Italians are certainly aware of the important part Bologna has played in their food heritage. The city is beginning to be discovered as a city break destination by visitors from the UK, and it won’t take them long to find out what a “foodie” city this is.
The charming city of Bologna has a lot to offer tourists, but many people want to visit the city primarily to sample its delicious cuisine. It really is a gastronomic delight. When in Bologna you have to remember that cooking is an art and that you’re in a city full of masterpieces. The university is the oldest in Europe, and it’s very likely that this has influenced much of the city’s development since the Middle Ages, including from a food perspective.
Fresh pasta, made with eggs and flour, typifies the food for which the city is renowned. Fresh pasta can be either plain, like Tagliatelle, or stuffed, like Tortellini. Tortellini are the most famous of the typical dishes of Bologna and can be found in most restaurants. The traditional way to eat Tortellini is in broth. The pasta is filled with meat and cheese, all strictly of Emilian origin.
Tagliatelle al Ragù is also a classic dish of Bologna. The Spaghetti Bolognese which is often found in other countries does not exist in Italy, especially in Bologna. The real thing to try is Tagliatelle with ragù sauce. Spaghetti is a dried pasta which is considered to be inferior to the fresh egg pasta eaten here. The Tagliatelle recipe is so important in the gastronomic culture of Emilia Romagna that the recipe is copyrighted and deposited at the Bologna Chamber of Commerce. The Ragù sauce uses a mixture of ground beef and pork cooked with milk, butter, white wine, carrots, celery and onion.
Another famous food product of Bologna is Mortadella, a salami-type sausage. Its name dates back to Roman times. Pork is chopped and mixed with lard and spices before being made into sausages. To try a good one of Bolognese origin it’s best to head to the area of the Quadrilatero.
Bologna is a compact city and it’s easy to explore the beautifully preserved medieval centre on foot. Piazza Maggiore is a good place to start, and then perhaps wander inside the Basilica di San Petronio, dedicated to the fifth-century bishop and patron saint of the city, St Petronius. You can also head for the Two Towers, the city’s focal point, strategically placed at the entry point in the city of the Emilian Way. you can climb the Torre Asinelli for a fantastic view of the red roofed-streets below. If you’re looking for a coffee stop during your sightseeing, make for the Piazza Santo Stefano, an elegant broad square lined with a number of cafés.
If you’re in Bologna this autumn/winter and have an hour or two to spare, it might be well worth visiting the Mucha exhibition. Alphonse Mucha was one of the greatest exponents of Art Nouveau, and some of his works will be on show in the city until 20th January 2019.
A delightful city with wonderful food – there are certainly many reasons to visit Bologna.