After the food tour we felt we’d definitely experienced the bolognese cusine, so we decided to spend our last couple of days living life of a typical Italian student. Bologna has over 100,000 students – a quarter of the population and about twice the number of students in Leeds (where I study), so naturally the city is packed with cheap bars and places for students to hang out.
We began day 16 with our daily cappuccino before exploring the main shopping streets and piazzas. We stopped for a light street food lunch in one of the central food markets. We got to choose from a huge deli selection of rices, quinoa, grilled vegetables, marinated tomatoes etc. which you got to dress yourself at the condiment bar. This was such a perfect lunch after all the heavy food we’d eaten in the last two days, and at €11 for 2 people, not too pricey either.
Ever since we arrived in Italy we’ve noticed it’s almost essential that you go out for an aperitif before dinner. This is basically a light alcoholic drink, most often an Aprerol spritz or a glass of prosecco. They’re usually served with light bar snacks. In some cities such as Bolgona & Rome it’s common to find aperitivo buffets, where all you can eat food is included with the price of your drink for around €8-10 – a popular choice for students. The idea is essentially to warm your stomach up ready for a late dinner.
We struggled to find a table on day 16 because nowhere had any outdoor seating due to the rain storm. Eventually we were seated at Al Sangiovese, a small family run place with only 10 tables and named after the famous wine grape grown in Tuscany & Emilia-Romagna. The service, food and wine were all wonderful. To start we shared a fresh strozzapreti with peas, pancetta & parmesan, which was surprisingly light and really tasty. The house Sangiovese was delicious too. For mains we had meatballs in a fresh tomato sauce and steak with rocket, shaved parmesan and balsamic. They were so simple but beautifully made – typical of fine Italian cuisine. Complimentary espresso for the wait was a lovely end to the meal too.
After a lazy morning on day 17 we headed to one the gorgeous public gardens in Bolgona, a popular spot for dog walking and student activities. Similar to British universities, the students have Wednesday afternoons off and the societies gather on the park for yoga, basketball, tight rope walking and more. We stopped on the way for a homemade lasagne verde, made with spinach pasta sheets. If you taste one thing in Bologna it has to be their ragu (bolognese sauce), it is so good!
In the evening we had to sample one of the famous aperitivo buffets. This one was only €8 including a great cocktail, and the food was not bad either! We were surprised to find a really well made risotto and fresh Caprese salad on the buffet. It won’t be the best food you’ve ever had, but a great way to fill up before a night out. In true student style, we then headed to one of the many bars. The bar (Le Stanze) was set up in an incredible old converted church but retained the original 17th century frescos all around the room. Not too busy, amazing drinks and nicely tucked away in the university district – definitely a must see!
Next stop… Verona – one of the most beautiful cities in the north of Italy!
You can also follow our travels on my Instagram @eatwithenzo , unfortunately a little behind on the blogs because I need really good wifi! They’re all coming soon though.