A Culinary Adventure in Bologna: A Weekend to Savor

ByAndrea Thompson

February 29, 2024
Bologna is more than a city; it’s a love affair with food, culture, and life itself. So, pack your appetite and embark on a weekend of culinary bliss. Buon viaggio!Bologna is more than a city; it’s a love affair with food, culture, and life itself. So, pack your appetite and embark on a weekend of culinary bliss. Buon viaggio!

Bologna is more than a city; it’s a love affair with food, culture, and life itself. So, pack your appetite and embark on a weekend of culinary bliss. Buon viaggio!

Bologna, at the heart of the Emilia Romagna region, where cobblestone streets whisper tales of centuries past, and every corner invites you to indulge in gastronomic delights. As you step into this vibrant Italian city, prepare to be swept away by its rich history, charming architecture, and, of course, its legendary food scene.

With its medieval charm and culinary delights, its beauty is subjective but having been there 3 times let me tell you what I find is Bologna’s allure.

It’s historic centre with elegant porticoes, hidden courtyards and standing proudly like sentinels guarding the heart of the old town, are the Two Towers, Asinelli and Garisenda.  The Garisenda tower which is 158 foot tall is in danger of collapsing due to deterioration of the base and closed to the public.  By its side is the Asinelli tower, nearly twice as tall at 318 feet which offers sweeping views of the city from the top after climbing 498 steps.

Both towers were built in the twelfth century by Bolognese nobility they have taken on many functions over the years from military use to shops and guilds.  The real reason towers were built in Italy by the nobility was a way to show their power, wealth and allowing the family name undying fame.  Despite standing for over 900 years they have withstood earthquakes, lightning, fire and even cannon balls (accidently shot during festivities in 1513).  Most famously, they have influenced cuisine as in the preparation of the real Tagliatelle Bolognese guiding the thickness of the Tagliatelle at 8cm.  It is also said that you should never climb the tower of Asinelli if you want to complete your studies or graduate.

Bologna isn’t overrun by tourists; it’s where locals live, laugh, and linger in cafés. The Quadrilatero market buzzes with energy, and the university students give their youthful exuberance.  If you are looking for architectural gems look no further than The Basilica di San Petronio, the Archiginnasio, and the Neptune Fountain or seek out the secret canals, the whimsical street art, and the cosy wine bars tucked away in narrow alleys or Porticoes of which, Bologna has 40 kilometres of them, providing shade in summer and shelter in winter. Stroll along the longest portico in the world, the Portico di San Luca, leading to the hilltop Sanctuary of San Luca.

If food is your love language, Bologna serenades you, affectionately known as “La Grassa” (the Fat One) this city celebrates life through its cuisine so let me educate you on some of these culinary wonders and with over 35 Michelin starred restaurants in this region they must be doing something right!

Tagliatelle al ragù the gift to pasta lovers. Ribbons of fresh egg pasta coated in a slow-cooked meat sauce—the original Bolognese of Bologna.  Pair it with a robust Sangiovese wine, and you’re in heaven.

Tortellini tiny parcels of joy, filled with a mix of pork, prosciutto, and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Served in a delicate clear broth, they warm your soul and tickle the tastebuds.

Mortadella the local beloved cured meat.  Its more than just a sandwich filler. Try thick slices with a glass of the local Lambrusco—a fizzy red wine that complements its flavours.

Gelato when in Italy indulge in silky-smooth gelato—pistachio, stracciatella, or perhaps a zesty lemon sorbet. Bologna’s gelaterias are an art form.

Balsamic Vinegar drizzled over Parmigiano-Reggiano or strawberries—it’s a revelation.

In comparison to other Italian cities, Bologna’s beauty lies in its authenticity—a blend of history, gastronomy, and genuine warmth. So, whether you’re savouring a plate of pasta or gazing at frescoes, Bologna’s beauty will captivate you.