It’s no secret to anyone that knows me that I love food. Almost all food actually. But I LOVE Italian cuisine. Especially all things pasta. So when I knew I was going to be able to return to Italy this past summer, I put Bologna right up on my list of places to visit because I had been told by countless people that it is foodie central. I was not disappointed.
Now one of the best parts about my time here? Getting to be reunited with my Topdeck roommate Anita! We were able to meet up for three days, where we enjoyed lots of foodie time, exploring the sights and lazying around in the heat!
Bologna is unlike other cities in Italy that I had visited. Missing were the swarms of groups, exuberant prices and tourist traps. Instead what I found was a very red, compact city full of places to relax with a glass of wine, or stuff your face with delicious pasta dishes. There was no way to go wrong in choosing a place to eat here, everywhere we tried (which involved a lot from pasta to pizza to pastries to gelato) was delicious, and best of all? The price. Bologna was also a chance to check off a foodie bucket list item by trying the real bolognese dish which is actually Tagliatelle Ragu.
Aside from eating, we did get up to a bit of sightseeing! Bologna is known for its University, and so we spent some time exploring the buildings and historical sights. Including the two towers of Bologna, one of which is a leaning tower! I also liked wandering the main street ( Via Indipendenza), admiring the archways which kept us shaded and enjoying the air con from the shops which kept us from keeling over as it was so hot there!
Basing yourself in Bologna also makes it very easy to visit a few other towns in this region (Emilia-Romagna) such as Modena which happened to be only 30 minutes by train. Perfect for a day trip. While in Modena we enjoyed wandering around the historic centre, visited a food market where we got all sorts of fresh delis and produce and had a feast for lunch!
Then we went on a tour of a balsamic vinegar factory, which was actually in the families’ house where they have been producing the real balsamic vinegar for hundreds of years. The real balsamic is so different from the product we buy in our stores. It is much more flavourful and more of a syrupy texture. It is meant to be used in very small quantities and as an added flavour to marinades, sauces or even over ice cream! The tour and tasting was really neat and best of all, free. There is a chance to purchase the balsamic vinegar at the end, which with it’s price point, makes up for the free tour and tasting. The place where we took the tour was called “Acetaia di Giorgio” and the family that runs it were very lovely. There was hardly any pressure to purchase anything at the end of the tour either. It was really just about sharing their family history and passion for traditional balsamic vinegar!
All in all an amazing few days with Anita and having a different style of Italy travels. Delicious food and quality time with friends makes travelling all the better!
– xoxo Veronica