Italy’s Best Kept Secret

Discovering beautiful Bologna in the shade of its arcades, between good food and ancient culture

  • Italy’s Best Kept Secret
  • Italy’s Best Kept Secret
  • Italy’s Best Kept Secret
  • Italy’s Best Kept Secret
  • Italy’s Best Kept Secret
  • Italy’s Best Kept Secret

Bologna is an authentic Italian gem, perhaps not as well-known as it would deserve, especially abroad. It has the world’s most ancient University, historic taverns and great food, and its radial plan and long straight streets make it so easy to tour that, as late Bologna-born singer-songwriter Lucio Dalla used to sing, “not even a child would get lost” in the old city. Wherever you end up, you just know that sooner or later, crossing one of the medieval gates along the ancient walls, you will walk straight the two towers, the emblem of the medieval city.
Although Bologna is comparatively small, it has many different faces. There is the historical town dating back to late Middle Ages, with the towers and the majestic palaces, and of course with those 38 kilometers of arcades that make Bologna so unique.
There is the pleasure-loving city with its renowned local cuisine and delicacies – mortadella (known worldwide simply as Bologna), tagliatelle, lasagne and tortellini, just to name a few. There are the picturesque hilly outskirts of the city, just beyond the medieval walls, and the Giardini Margherita, the green lung of the city, where families and students mingle come spring.
Yet perhaps the real essence of the city lies in the intersection of all these different souls, in its ability to mix its village feel with the cosmopolitan spirit of a town crowded with thousands of students from all over Italy and the world, and enriched by an exciting diversity of languages, dialects and nationalities.
Not to be missed
Square of the Seven Churches

24, via Santo Stefano
The square in front of St. Stephen's Basilica, also known as ‘Square of the Seven Churches’, is one of the city’s most fascinating and remarkable sights. Built on the site of an ancient pagan temple, the Basilica’s complex has a unique feature that attracts tons of tourists every year: it includes the remains of seven churches in different styles and from different eras. Four of them are still recognizable: the Church of the Holy Crucifix, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the Church of Saints Vitale and Agricola, and the Church of the Trinity.
Mercato di Mezzo
12, via Clavature
Nestled in the area between Piazza Maggiore, Via Rizzoli, Piazza della Mercanzia, Via Castiglione, Via Farini, Piazza Galvani and Via dell'Archiginnasio is what the locals call Quadrilatero, a place where grocery stores and stalls have been thriving ever since the Middle Ages, home to the gastronomic tradition of the city and the definitive foodie destination in town. Arranged on three levels, the newly restored Mercato di Mezzo was created to allow people to do their food shopping any time of the day, being able to choose from a wide choice of products: fish, meat, cold cuts, cheeses, bread, pasta, fruits, wine, beer and desserts.
Salita San Luca
36, via di San Luca
On top of Colle della Guardia, one of the hills surrounding Bologna, stands the beautiful Sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin of San Luca, which can be reached on foot by climbing up a 4 km long stairway under the 666 arches of one of the most beautiful arcades in the world, built between the late seventeenth and the early eighteenth centuries.
Pastificio Paolo Atti e figli
Since its birth in the 1880s, this historic pasta workshop has been selling bread, pasta, and sweet delights in one of the most beautiful streets of the city. The shop has preserved its original signs, as well as its cherished tradition handed down from generation to generation.
Osteria Bottega
Via Santa Caterina, 51
In the heart of the city, between Porta Saragozza and via Barberia, is the most famous restaurant in town, a renowned tavern which is very popular among locals and regular visitors as well. The main reason behind its undying fame is the delicious traditional Emilian cuisine, which of course includes the inevitable tortellini and the savory Bolognese cutlet, along with a wide choice of local cured meats, such Ennio Pasquini’s mortadella, Parma ham, and the famous culatello di Zibello.

Author : The Slowear Journal


Bologna  | arcades  | culture  | history  | taverns  | beauty  | food  |

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