Serving as Italy’s unofficial foodie capital, Bologna is upping the stakes this year, boasting a string of new restaurants that are seriously going to whet your appetite. Offering superb art, unbeatable architecture, and heaps of classic Italian culture, the oldest university town in Europe is pulling out all the stops. Despite its reputation as one of Italy’s most historical cities, however, Bologna has managed to keep things relatively fresh, focusing its efforts firmly on the present day. The best of both worlds, Bologna offers up tastes of both the old and the new.
While there are any number of incredible restaurants to check out in the city, you might want to up the foodie stakes and make a trip to Bologna’s newest concept spot. Eataly World opened its doors at the end of last year, and since then, it’s created serious buzz. A theme park of sorts, Eataly World focuses on all things food, putting local cuisine in the spotlight. With workshops, wine tastings, pastures, restaurants, and even rides, the complex has something for every kind of foodie, big or small. Entrance is free but activites require fares, so make sure you book up a couple of spots before you visit.
Of course, there’s a whole lot more to be discovered in Bologna. While Eataly World brings together a plethora of different foodie activities, there are far more specific culinary attractions dotted around the city. If you’re looking for a somewhat more intimate experience, try La Cucina Bolognese, an immensely popular cooking class set up by Rita Mattioli. Offering experiences for novices and experts alike, Mattioli has created an environment that is both welcoming and deeply familiar, like an intimate dinner party. Try your hand at making pasta from scratch and celebrate by tasting your creations.
Culture and local cuisine come together at the Carpigiani Gelato museum, one of Bologna’s top spots. While it might be located outside of the city centre, the museum offers tailored visits to suit your needs, making the trip more than worth it. Here you can treat yourself to tasting sessions, gelato making masterclasses, historical tours, or special family sessions. Book ahead of time and arrive with an empty tummy.
The food markets in Bologna are among some of the best in Italy, so carving out a good slot of time to make the most of them should be an essential part of your foodie itinerary. When it comes to the markets, each one has its own unique selling point; the trick is to know what to try and where. Quadrilatero, for example, has some of the best fine cheeses around. If you’re into pastries, on the other hand, you might want to try your luck at Paolo Atti & Figli. Wine, charcuterie, and everything else in between is best sampled at the stellar Tamburini. Pick up a local delicacy or two and get tasting.
Highlighting a different area of Italian cuisine every month, Marco Spanghero’s Sette Tavoli is one of the best spots in town in which to taste something unique. Small and cosy, the restaurant serves up the likes of porcini risotto, foie gras with bitter chocolate, and braised venison. Familiarize yourself with a new type of Italian cuisine, and be prepared to learn a whole lot more about the country’s foodie culture.