Category Archives: Bologna

Eating Vegetarian in Bologna, Italy

Zenzero Bologna

Frisella with vegetables at Zenzero Ristorante Bistrot

Last year, BBC published an article about Bologna and Emilia-Romagna titled “Where vegetarianism is an exotic illness.”  In it, author Dany Mitzman notes that in Bologna “pig is king” and “the local diet is about as Mediterranean as chicken tikka masala.”  This is undoubtedly true.  Bologna’s most beloved dishes are tagliatelle al ragù, tortellini in brodo, lasagna al forno, and an antipasto with prosciutto di Parma — all of which contain pork.  Dany says that she’s not a huge fan of ricotta-filled tortelloni (another popular dish that happens to be vegetarian), and so she usually defaults to eating tagliatelle with mushrooms and a plate of grilled veggies when she dines in traditional restaurants in the region.  As someone who eats mostly vegetarian, I completely empathize with Dany’s pain.  I distinctly remember when a local proudly took me to one of their favorite lunch spots for affettati (mixed cold cuts) and appeared both disappointed and confused when I ordered a green salad instead.

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Fall in Bologna, Italy: Sagra del Tartufo Bianco

It’s already November, but somehow it feels like summer just ended and fall has finally arrived. September seemed an extension of summer, with countless blue sky days and perfect temperatures; and October, if you ask me, passed by while I blinked. The temperatures have taken the plunge and fall coats and boots have made their way out of storage and out onto the streets of Bologna.

Perhaps it finally feels like fall because this is one of the first weekends we really slowed down; we made no plans and just simply enjoyed living in Bologna. We bundled up and biked to the Saturday morning Slow Food market. We read on the couch. We caught up with family and friends back home. We cooked a big pan pizza topped with chard and onions and took a stab at cooking the typical Tuscan soup ribollita. A friend came over for dinner bringing pumpkin puree and porcini mushroom risotto.

Then on Sunday, we finally visited our first sagra — an Italian festival typically celebrating a specific local food. We headed to the Sagra del Tartufo Bianco (White Truffle Festival) in Savigno about 40 minutes outside Bologna. Continue reading

Exploring Emilia-Romagna: Blogville’s Back in 2013


If you guys have been following me here for awhile, you might remember that last year I went to BlogVille.  BlogVille is an innovative social media project hosted by the Emilia-Romagna Tourism Board aimed at promoting the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy (lesser known by tourists than places like Rome, Venice, and Tuscany).  A rotating set of bloggers are put up in an apartment in the region and largely given the freedom to explore the region as they please.  At the same time, the Tourism Board offers lots of support and suggestions and organizes group outings.

Last year, I spent a week in Rimini with BlogVille.  I did some biking, explored the beautiful Valmarecchia, and met the last person left making traditional piadina pans by hand.  A lot of great material came out of last year’s BlogVille, much of which you can check out in the BlogVille 2012 Ebook.  Some of my favorites were Jeanette’s photos from her visit to Koko Mosaico in Ravenna, Portland, meet your sister {city) by TwoOregonians, and Kash’s writeup on tasting traditional balsamic vinegar in Modena.

Well, the reason I’m writing now is because BlogVille is back in 2013!  Bloggers started arriving in Bologna last week.  To follow their adventures (and shenanigans) visit the Blogville website or follow @BlogVilleEmRom and #blogville hashtag on Twitter.

Festivals in Bologna, Italy: Par Tòt Parade

Par Tot

creative commons photo by RedGlow82 via Flickr

In Bolognese dialect, Par Tòt Parata means “parade for everyone” and anyone interested in performing in the parade is welcome to take part.  The parade started in 2002 and now takes place in Bologna every two years.  2013 is a parade year and this year’s Par Tòt  is scheduled for June 15th.  The heart of the festival are the free artistic workshops run by volunteers in the months leading up to the parade, aimed at preparing the people of Bologna to be street performers.  On the event website, it says that the parade and the workshops are like macaroni and cheese: one is unthinkable without the other.  This year’s workshops kicked off in April and include courses in dance, percussion, miming, clownery, float construction, mask construction, costume making, hair & makeup, and more.  The courses are free and open to everyone.  For more details, visit the Association Oltre website and check out the flyer for the artistic workshops.


Living in Bologna, Italy: Boot Camp classes in Giardini Margherita

Joanna Faso Fitness

Body Wellness Bologna Instructor Joanna Faso

My good friend Joanna Faso from Body Wellness Bologna is moving her Boot Camp fitness classes back outside for Spring and Summer. The classes are 45 minutes of challenging yet fun exercise with a blend of strong aerobic movement, some TRX training as well as deep yoga stretching. Classes are taught in a mix of English and Italian. Send Joanna a note to RSVP before class as the schedule is subject to change due to weather or other factors that arise.

Giardini Margherita in front of the small lake

Tuesday/Thursday: 9:15AM
Wednesday: 19:15PM
Saturday: 9:15AM

Single lesson: €15
5 class package: €60
10 class package: €110
If you have never been to a class, your first lesson is just €10 and if you bring 2 friends with you, your class is always free.

Joanna Faso: joannafaso [at] hotmail [dot] com

Buon workout a tutti!

Our Favorite Parks and Gardens in Bologna

View of Bologna Centro from Parco San Pellegrino

View of Bologna Centro from Parco San Pellegrino

The day before I moved to Bologna, a friend of mine from Austria told me that he wasn’t too fond of Bologna — it’s very industrial, he said.  With these words ringing in my years, I admit I was a little apprehensive my first day in Bologna while walking around the Medieval city center.  In my nervous state, the buildings seemed dusty and old; my eyes locked on the dog wiz and cacca on the side walks; and I didn’t see a single tree or patch of grass.  But I soon discovered that there’s plenty of greenery to be found in and around Bologna.  If you peek through entrance gates and doors as you stroll through Centro,  you’ll be in awe with some of the beautiful courtyards and gardens that lie behind the Medieval building facades.  And shortly after leaving the city walls, you’re in what the locals call the colli (the Bolognese hills).  Upon entering the colli, any nature deficit that you’ve been feeling will immediately fade away.

Now that Spring is here, we plan to spend much of the coming months outdoors.  Here are five of our favorite parks and gardens in and around Bologna where we head when the sun’s shining and Mother Nature starts calling. Continue reading