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Bologna is a city for foodies, no doubt about it. Instead of must-see attractions like the Duomo or the Coliseum, they have must-try dishes like pasta al ragu and tortellini in brodo.
When we moved here though, I ran into the same problem I always do: What do I need to try? Where is the best place to try it? Where do I get authentic food and not just tourist glop? I’d already run into fake food scams in Rome and Florence.
The stakes are high: one could easily argue that food is the key to understand and experiencing Bologna and the greater Emilia Romagna region. Much of the culture, the history, and the nightlife is wrapped up in the typical cuisine of the region.
So, as I do whenever I get the chance, I looked to the experts. Enter Mattia, who I connected with on Instagram. He’s a true local and incredibly passionate about the region and it’s food scene. Four years ago, he created his own food tour company, Delicious Bologna, to help visitors taste and understand the essence of Bologna.
I decided to treat my visiting mom to one of his tours (and he comped my own admission in exchange for a review, thanks dude). It was a deeply cloudy and drippy early March day when we met with Mattia, a foodie couple from Texas and a laid-back dude from New Zealand (so laid back in fact, that he missed the first 90 minutes of the tour) to experience delicious Bologna.
The Delicious Bologna tour feature a series of stops that mirrored some of the major daily eating events in Italy:
- We stopped by a bustling local coffee shop for a typical quick breakfast of a cappuccino and a pastry.
- We visited a local delicatessen for an aperitivo of Lambrusco, local cured meats, and cheeses.
- We grabbed a quick piece of some of the best street pizza I’ve had in Italy.
- Then, in true Italian fashion, we settled in for an unhurried Italian lunch at a truly local trattoria. There were three kinds of pasta and, of course, copious wine.
- Finally, we hit up one of the best gelato places in town.
In between courses, we walked around Bologna and Mattia told us more about the history and strange quirks of the city, like the hidden canal and the legend of the 3 arrows. We also stopped by a tortellini factory to watch craftswomen skillfully fold the delicate pasta shapes.
If you’re interested in the food culture in Bologna, then I highly recommend a tour with Delicious Bologna. I have been living in Bologna for four months now and I learned so much new information about the city, and about the food. We left feeling a little smarter, a little sleepy (so much wine) and very, very full.
After all that delicious Bolognese cuisine you are going to need a spot to rest and relax. Why not check out one of these places:
Dopa Hostel is a luxury hostel located in the heart of the city. This warm and welcoming hostel offers 7 different rooms ranging from dorms to cozy private rooms and an all-female dorm. They also offer a free breakfast and a fantastic common area to meet other travelers.
Visiting Bologna with a group of friends and want to feel like locals? Then you have to check out the spacious and centrally located Zamboni Suite. This two bedroom apartment is located near the University and is just a half mile from the two towers. This suite will make you feel at home in Bologna.
Looking for a charming and bright apartment in the heart of the city? Then Marconi Apartment may be calling your name. This one bedroom apartment is full of charm and is just a half mile from the famous Neptune Fountain. Relax here with your own kitchen and shop at the local market close by, Delle Herbe, to truly feel like a local.
Disclosure: Mattia offered me a free tour with Delicious Bologna in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.