For over a century Ristorante Diana has been the undisputed temple of good Bolognese cooking and an expression of typical Emilian hospitality. It’s the ideal place to stop and have some simple food of high quality before continuing your stroll along Via Indipendenza. The menu in this ambience of mirrors, paintings and retro chandeliers includes classic tortellini in broth and handmade tagliatelle, and boiled meats served from the famous trolley.
Rodrigo's is situated in the very centre of Bologna, in the historic Palazzo della Zecca, about 100 metres from piazza Maggiore. It is a stylish place, dating from 1949, with woodpanelled walls and coffered ceilings. Its food is a clever combination of traditional Bolognese/Emilian cuisine and special dishes featuring fresh fish and mushrooms. There are also, of course, fresh home-made tortellini and other pastas, while wild boar and lamb are on offer in the meat-based main courses. It is a favourite haunt of the famous including actors, politicians and industrialists.
This sophisticated modern setting is perfect for a moment of rest and relaxation. It caters for all sorts of eating and drinking, from Sunday brunch to lunch, from aperitifs to dinner. Its forte is undoubtedly its amazing cocktails, but it also has an impressive wine list. It is the place to go for international-style cocktails in the heart of Bologna.
Ristorante “I Carracci” has been in a magnificent fifteenth-century room adjoining the Grand Hotel Majestic since the early XX century. The stunning original frescoes (school of the Carracci brothers) combined with a refined cuisine rooted in local food and wines, make this one of the most elegant and original eating places in Bologna.
Bianca creates her recipes in a kitchen equipped for all sorts of sorcery, where sophisticated equipment and advanced solutions fulfil all the requirements of authenticity and quality. It’s not just a pastry shop, it is also a fashionable café, with colourful walls and vintage armchairs, where you can enjoy an aperitif, or a homemade cake or a baguette.
Appetizers, Italian dishes and desserts under the soft lighting of an elegant café spread over two floors, with minimalist furnishing and a view of the apse of the Basilica di San Petronio. Try their delicious fresh fruit smoothies during the day, or the superlative cocktails for an evening with friends.
The true Bolognese aperitif can be savoured at Tamburini’s, a stone’s throw from Piazza Maggiore. It’s where the locals of all ages wait for a place to come free outside so that they can sit at the big barrels and enjoy platters of excellent Emilian cold cuts and cheeses, accompanied by crescentine, of course, and a glass of good wine or craft beer. And if you are still hungry, head to the historic delicatessen (1932) next door, where you will find everything typically Emilian, from mortadella to handmade tortellini.
The interior architecture, colours, interior design and art all come together to give the Hotel I Portici in Bologna a charmingly sophisticated atmosphere, which offers its clients a new experience involving all five senses. Guests entering I Portici are greeted by the sophisticated art nouveau atmosphere of Palazzo Maccaferri, which is combined with a studied minimalist approach to the way the rooms have been furnished and embellished with Italian and international designer pieces. In addition to rooms and suites offering every imaginable creature comfort, guests may also eat in the Michelin-starred restaurant located in the late nineteenth-century Eden Theatre, or enjoy an excellent cocktail on the panoramic terrace with a view over Bologna’s rooftops.
Dazzling marble floors, white Doric columns and gilded antique furniture feature in the sumptuous interiors of the Grand Hotel Majestic (formerly the Baglioni) in Bologna. The eighteenth-century building is a short stroll from museums, theatres, galleries and cathedrals, making it one of the classic addresses of great charm for those who want to beathe the atmosphere of another age.
This pasta shop has been in business since the late XIX century. It still works in a strictly artisanal way to produce pasta and sweet and savoury delicacies. The shop in via Caprarie no longer sells only pasta, bread and pastries but has added a delicatessen as well. Here you will find all sorts of bread, such as crisp rosette, golden ciabatte and biove torinesi, many types of fresh, dried and stuffed pasta, tagliatelle of all sizes, and the famous tortellini. But Atti’s real specialty is its rice cake.
This textile business was set up in 1986 to make tablecloths in the old weavers’ street in Bologna. It now specializes in textiles for interior design, and is a well-established business on the global market where its label is to be found in premium furnishing stores. Over the years it has maintained its original traditional aspect, but also revealed a surprisingly modern side. The close relationship it establishes with individual clients, its deep understanding of their needs and the assistance provided at all stages enable the company to undertake personalized, made-to-measure projects, from the most rigorous and essential to the more eclectic and glamorous.
Fondantico Gallery opened in 1991 in a prestigious location in Galleria Cavour in Bologna, with the specific aim of bringing to light paintings of certain provenance and attribution on the international art markets. To do this the gallery owner, Tiziana Sassòli, had to put in some very hard work in the early days, but it soon led to well deserved recognition from critics, private collectors and public entities such as museums, foundations and banks.
Built in the Middle Ages for military purposes and as a demonstration of status, Bologna’s towers are one of the city’s more striking features. As well as indicating social prestige of families, they had important military functions of signaling and defence, which is why the two highest towers are at a crossroads leading to the five gates in the old city walls. They are the Asinelli Tower and the Garisenda Tower and have become the city’s emblem. They are both leaning, in opposite directions, but not as much as the Tower of Pisa. Torre Asinelli was built in 1119, is 97.2 metres high and has a stairway of some 498 steps.
This was one of the most important urban developments in mediaeval Bologna and answered the need to enhance the site of the city’s government and also to provide space for a market. As you see it today, the square is the product of many transformations, from the thirteenth century on, aimed at giving it the centrality (not only physical but also symbolic) it still has today. Indeed piazza Maggiore is where the Bolognesi have always tended to meet up, beneath the Statue of Neptune, one of the monuments symbolizing Bologna, and with San Petronio, the basilica dedicated to the city’s patron saint, in the background.
Founded in 1390, the basilica of San Petronio is Bologna’s main church. Dominating the vast piazza Maggiore, it is Europe’s sixth biggest church after St. Peter’s in the Vatican, St. Paul’s in London, Seville Cathedral, the Duomo di Milano and Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence. It is 132 metres long, 66 wide and 45 high, with the façade standing 51 metres high. Construction started in 1390 and in spite of various setbacks the church’s dimensions are still impressive today. It can hold around 28,000 people and is the last great construction in the late Gothic style in Italy.
Bologna’s porticoes are a major architectural and cultural heritage and are a symbol of the city along with it many towers. No other place in the world has as many porticoes as Bologna: if placed end to end, the porticoes in the historic centre alone would measure over 38 km. Given their artistic and cultural value, Bologna’s porticoes have been nominated for UNESCO World Heritage status.
Bologna University’s ancient origins suggest that it is the oldest university in the western world. Its history is bound up with that of great figures in science and letters, including illustrious academics such as Thomas Becket, Pico della Mirandola, Leon Battista Alberti (who all studied canon law here), and Erasmus of Rotterdam. It continues to be a benchmark for European culture. Its 11 schools and 33 departments currently have around 80,000 students.
Leaving behind the towers, and keeping to the porticoes, the covered Corte Isolani passage leads into piazza Santo Stefano where the marvellous complex of the Seven Churches makes it one of the most picturesque spots in Bologna. In addition to its typical cobblestone paving, the beauty of this square lies in the splendid old buildings surrounding it, and especially the façades of the churches. Piazza Santo Stefano offers a view of three church façades (Chiesa del Crocifisso, Santo Sepolcro and Santi Vitale e Agricola).
Palazzo della Mercanzia in Bologna, also known as Loggia dei Mercanti or Palazzo del Carrobbio, stands in the square of the same name. During the French occupation in 1797 it became the Chamber of Commerce. The building brings together stylistic features that are Lombard-Romanesque, such as the series of Lombard bands below the coats of arms of the Compagnie delle Arti (guilds), the Gothic balcony with a baldachin and the classic/naturalistic capitals with floral decoration. Such stylistic eclecticism is probably due to the fact that artists from different schools executed the decorative and sculptural work.
The Sanctuary is situated on the Colle della Guardia, one of the emblems of Bologna. Its roofed arcade with over 600 arches – the world’s longest at just under 4 km (3,796 m) – links the sanctuary to the city. This is the route along which a procession carrying the Byzantine Madonna with Child to the cathedral during Ascension week has taken place every year since 1433. The sanctuary is a special place of devotion linked to the image of the Blessed Virgin by Saint Luke; it is also a comforting sight for the Bolognese when returning to the city.
The Salaborsa Library opened in December 2001 on the original site of Bologna’s city council, Palazzo d’Accursio, the “quasi-castle”, in Piazza Maggiore, which has always been the heart of Bologna. In the “covered square” visitors can view the archaeological excavations that have uncovered traces of ancient civilizations. They are shown to great effect through glass panels in the floor and careful lighting. The library focuses on contemporary culture with a vast range of documents, books, newspapers, magazines, maps, videos, CDs and DVDs.