Food Tours From Bologna

Italy is well-known around the world for its delicious food. But maybe you didn’t know that for food lovers, Bologna is a must Italian destination! For something the city has three popular nicknames: “la dotta” (which means the educated), “la rossa” (meaning the red, referring to the color of its roofs) and “la grassa” (as the fat one, because of the delicious culinary tradition that this city offers).

Bologna is home to several traditional foods such as the beloved tortellini or mortadella as well as lasagne. When in Bologna, taking a food tour is the best way to explore the regional and local cuisine of Bologna. Their several food tours you can take around the city. This article will introduce three food tours where you’ll be able to visit food factories and not only taste the food but also see with your own eyes the entire production process until it arrives on the table of consumers.

Let’s dive in!

Visiting a Parmesan Cheese Production Factory

Ok, Parmesan (or Parmigiano in Italian) seems to be pretty much in every traditional meal in Bologna. Let’s be honest who doesn’t love Parmesan? (Or cheese in general, but this is another story…)

The home of Parmigiano Reggiano, however, is not Bologna but, as the name suggests, it is Parma. You can easily join a food tour to Parma from Bologna and you’ll be able to add a unique experience to your trip.

You’ll arrive at a factory where the cheese is made from raw milk and then molded into the characteristic “wheels”. Learning how the delicious Parmigiano arrives on our table is fascinating and you’ll be able to taste different types of aged Parmesan cheese and try to identify the difference during the tour. The tour will also make you appreciate the value of the “original” Parmigiano Reggiano against the many imitators around the world.

Discovering How Balsamic Vinegar is Traditionally Produced

balsamic vinegar

Balsamic Vinegar (or Aceto Balsamico in Italian) is native of Modena, a city that can be easily reached from Bologna. The “real” and traditional DOP balsamic vinegar (DOP stands for “of protected origin) can only be produced in private houses in Modena. During the food tour, you’ll learn and recognize the big difference between traditional balsamic vinegar and the industrial version of it. The vinegar itself is made from grape juice but it is a lengthy process that takes at least 12 years to age. The food tour is a fantastic exploration in the details of this traditional method of production. Tastings are included, and if you’re interested in purchasing some products, you’ll be able to receive bargain prices for most of the traditional balsamic vinegar qualities.

Learning How Mortadella, Parma Ham and San Daniele’s Ham are Produced

covering ham with sugna – a protective layer of Fat

Bologna is famous and proud of its Mortadella. But once you’re there why not learn about how the famous Prosciutto di Parma (Parma Ham) and Prosciutto San Daniele are produced? They all come from the same region and by joining a food tour, you’ll be able to discover the secrets of the production of all three types of ham. During the tour, you’ll visit the “MUSA”, the first charcuterie museum in Italy. The museum is located in Modena, but the price of the tour includes transportation from Bologna to the museum. You’ll not only discover the long history of cured meat, the tools, and techniques used to produce them and the traditional uses but also will be able to taste a variety of them. The visit offers a very complete understanding of the production of different types of cured meats and the various steps needed to come to the final process.

You’ll learn how technique and precision are essential even in the food industry and what makes Italian cured meats so special and unique.

So here you are, three types of food tours you can join as a day-tour from the city of Bologna. Could you ask for more? Learn about regional products, their taste, their production methods and appreciate their taste even more thanks to amazing tastings that are designed to enhance the flavors of some of the regional foods that make Italy so important in the food industry. What are you waiting for? Get your taste buds ready, it will be a fantastic experience!

Some of the Most Delicious Italian Christmas Desserts

December means, for many, that Christmas is coming. It means family get-togethers, delicious food, and (sometimes) overeating. Now, we all know that Italy is famous for its delicacies, but maybe you might not be aware that Italian traditions for Christmas time are also very interesting, and yummy! The most amazing thing is that despite being such a small country, Italy’s regional differences in terms of traditional food are apparent even for these kinds of traditional meals.

Every region, sometimes even every specific city has something traditional that is different from other parts of the country when it comes to setting the Christmas menu. This article is about three of the traditional Christmas cakes in Italy, if those sounds delicious to you, they are just the beginning!

Emilia-Romagna: Il Certosino Di Bologna

Certosino

The typical Christmas dessert of the city of Bologna is called “Certosino”. It is part of those types of desserts that in Italy are known as “panforte”, literally “strong bread” because they can be enjoyed only after a long preparation time and some “resting periods”. Those resting periods are essential for the dessert, that needs to be prepared before the middle of November to be eaten at Christmas.

This dessert is a long tradition, dating back to Medieval times. The Certosino is a dessert that is made out of flour, honey, raisins, and almonds. Despite the ingredients sound quite simple, the preparation is quite difficult. However, you can buy Certosino in Bologna in almost every bakery in the city, do not forget to try it out!

Tuscany: Ricciarelli Di Siena

Ricciarelli from Siena-2

Tuscany, or better, the city of Siena has a different dessert that cannot be missing on local Christmas dinners. This dessert is called “ricciarelli”, a sort of biscuits (but calling them like that is rather diminishing) made or almond flour, eggs, and sugar. They are eaten at the end of the meal, usually accompanies by some vin santo (sweet wine) or amaretto.

The preparation of this dessert is quite long and tedious, but the final result is so yummy, you will never get enough of this wonderful dessert! The origin of this dessert can be found in the 15th century, where almond paste in the form of marzipan was very popular. If you are in Tuscany around Christmas time, you’ll easily find ricciarelli in every bakery or food-related shop. Just give them a try and you’ll quickly fall in love with this delicacy!

Veneto: Il Pandoro Di Verona

Wikimedia images

This is the king of Italian desserts when it comes to Christmas. I know we said that each region has its specialty, but Pandoro is just so yummy that it is the dessert that really will be present in every Italian house for Christmas dinners and family meals. Soft and simple, it is loved by everyone. The secret of its delicious taste lies behind the apparent simplicity of this dessert. Its dough is very soft and golden-colored because of the eggs, and biting on it, not only you’ll love the texture, but also, you’ll discover a wonderful flavor of vanilla.

The shape of Pandoro is traditionally conical, with edges that resemble a star, usually with eight points.

It is really hard to make a good Pandoro at home, but the good news is that Pandoro is so popular you will be able to find it everywhere! Traditional brands are making them industrially, such as “Bauli” or “Melegatti”, or you can also find artisanal pandoro in many bakeries. No matter what you choose to buy, trust me, you’ll love it!

The origins of this Italian traditional Christmas dessert do not come from the country, In reality, it seems that Pandoro was first originated in Austria, where it was called “Vienna’s Bread”. Today, the name Pandoro means “Golden Bread”, and it will probably be one of the tastiest desserts you’ll ever try for Christmas.

Here was a brief list of some of the most popular Italian desserts for Christmas time. As we’ve already mentioned, Italy is a very interesting country, not only for its amazing and strong culture but also for its diversity. With that, it means that wherever you are in Italy, you might find some different traditions. In any case, you should try everything you can, as Italian food is rarely not satisfying!

What to do in December in Bologna, Modena and Parma

December is a month filled with festive activities. Many cities get lighten up, Christmas trees start to populate squares and markets or other types of events are organized. If you find your self in Italy and more specifically in the region of Emilia-Romagna, there are some events and activities you really shouldn’t miss out in December. This article is specifically about what to do in December in BolognaModena, and Parma. Let’s dig in!

Visit Bologna’s Fiera Di Santa Lucia

Antica Fiera di Santa Lucia, Bologna“Antica Fiera di Santa Lucia, Bologna” by sdhaddow is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

In Bologna, many events are organized during December. Starting from the first days of the month, the whole atmosphere in the city gets festive every day more. From Christmas markets, choir singing and open-air concerts, Bologna offers events and activities for different tastes and preferences.

One of the most traditional things to do in the city is to visit the popular Fiera di Santa Lucia. From late November until Christmas, the portico of The Servi’s Church (Chiesa Dei Servi) is filled with small stalls, displaying sweets, gifts, Christmas decorations, and Crib items. The atmosphere of the market is very “Christmassy” and joyous but it is worth to see Bologna under a different light during December. The Fiera di Santa Lucia is one of the most loved Christmas Markets in Bologna. For this reason, you should not miss the chance to visit it and maybe try some of the local sweets.

Eat The Traditional Zampone in Modena’s Famous Restaurant “Oreste”

Christmas is synonymous with rich dinners and family meals in many parts of the world. Christmas is commonly associated with the feeling of getting together, sharing time and yummy food. That couldn’t be truer in Italy, where Christmas family dinners are traditionally known for being very delicious (and quite heavy too, but hey, it’s Christmas). A popular dish that is commonly eaten in the Emilia-Romagna region during this period is “zampone”. Zampone is pig’s trotter stuffed with ground pork which is usually dried and cured and traditionally served with lentils. It is typical of the city of Modena and eaten for Christmas or New Year’s Eve by many Italian Families.

If you want to try a good, well made and loved zampone, you should pay a visit to the famous restaurant “Oreste”. The restaurant has been hugely popular among the Modenese and it is famously known as Luciano Pavarotti’s favorite restaurant and offers not only great service in the perfect location, close to Modena’s Duomo but also yummy traditional food. It is not a restaurant for fancy surroundings or a quick meal. Rather, it is the perfect place to visit if you want to experience real, classic Italian food. The place was recently renovated, but it has still kept the magnificent familiar and warm atmosphere that has always characterized the place.

Participate at Parma’s New Year’s Eve Gala

Sometimes knowing what to do for New Year’s Eve and how to celebrate the welcoming of the new year might be a bit stressful. If you are in doubt, think about the opportunity of spending such night in Parma!

If you like good food and fancy locations, there is no better way to conclude the year with the famous New Year’s Eve Gala Of Teatro Regio di Parma (or Gala Di Capodanno in Italian). The evening includes a wonderful concert and complete dinner with drinks and amazing entertainment, to properly welcome 2020 in the beautiful location the Regio Theater.

As previously mentioned, these are just some of the many activities you can enjoy and take part in during December in the major cities of Emilia-Romagna. Smaller cities also organize events that are worth checking out. Not many consider visiting the northern part of Italy during December, but in reality, it is a great way to have a different taste of Italian traditions. Go, explore and have fun, you might be surprised at how different some cities might look like during Christmas time!

The Best Food Museums in Bologna, Modena and Parma.

There are a few places in the world where the food culture is as strong as it is in Italy. It is not only about pizza and pasta and whoever has visited Italy knows it very well.

There is something about Italians’ love for their cuisine which makes it special. It is an attention to the raw materials and the regional high-quality products. After all, Italian cuisine is one of the best in the world for something, no?

It is hard not to get overwhelmed by the great passion for tradition, quality, and regional flavors when visiting the country. Every region and every city has something to offer in terms of traditional cuisine which is specific to that area.

Emilia-Romagna is an Italian region full of culture, rich in traditions and historical landmarks. Not many know that is also the home of some of the Italian foods that have gained an important name around the world such as Parmesan Cheese, Parma Ham or Balsamic Vinegar, to mention only a few.

When in the region, you should make the best out of your experience and try out as many traditional foods as you want!

If you want to go deeper and learn something more about real Italian food culture and its ingredients you should make sure you visit these food museums in Emilia-Romagna. They focus on regional specialties and will make you appreciate Italian food traditions even more.

Carpigiani Gelato Museum

from carpigiani website

Who doesn’t love gelato? Italian summers would just not be the same without the classic (and delicious) cones or cups of artisanal gelato, that in Italy seems to be so easy to find. Loving gelato is one thing, but knowing its history and production techniques is another, and it can be quite fascinating too.

For all gelato-lovers, Bologna hosts the only museum in the world dedicated entirely to the history of artisanal gelato. It is the Carpigiani Gelato Museum.

From food classes to tasting, to the teaching of the technology behind the perfect gelato, the museum is a very interesting experience, recommended to everyone, especially those that wonder why is Italian gelato so much better than any other gelato in the world.

The main exposition is highly interactive and it is organized around four main themes: the evolution of gelato from the origins to what we know as gelato today; the history of its production, the consumption of gelato today; and the Italian artisanal gelato industry around the world.

During your visit, you’ll be able to admire many ancient machines used to produce gelato and learn about the evolutions of artisanal gelato. To visit even better, you’ll have some gelato tasting at the end. Not bad for a museum, right?

The Museum itself is located at Carpigiani’s headquarters. If you don’t know what Carpigiani is, you should, since it is the company behind most of the machines producing your favorite artisanal gelato. Located in Anzola Emilia, just 40 minutes from Bologna, the museum is easily accessible by car or public transport.

Keep in mind that before getting there, you should book a tour on the Carpigiani Gelato Museum’s website. Make sure to check also the upcoming events, you might find something interesting to enrich your visit!

Traditional Balsamic Vinegar Museum

Museo aceto tradizionale

In Italian referred to as “Museo del Balsamico Tradizionale Spilamberto, the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar museum is centered around the production of balsamic vinegar. It is an interesting door to the sometimes hidden world of the ancient methods of production of this tasty dressing that is still used nowadays and make balsamic vinegar a premium Italian product that has built an important name around the world.

The museum is located in Modena, where real balsamic vinegar is from.

Visiting the museum is a great way to learn about the techniques, the tools and the traditions of balsamic vinegar and its uses. You’ll discover the different flavors, aging method, and combinations so you’ll learn how to use it at its best. A visit to a food museum will not be complete without a tasting, and this museum does it very well.

The love and passion for the “black nectar” from the guides and the traditional production methods which will make you travel in the past, make the visit particularly interesting. You’ll go through all the steps needed to produce balsamic vinegar and learn more about the possible food combinations to enhance its flavors.

In the end, you will have the opportunity to shop for some of the awesome balsamic vinegar you tasted during your tour. You can also opt for having a tour without tasting, but the additional 2 euros for the tasting experience are worth it and will make your visit much better.

To visit the museum, you should book a guided tour of the museum’s website. They organize four visits per day every day, apart from Monday, when the museum is closed.

Parma Ham Museum: Museo Del Prosciutto Di Parma

Parma hams
Prosciutto di Parma

This wonderful museum is focussing on one of Parma’s main specialty: Prosciutto di Parma or Parma Ham. It is located in Langhirano, a small town about 90 kilometers from Bologna and 20 kilometers from Parma.

The building of the museum is called “Foro Boario”, dating back from the early 20th century. The museum is focused on the importance of the Emilia-Romagna region and its local ingredients and how they fostered the production of Parma Ham. The museum is organized into eight sections all centered around the history of the ham and its production methods over the years.

For example, there is an interesting section entirely dedicated to salt, a staple food that was essential in the conservation of foods in the past and that turned out to be the basis of the industry of cured meat and its “art”. You’ll also learn about the uses of Prosciutto di Parma in traditional Italian dishes and the most recent techniques of production.

At the end of your visit, you can choose to shop for some Parma Ham or also go for a tasting or a meal at the Museum’s restaurant, along with a selection of the best wines of the region.

So, here was a list of some of the food museums you shouldn’t miss when in Emilia-Romagna. Make sure you visit them and enjoy your experience!

MAST: The Coolest Museum in Bologna

Bologna is a great Italian destination. It’s a lot less touristic that more popular places such as Florence, Venice, and Rome, and it offers a variety of cultural landmarks, high-quality museums, and great food. What more would you ask for?

Within the many museums that you can visit in Bologna, there is one which you might not have heard about but that is most definitely one of the coolest museums in the city. It’s the MAST. Sounds interesting? Keep reading as this article is all about it.

What is MAST Bologna?

MAST Foundation (standing for Arts, Experimentation and Technology Manufactury) is an international institution created in Bologna where Innovation, Art and Technology are at the core. The main aim of the organization is to incentivize development and creativity within enterprises among the youngest generations, but it introduces concepts that are relevant to all of us.

MAST can be considered as a city within a city. Located in the neighborhood of Reno, it is an exposition in a building of exquisite architecture and it is the perfect place for industries to meet in an environment of open communication, growth, and learning.

MAST Bologna is characterized by several buildings, terraces, porticos, gardens, and a central auditorium. There are restaurants and even a wellness center. The building itself can host various events in different areas such as conferences and companies’ presentations as well as educational activities or cocktails.

But the important sections of the MAST are the galleries. The two main galleries are the Innovation Gallery and the Photo Gallery. The interactive expositions, the possibility to be guided by experts and the focus on industrial innovation and the industry world make the museum very interesting and relevant.

The Photo Gallery hosts temporary expositions of photographs in the work industry, renovating usually every four months. The Innovation Gallery is an experience in itself thanks to the great technical support and the level of interactivity reached through the use of videos and panels. The entretainment that a visit to the MAST gives is uncomparable to other museums. The expositions are characterized by various hands-on and are meant to make the visitors discover the reality of innovation in the world of industry.

MAST Gallery is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 AM to 7 PM, but according to the different events, the exposition might be open until 10 PM. Make sure you check the calendar on MAST’s website to organize your visit accordingly and have a better idea of the different activities that the museum proposes to its visitors.

The entrance to the expositions is free.

Anthropocene 2019: The Coolest Exposition in Bologna

Among the exhibitions that the MAST offers, the most recent one is Anthropocene. It is a great exhibition that because of the popularity has been extended until the 5th of January 2020 (so if you’re planning a visit to Bologna within this date, make sure not to miss it!).

Anthropocene: The Human Epoch is a reflection of the massive intervention of humans on our planet’s configuration. It is an art project delivered in the form of a movie that investigates and highlights the human footprint that has shaped the looks of Earth. As the name suggests, (Anthropocene can be translated as “humans at the center”) it is a study on the “era where humans have become the main cause of permanent planetary change”.

Describing Anthropocene as a simple movie would be very limiting on the project which is a unique and very informative experience. It combines great and stunning photography, film, scientific research and augmented reality in an exploration of how humans have contributed to change the planet irreversibly to a point where humans are not only active participants of life on the planet but the dominant force.

The spectacular quality of the images as well as the relevancy of the subject and the great narrative, all make this exposition a must. Not only it is very informative and mind-breaking, but it is also a project art with a purpose that will leave a mark on you.

MAST Bologna organizes several projections during the day, usually at 11:00 AM, 2:30 PM or 4:00 PM. To be sure, check the schedule that you can find on MAST’s website. The entrance is free and doesn’t require booking.

If you find yourself in Bologna, pay a visit to this cool exhibition and make sure to experience the Anthropocene project: you won’t regret it.

How to Drive in Bologna Without Getting A Penalty

Traveling to Italy by car is a great option as it allows you to get everywhere pretty fast. However, sometimes it might not be easy, as driving rules in Italy might have some aspects which are different from other countries. In case you decided to travel to Bologna by car, here is a short guide to making sure you won’t commit mistakes that you will regret.

Bologna is very well connected to the major highways, so it is rather easy to reach. However, driving in the center might be a bit complicated. Let’s go over some tips to make your driving experience in Bologna easier and smoother.

Avoid Driving in ZTL Zones

A ZTL Zone (Zona a Traffico Limitato in Italian, or Limited Traffic Access Zone) is a prohibited area which you cannot enter with a car if you don’t have a special permit. The access to these areas is monitored by cameras and the fees for breaking the rules are very high. You don’t want to commit the mistake of entering a ZTL in Bologna. But how do they work?

First of all, keep in mind that most of the historic center is part of the ZTL, so better park your car somewhere and walk to the center if you’re willing to explore there.

In all Bologna, there are 4 areas of limited access: Sirio, Zona Universitaria, Area T, and San Francesco. The access to ZTL in Sirio is active every day from 7 AM to 8 PM.

For what concerns Zona Universitaria, San Francesco, and Area T, all entries are monitored by cameras 24/7. To make sure you know about the area, check a map of Bologna. The road signs delimiting the areas are not very clear, so make sure you know where the areas are in advance.

In Sirio and Area T motorcycles are allowed to pass, even without a permit.

The circulation of vehicles in the ZTL is allowed for customers of hotels that are situated in the city center (but make sure you check with them first), bicycles and motorcycles. If you own a hybrid vehicle or an electric car, you might also be able to enter the ZTL, after having requested and received an appropriate permit. The special “permit” can be bought at the tper offices.

How to Park in Bologna

Bologna is not an easy place to park in. There is no free parking so no matter where you chose to park (legally) your car, you’ll have to pay. Also, depending on the day, finding a spot might be very complicated.

There are mainly two options for Parking in Bologna. You can either chose public parking or a garage.

Public parking can be easily spotted by the blue lines (paid) or white (free but basically non existent in Bologna) . Yellow lines are used to indicate reserved parking spots (police, government workers and so on), so you shouldn’t park there.

Depending on the area you’re in the price range and times for parking will change. To pay, find a machine and put the appropriate amount of coins according to the time you need to park for.

Alternatively, another way to park your car is to place it in a garage. There are several garages, here are only some:

Tanari is one of the best options because of the price, the great capacity, and the shuttle service to the city center. The garage is open 24/7 and the charges are approximately 0.60 cents per hour or you can decide to pay a 5 euros daily fee.
Parcheggio VIII Agosto is an underground garage which is very well located. Because of this, it is not a cheap option, but it is great if you want to visit the center. Per day you’ll have to pay 20 euros, otherwise the hourly charge is around 2.60 euros.
Garage Autostazione is close to the train station, easy to reach and about 15 minutes walking to Piazza Maggiore. It is not open on Saturday and the day-fee is 18 euros while the charge per hour is about 2.2 euros.

Here was a short but detailed guide about the basics of getting around Bologna by car, hopefully, you found it useful! Remember to investigate about ZTL and to decide where to park your car in advance to avoid problems.

Best Aperitivo in Bologna.

Bologna is a wonderful city in Northern Italy. It is not your “classic” Italian destination, but it is a good place if you’re looking for some traditional Italian food and experiences. A very nice custom Italians have is the “aperitivo”, which is particularly common in a lively and young city like Bologna. To gather with your friends after work, with a drink and some finger food, is one of the preferred activities and ways to socialize that Italians adopt. With so many options around Bologna, it can be a bit hard to find the best spot for an aperitivo, especially if you’re new in the city. This is why we made a list of 3 of the best places to take an iconic aperitivo in Bologna. Try them all or choose one that appeals more to you, you’ll have a fantastic opportunity!

Tamburini

Via Caprarie 1 between the 2 towers and piazza Maggiore, 40124 Bologna Italy
Tamburini has a food shop, a restaurant, and a wine bar. The wine bar is perfect for an aperitivo and it is open from 12 to 11.30 PM Monday to Thursday and from 12 to 00.30 AM on Friday and Saturdays. The atmosphere is familiar and very traditional, with 3 internal rooms for bigger parties or celebrations surrounded by the famous old wine bottles that contribute to the iconic ambiance of the restaurant. The menu includes a wide selection of more than 2o0 national wines, champagnes, and artisanal beers as well as liquors, rums and whiskey. In terms of food, the specialties are the cheese and meat sharing plates, but the offer includes salads, cold dishes and a selection of home-made desserts.

Bar Senza Nome

Via Belvedere 11/B, 40121 Bologna, Italia
This bar is particularly popular among the younger ones, not only because of the great vibe but also for the value for the price paid. Aperitivo at this bar is one of the cheapest in the city and it includes some finger food, couscous or pasta salads. Calling “Bar Senza Nome” is a bit restrictive as it can be considered more of a winery and a small restaurant. The bar is special because it is entirely run by people with disabilities, the majority of them being deaf. You can try to challenge yourself and order using sign language! Everyone is put at the same level at this bar, and the atmosphere is fantastic. The environment is lively and cozy and it is suited well those wanting to spend a couple of hours chatting with friends or loved ones. The place organizes a variety of alternative and cultural activities including concerts, courses and art exhibitions among others. The place is often full, but if you manage to find a spot, you’ll for sure have a good time, with good music and a great aperitif.

Marsalino

Via Marsala 13D, 40126 Bologna Italy
Marsalino is a bar enjoyed by locals to get their aperitivo. It has become very popular, both for after-work meetings or for “pre-parties”. The popularity mainly comes from the high-quality food offered in combination with a spritz and excellent local wines. The menu includes only a few dishes but always with excellent quality and with the best ingredients. “Taglieri” with cheese, ham, and salami or the traditional “bruschetta” are the best side to accompany your aperitivo. Finger food is available from 6 PM to 9 PM with your aperitivo. However, if you want to order a meal from the menu, the kitchen is open until late at night, so don’t worry! The ambiance of the place is great and every Thursday night some cabaret events are organized, making the evening even more fun. Because of the informal atmosphere, Marsalino is a great place to socialize and have a good time. For locals, Marsalino has converted into a “must” for the aperitivo in Bologna. Because the bar has become so common and the place is pretty small, finding a spot can be quite hard. During the summer it might get better since the area in front of the local is used, but during the winter, the bar does get quite crowded. If you’re planning to spend an evening there and want to have a seat, booking a table is a good idea. Here was a shortlist of the three best spots to have an aperitivo in Bologna, enjoy!

Is FICO (Eataly) in Bologna Worth Visiting?

Italy is a country that has a lot to offer both new and experienced travellers alike. It has great people, architecture, and the country is steeped in history dating back for millenia. But what really makes Italy stand out is the food, and there’s no better place to experience it than in the city of Bologna.

Bologna is often referred to by the locals as “la dotta, la rossa e la grassa”, which means “The Learned, The Red, and The Fat”. This is a reference to the city’s university, which is considered to be Europe’s oldest, the distinct red hues of the terracotta buildings, and of course, its phenomenal food.

The city itself has long since been a world-famous destination for foodies. It has some top grade restaurants, markets filled to the brim with exotic ingredients and locals that know their way around food. Bologna’s fame in food itself has culminated in the creation of a food theme park known as FICO Eataly World.

What is FICO?

FICO is a theme park that’s about 10 hectares big, and is dedicated to Italian gastronomy. It has a huge collection of exhibits that shows how Italian cuisine is prepared from the ingredients to the finished product, representing the country’s deep food traditions.

This theme park has everything from cultivated fields to stables, housing more than 200 animals, and more than 2000 types of vegetables and fruits. FICO also has approximately 40 food factories that people can visit and partake in the preparation of various ingredients, and a little over 40 kiosks or restaurants where you can have a taste of the actual dish.

FICO certainly has a lot to offer if you’re into food, whether you’re a novice foodie or a veteran gourmand. But is it worth visiting? Here’s some of the pros and cons for you to consider so you can decide for yourself.

The Good

The Attractions are Varied

FICO’s motto sums up the number of attractions perfectly: “Dal campo alla forchetta”, from field to fork. Every square inch of the theme park certainly has something to explore, from the creation of traditional Italian food ingredients, especially cheeses, to the actual cooking and serving of those same ingredients to create authentic Italian cuisine. It’s not infinite, but this place will certainly keep you busy for more than a couple of days, maybe more.

Everything in One Roof

Because many of the exhibits are meant to showcase Italy’s traditional cuisines, you can basically find everything food-related in Italy within one place. This means that there’s no need to run from one point of Bologna to another if you’re hellbent on trying out every restaurant or food kiosk in the city. If you want to have a food tour of the city, you can practically do it in one place.

There’s Plenty of Shops

If you’re going down with a bit of a shopping fever, FICO also has something for you to do. Aside from a good selection of food factories and farms, there’s also about 44 food stalls and restaurants where you can buy everything food-related that Bologna has to offer. If your idea of a good souvenir involves authentic food or ingredients, then there’s no better place in Italy.

There’s No Entrance Fee

While the stores themselves do sell things, getting into the actual FICO theme park is free. This means you can take as many friends and family with you as you want, for as long as you want. Of course, many of the individual exhibits themselves might charge an entrance fee, so make sure you bring your wallet regardless.

The Bad

It’s Huge

10 hectares isn’t a joke if you’re planning on walking around FICO. If you can rent out a scooter or a bike, then you’re free to ride it in, but not a car. It’s best to rent out a bike before you actually get to FICO in the first place, because…

It’s Not Easy to Get To

FICO is a good distance away from Bologna’s city center, and is a bit out of ways from the main highway. It’s not completely remote, but it can be a hard place to get to if you’re not familiar with the city’s shuttle system, or if you didn’t rent a car.

It’s Geared More Towards Locals

FICO hasn’t made much effort to catch the attention of the foodies outside of Italy, so it can be difficult to navigate without the proper guidance. Don’t get us wrong, it’s good that Bologna is spreading awareness of Italy’s food traditions to the people of Italy. But the locals aren’t the only ones who would appreciate the gastronomic journey Italy has to offer, and if steps were taken to correct this, FICO will certainly have way more visitors.

Where To Buy Parmesan Cheese in Florence.

If you want to bring unique gift from Florence to your friends and family, Parmesan cheese is a great option! Parmesan is one of the Italian cheeses with the longest tradition. It is a hard grating cheese and it has a strong taste, so it is usually used grated on spaghetti. Of course, it can be bought even in the other countries, but it will never be as tasty as true Italian Parmesan. Here are the best places to buy it in Florence:

Dilemma: where to buy Parmesan cheese in Florence

Supermarkets

Parmesan can be found in almost every bigger supermarket in Florence. But we suggest you visit either supermarket Coop or Esselunga, because they are part of big chains that guarantee quality and freshness of the products, and they have more convenient prices than small shops. Also, the supermarket staff will be glad to cut and pack the piece of Parmesan in the size you want. Or you can choose from already cut and vacuumed packed pieces of cheese.

There is a Coop supermarket in Via Cimabue. Coop is one of the oldest supermarket chains in Italy, and it is known for the freshness of all its products. Good thing is that it is open until 9 PM every day, except Sunday. It often has special offers and discounts.

Esselunga is very modern chain of supermarkets with a great variety of products. There is one Esselunga supermarket in Via Masaccio, a 10 minute walk from Piazza della Liberta. And there is one Esselunga supermarket located on the other side of the bridge Ponte alla Vittoria in Via Pisana, near Giardino di Villa Strozzi. Esselunga supermarkets are open from 7:30 AM to 9 PM every day, except Sunday. But, it is good to know that Esselunga in Via Massaccio is open even on Sunday from 9 AM to 8 PM, which makes it one of the only supermarkets in Florence that are open on Suday afternoon.

Esselunga Supermarket sell parmesan cheese in Florence. Source of the image

Eataly Florence

Eataly is famous shop that sells only Italian products of the highest quality. It is located in city center, near the Florence Cathedral, in Via De Martelli. The atmosphere is rustic and elegant, and you will feel as a true Italian. The shop is divided in different sections that sell traditional products such as cheese, wine, desserts and many more things. It is a perfect place for if you want to try something delicious, but also if you want to buy present for someone. They have great choice of cheese, as well as delicious Parmesan cheese. The staff is awesome and they will be happy to give you some recommendations. They offer free tasting of cheese and wine so you can be sure you like it, before you take it home with you. There is also restaurant space where you can relax and enjoy in Italian food. Eataly is open from 10 AM to 10:30 PM, every day except Sunday.

Mercato Sant Ambrogio

Mercato di Sant Ambrogio – Florence – source of the image

If you truly want to experience Italian way of living you should visit a traditional market! Mercato Sant Ambrogio is located near Piazza Ghiberti, in city center. The market is open from 7 AM to 2 PM every day, except Sunday. It is one of the most popular spots in Florence, where both locals and tourists meet to shop, taste new products or simply chat. Most people are actually selling their own home-made products, so this market may be the best place to find something really authentic and healthy. They have great offer of fruit and vegetables, cheese and fish, and of course Parmesan cheese. Vendors are friendly and they will suggest you the best products you have to try. They will also be happy to recommend you some hidden gems of Florence, that only locals know. Mercato Sant Ambrogio is very busy so be prepared that you will need more time if you want to shop here rather than in supermarket, but it is definitely worth it! Mecato Sant Ambrogio is one of the historical sites of Florence, it was opened in 1873, and as such it deserves to be visited.

There is variety of options and all those places offer Parmesan cheese of the highest quality! Just choose the place that suits you the best, according to the available time and location.

Can I Ski in Bologna?

underneath-the-chair

The capital city Emilia – Romagna and seemingly the largest city “Bologna” holds the title of being one the most populous city in northen Italy. Bologna being one of the major urban centers in the region has the history of owning the oldest university in the world “University of Bologna” and has different accolades like the City of Music and the European Capital of Culture. Aside from being a financial hub and an industrial center in its region, Bologna also holds the attribute of owning one of the best skiing locations around, beside the Alps of course. Skiing in Bologna is good because has plenty of tracks and the prices are normally much lower than Alps resorts.

During winter, it offers its indigenes and visitors one of the best skiing experiences, it has one of the top skiing resorts for skiing in its province with elevated heights towering up to 1,945 meters. There are several skiing resorts in different locations, numbering up to 54 skiing resorts that offer professional skiing services in Bologna, some examples are Abetone, Cimone, Corno alle Scale and so many other registered skiing resorts. Some of the best skiing resorts are further listed below;

Corno Alle Scale. Skiing in Bologna

This seems to be a perfect location for people with deep interest in winter sport, this is a mountainous area with about 25 kilometers of slope, and it is located in Belvedere, near the metropolitan city of Bologna in Italy. This is most visited for its numerous facilities ranging from the tutorial skiing center, a snowboarding park, and the presence of kid’s park. The Corno Alle Scale has ten lifts and two of its longest slopes named after Alberto Tomba who was a Bologna and Italian champion, this slopes conform to the world Championship competitions requirements. It also has in its provision a large capacity modern lift which could convey about 2,400 people in just a single hour. The winter sporting venues are located just between heights of 1,418 meters and 1,945 meters,

The prices offered by Corno Alle Scale skiing resort is dependent on many factors, for example, al typical weekend all inclusive is only 500 Euros and costs just 290 Euros for children born after 2002 and also 400 euros for seniors born before 1956. In regards to day passes, 25euros is charged for weekdays while 33 euros is charged for both weekends and holidays. A special consideration is made for afternoon slots with 23 euros charged for weekdays and 23euros for weekends and holidays. For visitors who need a place to stay, there are several commercial residents and hotels around the Corno Alle Scale skiing resort, places like:

· Hotel La Piazzetta, this is a luxurious hotel with state – of – the – art facilities, it is perfectly designed to make your visit pleasurable. It is located via 2, Giugno 2/2 Lizzano in Belvedere with accommodations having a starting price of 59 euros

· Albergo Nappini, this is another hotel of class that offers visitors many services for their visit. It is situated at Viale 3 Novembre 101 Lizzano in Belvedere, 40042.

Skiing on Cimone (Modera Province).

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This is notably the highest mountain in the northern Apennines, situated at the Emilia – Romagna, Italy. With a recorded elevation of 2,165m, it serves as a skiing resort which has so many visitors during winter. Its ski trails numbering 31 are together recorded to span over 50 kilometers, this makes it a sports hub by many lovers of winter sport. The resort has six different areas which are Passo del Lupo, Polle, Cimoncino, Lago Ninfa, Montecreto and Pian Del Falco and are all well linked and served by 21 lifts.

This large ski center has a very uniquely designed electronic skipass in its facility and provisions of snowboarding parks and artificial snow. The snowboarding park serves as the link between the downhills and the jump ramps with so many structures designed for the purpose of jumps, rails and also step ups of all styles and levels. This accommodates all levels and stages of professionalism and even for the rookies whom are regarded as starters, for easy pass and access to all the facilities offered by Cimone skiing resorts, the Cimone Ski cards have being upgraded for better functionality.

In order to enjoy the facilities of Cimone, a suitable payment structure was designed for every caliber of guest and skiers, 28euros will be charged on weekdays while 36euros charged on weekends. The upgraded Cimone Ski card is designed to give personal access to all the facilities of the resort like the slopes and ski centers without collection of tickets, it is purchased with only 3 euros and can be funded online through the appropriate media.

For accommodation purposes, there are so many available options ranging from apartments to hotels, some of these accommodations are further listed: the Hotel Cimone which charges about 50euros, Hotel Gabriella charging 69.33euros, Hotel Tirolo charges 38 euros, Hotel Pineta charges 58euros, Hotel Miramonti charges about 90 euros and a host of other luxurious and standard hotels and accomodations around the skiing resort. The best known hotels that serve the best breakfasts in Cimone are Hotel Tirolo, Hotel Firenze, Hotel Del Corso, Hotel Sport and some other fanciful hotels within the region.

Cerreto Laghi (Reggio Emilia)

Cerreto Laghi

Reggio Emilia, a city in Emilia Romagna holds one of the most renowned skiing resorts with adequate facilities for skiing, the Cerreto Laghi. This resort is situated in the center of TuscanEmilian Apennines which is very close to border of Emilia Romagna, it’s a frequently visited resort with so many advantages above just skiing. The scenery of its landscape owns a lot of fascination which makes it sorted after by both skiers for winter sporting activities and also for tourists who just visit for its natural landscape.

This is one of the most equipped skiing facilities known as it offers very professional facilities to both visitors and demanding skiers, it has over 25m downhill slopes for varying levels of professionalism. It also has a provision of four lift chairs for the purpose of helping the skiers uphill, it also possesses a large capacity lift which can convey over 6,500 people in a single hour.

For accommodations, hotels are available to offer the best services to visitors and tourists. Their charges are as follows; Albergo Diana which charges 75euros, Hotel Cristallo Cerreto Laghi which charges about 85 euros, the luxurious casta relax with its terrace which charges 95.17 euros and some other hotels in the region like the la casa di Alice, Appartmento Alice, Apartmento Il Faggio, Il Damio and B&B La Bredia all for the pleasurable experience of their visitors.

Bologna skiing offers the best experience in skiing with its various seasoned resorts offering the best services at different locations within its region.