I have found my mecca and it is Bologna. To be precise, it is the crossroads of Via Clavature and Via Drapperie. After intently listening to tales of tagliatelle, I decided to drag Arlene and Baby X with me to the Città Rossa to tag along after the Professor, whose business was taking him to Bologna. Armed with Arlene’s copious notes on the very best places to eat and find delicacies, we dropped the Professor off somewhere on the Via dell’Independenza for our own 6-hour Girls’ Guide to Bologna.

la piazza

Our tale is rather simple- we did absolutely nothing that we read about and meandered around the city finding things we loved. In a nutshell, we loved everything from the lack of tourism chaos and the friendly conversations with just about everyone, to the lovely medieval ornament and the delicious food. [Arlene wrote a two-part recap on her blog here.] We found our way to Piazza del Nettuno with its fountain to rival Rome’s Piazza della Repubblica. Around the corner is Piazza Maggiore, where we should’ve sat and enjoyed a shakerato had we not wanted to visit the church. Somehow we found Piazza Santo Stefano, a meditative oblong square with porticoes and cloisters.

il pranzo

Our main reason for the 99 euro Alta Velocità day trip Rome-Bologna-Rome was lunch. Specifically, tagliatelle al ragù. Thanks to Arlene’s research, we went to Drogheria della Rosa, which was conveniently around the corner from Piazza Santo Stefano. Prosecco, mortadella, tagliatelle al ragu (flat, wide fettucine-like pasta in a red meat sauce), ravioli con melazane (ravioli made with aubergines) were the menu. For those interested in knowing what happened to Baby X– she ate my tagliatelle, and then a frittata, specially made for her. She refused to stay with us (note: we deliberately sat as far away from humans as possible), shouted at the customers in gibberish and made Emanuele, who who we later found out was the owner, escort her around the restaurant making bird sounds as she pinched his belly. When I asked for the bill, he gave me a hug, told me it was a gift and that the Professor will pay him the next time he comes to Bologna. Arlene will disagree but I think he offered us lunch because X was crazy and I was the pathetic mom, thanking him every time she went nuts with him.

la passeggiata

Somewhere between here and there, we found via Clavature, a pedestrian street with caffes, restaurants, alimentari and oh the lovely shops. I bowed to the altar of Mister Gal, a boutique with the worst name in shopping history but with the most beautiful Balenciaga and Alaia purses and shoes. Next door is Roccati, a chocolate shop which I would like to commission to make Perdonami, baby envelopes, [similar to the Buon Compleanno (happy birthday) in photo] for the Professor to use in case of emergencies. Arlene got lost on via Drapperie, in all the fresh pasta shops like Tamburini (considered a Bar à Manger) and Gilberto.

Our day was basically amazing. Everyone should be jealous, until we mention the 145 minute train delay in Bologna, plus the 1/2 hour layover in Firenze. The Alta Velocità it was not. However, we did enjoy a ridiculously well done aperitivo hour on a random side street in a niente-di-che (rinkydink) bar with Aperol spritz and a hot piedina of radicchio, stracchino and tuna.

Drogheria della Rosa
via Cartoleria 5
051 222529

Mister Gal
via Clavature 17b

Roccati
via Clavature 17a

via Drapperie
every foodie fantasy

Advanced Reading:
1. Just found this Bologna site which lists all things good and trandy [sic]

2. I did peruse Charlotte Williamson’s recent Telegraph article, informed but useless for this trip.