Last updated on October 28th, 2016

Why aren’t many lesser-known destinations often included in European itineraries? There are three main reasons: They aren’t as well-known as other destinations like Rome and Paris, and visitors aren’t aware of the many things to do there.

When looking into advice and resources explaining how to plan a Eurotrip, a little inspiration research can go a long way. Looking beyond well-known cities, travelers can quickly uncover exciting destinations that meet their interests, whether it be hiking, museums or food. While it’s tempting to stick with typical mass-marketed destinations, alternate destinations sometimes have more to offer travelers who are looking for unique experiences, like food-related activities in Bologna, Italy. Doing some research will uncover fun things to do in less-crowded markets, like these six great things to do in Bologna for foodies.

Tour a Parmigiano-Reggiano Factory

Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese factory outside Bologna, Italy
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese factory outside Bologna, Italy (Image via Flickr by Savored Journeys)

One of the most fascinating aspects of Italy is its Denominazione di Origine Protetta, or DOP, products like Parmigiano-Reggiano. If you want to eat your weight in cheese, sign up for a gourmet tour with Italian Days. The tour includes a visit to a Parmigiano-Reggiano factory to see the cheese being produced as well as a family-owned acetaia where Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena is made. You’ll also tour a factory that produces DOP Prosciutto. You’ll sample as much as you can possibly eat along the way.

Take a Pasta-Making Class

Pasta-Making Class in Bologna
Pasta-Making Class in Bologna (Image Flickr by Uncornered Market)

Bologna has a variety of cooking classes for eager visitors who hope to learn a few cooking skills while in the city. What better souvenir to give yourself than the ability to make true Italian pasta when you return home? Classes, like the one given by the Culinary Institute of Bologna, are taught by English-speaking professional chefs in one-hour, half-day, or full-day sessions in a professional kitchen.

Explore Food Markets

Bologna Food Market
Bologna Food Markets (Image Flickr by Michelle Lee)

There are many food markets and outdoor street food in Bologna, such as the Mercato di Mezzo, with stalls full of seasonal produce and local products that you can taste right from the vendor. Sample freshly made pasta, taste some burrata, pick up picnic items, or just walk around and enjoy the sights and smells. The markets of Bologna are like a string of endless food paradise destinations.

Visit Area Wineries

Wine from the Fiorano area outside Bologna
Wine from the Fiorano area outside Bologna (Image via Flickr by Revolweb)

Emilia Romagna has many wine varietals, though casual wine drinkers probably haven’t heard much about them. While the slightly fizzy and sweet red wine, Lambrusco, is produced here, other varietals like Sangiovese and Barbera have a place in the region too. Wine tours often include two to three winery stops, plus a multi-course, wine-paired lunch.

Try Michelin-Star Restaurants

Osteria Francescano in Modena, Italy
Osteria Francescano in Modena, Italy (Image via Flickr by Gigi Griffis)

It is well-known that Italy is a major player in the Michelin-star restaurant arena, with over 300 venues holding one, two, or three stars. There are plenty of options for fine dining in Bologna. The highly praised Osteria Francescana is nearby in Modena. Make your reservations early!

Go Out for Evening Aperitivos

Aperitivo is a tradition in Italy, much like a happy hour
Aperitivo is a tradition in Italy, much like a happy hour (Image via Flickr by Houang Stephane)

Aperitivos are an afternoon Italian tradition. Beginning at 6 p.m., restaurants and bars open to patrons who come for a drink and a snack. When you order a drink (usually Prosecco or Lambrusco), you can freely partake of the bar snacks, ranging from slices of pizza, meats, and cheese to a full buffet that sometimes leads to skipping dinner.

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One thought on “Things to Do for Foodies in Bologna, Italy

  1. Jazzy says:

    We didn’t get to visit Bologna during our trip to Italy unfortuntely, but we did have to chance to go out for several aperitivos :).

    Great Italian tradition if you ask me 🙂

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