Bologna, A Love Letter | Tuscan Travel Series Part V
Happy Wednesday, friends! I hope this post finds you well. Today I’m dropping in to share the fifth & final post in my Tuscan travel guide series: Bologna, A Love Letter. In case you missed it, earlier posts in the series included An Ode to Florence, 24 Hours in San Gimignano, A Quick Guide to Siena, and Castellina in Chianti, A Guide to Tuscany’s Most Overlooked Village.
Technically, Bologna isn’t in Tuscany – it’s the capital city of the Emilia-Romagna region – but we just can’t go to Italy and not visit our favourite city. It’s physically impossible for us. Just think of this as a bonus post, okay?
My main Bologna Travel Guide – Italian Adventures: Bologna – already explains a lot of what we know and love about the city, but some places are so good they deserve another mention. What follows is a handful of notes, love letters if you will, about our Bolognese faves and a handful of new discoveries. Enjoy!
getting to bologna
Generally speaking, getting to Bologna is rather easy. Bologna’s Guglielmo Marconi Airport is only 6km outside the city, and a shuttle bus will drop you straight into the heart of Bologna in less than 30-minutes. However, getting to Bologna from Castellina in Chianti by public transport is no easy feat. It involves two buses, one train, about three & a half hours, and an understandable dose of stress. These are the steps we took:
• in Castellina, go to the bus-stop you arrived in town at: Castellina Paese Molino. Take the 125 bus towards Autostazione, and get out at Fontebecci. We asked the driver to tell us when the stop was coming up; it took about 30-minutes to reach.
• at Fontebecci, diagonally cross over from where you get dropped off (left of the McDonald’s/service station) to the bus-stop. Take the 131R towards Firenze and get out at the last stop – the SITA bus station. We were waiting about 40-minutes for the bus to arrive, and the journey took just over an hour.
• make your way to Santa Maria Train Station – in the same building block, just around the other side – and take the Frecciarossa to Bologna Centrale. These trains are quite regular, and the journey should take about 35-minutes.
where to eat in bologna
Trattoria Giampi e Ceccio // an Instagram find that we LOVED. Of our 2.5 days in Bologna, we ate here twice. It’s now one of our favourite restaurants in the whole city. The wine list is simple: one red or one white, locally sourced, with their own label & a charming painting of the restaurant on the front. The menu is similarly simple. We shared an antipasto platter, homemade onion foccaccia, tortellini en brodo, ragu, and gramigna al salcissia. Everything was impeccable, delicious, perfect. The owner is a bit prickly around the edges, but this is Italy after all! A must-visit.
Serghei // still so good! We always order the same thing & love it every time: ragu, gramigna al salcissa, pork shank to share, & a side of chard. Pro tip: skip dessert and order an extra side! We inquired about a side of patate al forno even though they weren’t on the menu & were given the crispiest side ever! Read more here.
where to have coffee
Cafe Zanarini // forever a must-visit. Any Bologna travel guide would be incomplete without mentioning Zanarini. Highlights include: creme croissant, pistachio croissant, pain au chocolate, a pear & custard contraption, and strong coffee. You can read more here.
where to drink alcohol
Osteria Del Sole // over the course of our 2 days in town, we picnicked here every day. The ambiance, the atmosphere, the cheap-ness, it’s simply a must-visit. Our love for ODS is very well documented in this post. We always buy our picnics from the nearby shops: Tamborini for meat and cheese – proscuitto san daniel, salamie finocchetta, mortadella Bologna, young pecorino etc – and delicious fresh bread from the bakery next door!
Pappare // an undeniable hipster hangout, but they know how to make a good margarita… so.
There we have it, my Bologna travel guide to end this Tuscan travel series. I hope you found it helpful and informative! Just writing these posts has me yearning to get back there asap. If you have any questions or thoughts please leave a comment below – I’d love to hear from you!
Ciao for now!
Vicki & Rob