cinema, bicycles and good food
Home to the oldest university in Europe, founded in 1088, Bologna has a large student population which has made the city a buzzing political and cultural centre. The warm colours of its beautiful medieval buildings have nicknamed it the 'red city', and among Italians it is also considered the food capital of Italy. People come here for its famous foods: mortadella, tortellini, and of course, ragù. The narrow streets of the old city market have stalls selling fresh pasta, fruit and vegetables, and in the evening the bars crowd in time for aperitivo.
As a city dedicated to modern Italian culture, cinema here plays a key role. It's the birth place of Pier Paolo Pasolini, bolognaise filmmaker and poet who is now the subject of a large exhibiton at the MAMbo, the museum of modern art. On summer evenings, the festival Sotto le stelle del cinema runs free public screenings of film classics in original version in the main square. During the rest of the year Kinodromo, a cinema association dedicated to independent film, also offers films in original version at the Cinema Europa on Mondays and Tuesdays. Last but not least, the Cineteca di Bologna is dedicated to the restoration of the golden age of Italian cinema, and has a large library for the study of film.
To top it off, Bologna is one of the most bicycle friendly cities in the world. Only authorised vehicles are allowed into the centre during the week, and on weekends it's completely reserved to pedestrians and bicycles. The city is small and flat, which makes cycling both enjoyable and easy.
L’Osteria dell’Orsa in Bologna is the place to go for a bowl of classic ‘taglatelle all’ragù’, or what is better known outside of Italy as ‘bolognaise’.
Senza Nome is a bar run by those with hearing impairments in Bologna’s central via Belvedere.
Hidden in a corner in Bologna’s largest park, Le Serre is a project promoting co-working and cultural events in a large outdoor space with a communal city vegetable patch and greenhouse. Vetro is a restaurant and café for co-workers and visitors alike.
A café come bookshop come gallery – Zoo is the ideal place to enjoy a quiet coffee, peruse shelves of contemporary fiction or check out an exhibition.
Va Mo Là is a small, characterful restaurant in Bologna set in an old book shop, specialising in regional Italian cuisine.
A lively café and restaurant hidden in one of Bologna’s side streets, with comfy sofas, shelves full of books and a delicious selection of cakes.
For an unpretentious and homely ‘eco’ café in the heart of Bologna, Fram is your man, serving veggie, vegan and gluten-free options.