
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
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