BOBu: Bologna Bloggers Unite

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Before moving to Bologna, I scoured the Internet for Bologna-based blogs written in English trying to uncover what I could about this unknown place I had just agreed to move.  I found a couple of food blogs with lots of praise for la cucina bolognese and the blog of a Bologna-based Fulbright Scholar (who later became my friend but sadly no longer lives here).  There was nothing quite as extensive as the blogs I had seen for larger cities like Milan, Rome, and Florence.  And so, Bologna remained a bit of a mystery.  After I moved to Bologna and began blogging this inspired me to share tips on the city to fellow expats and travelers here on the blog.

Over the last two years, a lot of new Bologna blogs have arrived on the scene, both in English and Italian.  Some are short-term blogs of students studying in Bologna for a semester, some belong to expats, and others to Bologna natives.  Over the last year, I’ve been able to get to know some of these bloggers and meet some in person.  (I’m still fascinated that writing on this little screen of mine has resulted in face-to-face encounters and off-screen friendships).

Now I’m excited to announce that I’ve joined forces with two fantastic Bologna bloggers — Teresa of the Gourmand Traveller and Sarah of Bologna With Love — to form BoBu (Bologna Bloggers Unite).

What is BOBu?  We’re a group of Bologna-based bloggers passionate about sharing our love for Bologna with others through our blogs.  We’ll be writing together once a month to discuss Bologna topics like travel advice, our suggestions, and hot topic issues.  If you’re a Bologna blogger and want to join the discussion, get in touch with us!

For our inaugural post, we’ll be introducing you to the BOBu bloggers and sharing a few of our Bologna favorites.

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Sarah Dowling
Bologna With Love: www.bolognawithlove.com

What’s your blog about?

Bologna With Love is a guide on what to eat, see and do in Bologna.

How did you end up in Bologna?

After graduating from my Teaching English as a Foreign Language certification course in Florence, Italy, I was hired by an English School in Bologna. I wasn’t really excited about moving to Bologna, as I had originally wanted to stay in Florence. Nevertheless, in less than two years Bologna has seduced me with its charm and I don’t have any intention to leave anytime soon.

If you had to choose one word to describe Bologna, what would it be?

I’ve heard a lot of different words to describe bologna – “red” (for all the red colored buidlings), “cordial”, even “bohemian”. But I think from my personal experience Bologna is “embracing”. There are so many international students as well as students from all over Italy that live in Bologna. Also its streets and porticos have this way of wrapping themselves around you so that you always feel protected, intertwined. And the food…there’s nothing more warm and inviting than a big bowl of Tortellini in Brodo or Tagliatelle al Ragu! I feel likeBologna has this grandmother effect.

How would you spend the perfect Sunday afternoon in Bologna

I would probably take a walk in the “colli” or hills surrounding Bologna. Perhaps stop for lunch of crescentine and mortadella in one of the many trattorias in the hills and then spend the rest of the afternoon walking in the hills, looking down at Bologna from above.

What is your favorite dish from Bologna?

Even though it’s more of a modern take on the typical Bolognese food, one of my favorite dishes is the Tortelloni ai Carciofi (giant tortellini stuffed with ricotta and artichokes) from Osteria al 15 (via Mirasole).

Where’s the best place to go on a date in Bologna?

If it’s not too crowded and you can get a table, I think Camera a Sud is one of the coziest bars in town. During the summer, having an aperitivo in Via Codivilla is really nice as well, because it’s outside and you can overlook the city.

What’s your favorite breakfast spot?

Colazione da Bianco on via Santo Stefano. They have really delicious coffees and cakes!

What is your favorite “local” hangout?

Even though Osteria del Sole is probably as “local” as it can get, I don’t go there that often because you have to make a reservation and bring your own food. I go to Acca Vineria on via San Giorgio on a weekly basis – they have the best locally made Pignoletto wine, friendly staff, and affordable snacks.

One sentence of advice for those travelling to Bologna?

Put away the map and get lost.

What’s your favorite gelateria and flavor combo?

At the moment, I’m a huge fan of Salted Pistachio and Chocolate Sorbet from Cremeria Santo Stefano.

What’s your favorite destination in Italy outside Bologna?

That’s a really tough question to answer, as I’ve fallen in love with so many places in Italy. But I think if I had to live somewhere else in Italy it would be Florence. For me it is and has always has been such a romantic city. The architecture and the streets are simply stunning. I also love how close it is to the natural world – 10 minutes and you’re in the Tuscan hillsides. Still, I’m glad that Bologna doesn’t have as many tourists and study abroad students as Florence – that’s one thing I don’t miss!

What do you miss most from your home country?

The people. The hardest part about living in Italy is being so far away from all the people I love back at home. I always make it a point to go home at least once a year and try to stay in touch with friends and family as much as possible, but still! A part of me will always feel slightly guilty for leaving for this reason…

 

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Teresa Hergueta
The Gourmand Traveller: http://teresalamaltesa.wordpress.com/

What’s your blog about?

My blog is a diary following up my culinary adventures. Based in Bologna but also including other places in Italy and beyond. It also includes some of my favourite recipes.

How did you end up in Bologna?

I love travelling and living in different places. I consider Italy one of the richest countries in terms of culture and life style, and always wanted to have a sort of Italian experience. I am currently studying for a Spanish state exam and had the opportunity to do it part time from abroad. Moreover my italiano boyfriend is finishing his training here.

If you had to choose one word to describe Bologna, what would it be?

Authentic.

How would you spend the perfect Sunday afternoon in Bologna? 

I would take my bike around the city, stop for an appetitive @ Ambassatori and maybe buy a book there, go to an exhibition or to a food fair… there are so many things to do it is hard to choose.

What is your favorite dish from Bologna?

Tagliata from Le sete tavoli.

Where’s the best place to go on a date in Bologna?

In the summer: up on one of the hill’s terraces with a view, or a picnic at the giardini Margherita.

In winter one of the city’s enotecas.

What’s your favorite breakfast spot?

Any of the terraces at piazza Santo Stefano.

What is your favorite “local” hangout?

I love the Pratello area.

One sentence of advice for those travelling to Bologna?

Get a bike and get lost. Don’t miss any of the food markets.

What’s your favorite gelateria and flavor combo?

Gelato alla piastra from gelateria “Chocolate”

What’s your favorite destination in Italy outside Bologna?

If I want to oxygenate my brain it would be the Dolomites! If I want some sea and sun it would be Elba for me and if I want the maximum Italian tourist experience it would be Rome. If I had to choose right now it would be Napoli as I have heard great things and not yet visited.

What do you miss most from your home country?

Madrid is a unique city and its very hard not to miss it. The people, the environment … all the fun Madrid has to offer.

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Audrey Burke
Ciao Bologna!: ciaobologna.wordpress.com

What’s your blog about?

Ciao Bologna! is a mash-up of tips and stories from an American expat couple living in Bologna.  The blog is a multifunctional outlet for me: it’s a place for me to share stories and pictures of our adventures with family and friends back home, a place for me to sort out and reflect on our experience, a place to share tips with fellow Bologna expats and visitors, and a channel through which I explore the fascinating and growing world of blogging and social media.  My favorite topics to write about are food and WWOOFing.

How did you end up in Bologna?

After receiving his PhD in Biomedical Engineering, Luke accepted an expat research position with a medical device company.  Before knowing the position would be based near Bologna (initially we only knew it would be based in Italy, Germany, or France), I decided to take a break from my career to join the adventure.  We are very glad to have landed in Bologna.  Living in Italy has its perks!

If you had to choose one word to describe Bologna, what would it be?

Energetic.  Whenever I leave our quiet apartment in Bologna Centro I’m immediately roused by the lively pulse of the city.  The portici are lined with locals seated at cafe tables enjoying coffee or an evening spritz; the piazzas are spotted with students seated cross-legged chatting over beers; and tourists pause in front of store window displays to snap photos of the fresh pasta and hanging cured meats.  It seems there’s always a special event taking place: a clown blowing bubbles in the street, a renowned visiting art exhibit, a pop-up outdoor concert, or a political protest.  There’s no doubt this city is full of life.

How would you spend the perfect Sunday afternoon in Bologna

I would bike over to Giardini Margherita to read or jog and then grab a cone of gelato at La Sorbetteria on the way home.

What is your favorite dish from Bologna?

I’m a big fan of the piadina — a flatbread sandwich that can be filled with cured meats, cheese, and/or veggies.  This dish originally hails from Romagna (the eastern part of Emilia-Romagna).  The piadine near Rimini are thinner (more like a tortilla) while the piadine near Ravenna are thicker (more like a pita).  In Bologna you can find shops that sell traditional piadine (made with strutto aka lard) as well as vegetarian options (made with olive oil).

Where’s the best place to go on a date in Bologna?

Throw together a picnic basket and head to Parco San Pellegrino, perched on a hill just outside the city walls, where you can snuggle on a blanket and take in the panoramic view of San Luca and the city center.

What’s your favorite breakfast spot?

Fram Cafè on via Rialto, a homey and cozy cafe owned by mother-daughter duo Elena and Nicole.

What is your favorite “local” hangout?

The Slow Food farmers’ market, known as the Mercato della Terra, which takes place on Saturday morning most of the year and on Wednesday evening during the summer.  It’s set up in front of the Cinema Lumière on Via Azzo Gardino.  Truthfully, I love all of Bologna‘s farmers’ markets.

One sentence of advice for those travelling to Bologna?

Come in May or September and avoid visiting in August if you can.

What’s your favorite gelateria and flavor combo?

I already hinted at this above: my favorite combo is the Cioccolato & Crema Tirolese at La Sorbetteria on via Castiglione.

What’s your favorite destination in Italy outside Bologna?

This is an incredibly tough choice.  The Riserva dello Zingaro near Scopello in Sicily is one of my favorites.

What do you miss most from your home country?

Other than missing family and friends, when I’m not salivating over a newly discovered Italian dish, I do miss some food from the U.S.  I miss ethnic dishes like pad thai, pho, corn tacos, and vegetable curry.  I miss veggie burgers and American-style sandwiches like grilled turkey & cheese or hummus & roasted veggies on a wrap.  I miss ingredients like avocados, sweet potatoes, and cilantro.   When my family has come to visit me in Italy, I’ve had them bring Puffins, Larabars, and canned black beans.

 

 

I’m excited to share more tips and insights on Bologna here in the coming months and look forward to hearing the different takes on Bologna from the other bloggers.

If you’re a Bologna blogger and want to join the discussion, get in touch with us at bologna.bobu@gmail.com.

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