Bologna Local Customs

  • murale in Via Zamboni
    murale in Via Zamboni
    by croisbeauty
  • arte muralis
    arte muralis
    by croisbeauty
  • arte muralis
    arte muralis
    by croisbeauty

Most Recent Local Customs in Bologna

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    Motorini i Vespe

    by Kathrin_E Written Jan 9, 2015

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    They are noisy and a nuisance but an Italian city would be incomplete without them. Italians seem to be immune to noise anyway. In the narrow streets and alleys where parking is scarce a small motorcycle is the most practical means of transport. The streets of the centre are full of parked motorini. They dominate street traffic, too.

    “Vespa” translates to “wasp”, by the way. A name that describes it well – as a contrast to the busy “Ape” (“bee”) produced by the same company, those little three-wheeled crosses of motorbike and truck that are used by craftsmen or for deliveries.

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    • Motorcycle

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    Street Musicians

    by Kathrin_E Written Jan 9, 2015

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    Piazza Maggiore and the surrounding streets attract many pedestrians, locals and visitors equally, especially on Sundays when the centre is ‘pedestrians only’. That means plenty of potential listeners and spectators with spare time, no traffic noise: perfect ground for street musicians. There are often some bands around that are worth stopping and listening.

    One of my favourite memories, at the same time my farewell Bologna moment before I had to go to the airport for my flight home, was listening to a band named “Banda Rei” under the arcades in Via Rizzoli (photo 1). The band consisted of three brass players and a drummer, all quite good, probably students of music. They played movie hits and also some classical music arranged for their small combo, maybe not top notch music according to objective criteria, but so what, I enjoyed it thoroughly - I bought their CD to take a bit of this Dolce Vita feeling home.

    A Caribean band in Piazza del Nettuno
    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Music

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    How to find „Spaghetti Bolognese“?

    by Kathrin_E Written Jan 8, 2015

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    Another nickname of the city is Bologna la grassa (Bologna the fat) because it is known as the foodie centre of Italy. The most famous dish has made the city’s name known all over the world: Spaghetti Bolognese, pasta in a spicy tomato sauce with minced meat.

    Everywhere in the world you find it listed on the menu, but if you browse restaurant menus in Bologna for Spaghetti Bolognese you’ll be looking in vain. Aren’t they serving their iconic dish there?

    They are – but in Bologna itself it is named al ragù (pronounced “ragoo”, just like the French word ragoût). Spaghetti al ragù, Tortellini al ragù, and so on. Enjoy!

    Related to:
    • Food and Dining

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    Elegant cafe-bar

    by croisbeauty Updated Nov 19, 2014

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    Cafe Le Palais is exclusive meeting place located beneath the Portico della Morte, in the very heart of the city. This cafe often hold meetings with the artists, book presentations and music concerts. It is known among Bolognesi as a place where one can enjoy in the variety of cocktails which are considered as the best in the city, baut also, as a very expensive place. Cafe Le Palais is fashionable place where one come to see and to be seen.
    "La Gourmeria" is the new content in Le Palais with a wide range of cold platter of raw fish and meat. I tasted cold salad with seafood, which was delicious but too expensive (over 20 euros as I remember).

    Cafe Le Palais

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    Truely magnificent business signs

    by Trekki Updated Nov 6, 2014

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    Bologna is a town to walk around, not only for visiting museums and churches. And while walking around you will notice very striking details, which, most probably due to the size of town, come along in a very large variety.
    That’s what I like when I wander around in larger cities: “hunting” for similar details.

    Among the most fascinating details I found in Bologna were these old “signs” of trade. For example the splendid clock in the portico in front of Banca di Roma in Via Ugo Bassi, just opposite of the large structure of Biblioteca Sala Borsa. Just a few metres away is the pharmacy (farmacia) Zarri, established 1818, with an equally beautiful lamp in the portico. Or the pretty sign of a former shoemaker in Via dei Musei (third photo). In Via Clavature I found this nice sign made of ceramic tiles, once the shop of a manufacturer of ceramic tiles of Faenza type.

    © Ingrid D., November 2014 (So please do not copy my photos without my permission.)

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    1001 shades of earth

    by Trekki Updated Nov 6, 2014

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    Walking through Bologna is not only a feast for the eyes with all the lovely details like lamps, arcades, doorknockers and such. It is also a feast for the eye because of the different shades of red, orange, terracotta, sienna – earthen colours. One of the three nicknames of town is “La Rossa”, meaning “The Red”. Although ... this is not exactly true because my Italian friends told me that “La Rossa” is not deriving from the colours but from the traditional left wing politicians who ruled the town until now.

    Whatever the proper explanation is – anyone who liked colours, anyone who likes natural colours, will love to walk around and find even the slightest new shade of earth colours. I did, certainly.

    © Ingrid D., November 2014 (So please do not copy my text or photos without my permission.)

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    Bologna's magnificent arcades :-)

    by Trekki Updated Nov 6, 2014

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    Ask ten people and you will hear 20 different numbers – but I think all agree that Bologna’s arcades or portici are covering walkways for more than 40 km throughout town. One day I might go out on a quest with a measuring tape and find the proper number.... The longest connected arcade however is Portico di San Luca, covering the 3,796 km (says Bologna Welcome website) walkway up to ySantuario San Luca on Guardia Hill, southwest of town.

    But it does not matter how many kilometres the arcades of Bologna are, it is fun to walk them, because they ensure to keep dry even in the worst weather and they provide heavenly shade in hot summers. I have read that they were built out of the necessity to provide more space in the medieval days when the university grew and more room for students was needed. So they could enlarge the houses from the first floor on without loosing the walkways. If that’s true or if also here travel writers repeat what they read .... I don’t know.

    It is fun to walk around the city and find the most beautiful ones. My favourite is the one of Banca D’Italia (third photo), to the western side of Piazza Carvour, the park. The vaults of this arcade are beautifully frescoed. Talking about money.....

    © Ingrid D., November 2014 (So please do not copy my text or photos without my permission.)

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    "Hunt" for these magnificent old lamps

    by Trekki Updated Nov 6, 2014

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    Bologna is a town to walk around, not only for visiting museums and churches. And while walking around you will notice very striking details, which, most probably due to the size of town, come along in a very large variety.
    That’s what I like when I wander around in larger cities: “hunting” for similar details.

    And then I found the lamps. Beautiful, magnificent, marvellous old lamps. Some are illuminating the arcades, some are illuminating the entry halls of houses, outside their patios and some are lamps with signs telling about the business below, like the one in my last photo. I found this at a corner near Piazza Maggiore, below a pharmacy. The fourth one is from Cassa di Risparmio, in Via Luigi Carlo Farini, between Santo Stefano and Piazza Galvani (south of San Petronino).

    © Ingrid D., November 2014 (So please do not copy my photos without my permission.)

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    "Hunt" for fabulous old doors and patios

    by Trekki Updated Nov 5, 2014

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    Bologna is a town to walk around, not only for visiting museums and churches. And while walking around you will notice very striking details, which, most probably due to the size of town, come along in a very large variety.
    That’s what I like when I wander around in larger cities: “hunting” for similar details.

    This is about the magnificent old doors and patios. Several times, when I was walking through the town, my jaw dropped because of the wonderful elaborate doors and gates into lovely set patios. I liked especially the ones in my first and the second photo with their cast iron work. The second one is one of the doors of the bank Cassa di Risparmio in Via Luigi Carlo Farini, between Santo Stefano and Piazza Galvani (south of San Petronino). Several of the wonderful old palazzi have patios with also cast iron gates and enchanting greenery inside. It must be nice to live or work in one of these to have the chance for a nice lunch break in the share among all the plants.

    © Ingrid D., November 2014 (So please do not copy my photos without my permission.)

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    "Hunt" for signs of architectural recycling

    by Trekki Updated Nov 5, 2014

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    Most probably this term doesn’t exist as such. I have “invented” it during my walks through smalltown Italy. What I mean is the pieces of old structures embedded in so many houses I’ve seen in these villages and towns. When old building material from most probably decaying Roman or middle age structures or ruins days was used to build “new” buildings throughout the time.
    This is also the case in Bologna, and I loved looking for old arches mounted on top of doorways or just pieces of friezes or pillars or window frames.....

    Here are some of the “architectural recycling” I found in Bologna.

    © Ingrid D., November 2014 (So please do not copy my photos without my permission.)

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    "Hunting" Doorknockers all over in town :-)

    by Trekki Updated Nov 5, 2014

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    Bologna is a town to walk around, not only for visiting museums and churches. And while walking around you will notice very striking details, which, most probably due to the size of town, come along in a very large variety.
    That’s what I like when I wander around in larger cities: “hunting” for similar details.
    So this is about Bologna’s doorknockers. I am fascinated by these, especially when they are so different! I have read that the majority of them show a lion’s mouth which holds the ring to knock. But I found many others in Bologna, such as this fierce looking man or giant in photo 1. Maybe he looks so grumpy to make sure that only friendly people enter the house? The other ones have more figures, dragons and mermaids and the male versions. And the last one was very interesting too – a figure dancing and maybe fighting with something.

    Well, walk around, also outside the very town centre and “hunt” doorknockers, you will definitely be rewarded.

    © Ingrid D., November 2014 (So please do not copy my photos without my permission.)

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    Sunday Art Market

    by Kathrin_E Written Oct 24, 2014

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    By coincidence I found this art market on Sunday morning - it looked like a regular affair, not sure if it takes place every Sunday or at longer intervals. Various artists offered their works for sale underneath the arcades - I assume the sellers were indeed the artists themselves, so if you have questions about someone's works you can ask and discuss. There were all kinds of styles, techniques and qualities - some painters obviously have academic training in creating contemporary modern art, abstract or figural. Others rather qualify as 'naive' painters or produce the kind of paintings that you'd find in hotel rooms, some are on the brink of kitsch. It is a wide variety and there will be something for every taste, no matter if you want to buy something or just look. If you have room in your suitcase you may find yourselves a special souvenir. Prices are surely below what you'd pay in a gallery.

    The market takes place in Via Luigi Carlo Farini, just south of San Petronio and Piazza Galvani.

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Festivals

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    Sunday Walk in the Pedestrianized Centre

    by Kathrin_E Updated Oct 13, 2014

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    While the city centre is buzzing with cars, buses and motorini on weekdays, on Sunday it is sole possession of the pedestrians. The Sunday walk in the city in elegant dress, watching people and being watched, is an Italian tradition. The streets around the main Piazza, Via Rizzoli and the inner part of Via dell'Independenza are hence closed for traffic on Sundays. It is very pleasant to walk in peace where you have to take care not to be run over by cars on other days.

    The only practical disadvantage is that buses, including the airport bus, do not run through the centre on Sundays but use different routes. Read the timetables carefully.

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Dolce Vita in the Heart of Chaos

    by Kathrin_E Written Oct 13, 2014

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    Italians seem to be pretty immune to street noise. And in their lifestyle they have found the perfect balance between work and busines on the one hand, and the relaxed 'laziness' that is commonly known as Dolce Vita, sweet life.

    Street bars are everywhere. If there is room for a couple of tables outside, there will be a couple of tables - no matter if in a wide piazza or on the sidewalk next to the street traffic. People sit and relax, no matter what is going on around them. We spotted those two guys having a chat on their balcony right above the busy Via Rizzoli - they are the perfect symbol.

    If you prefer quieter and more upscale surroundings, there are many options in the inner courtyards as well.

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    Ludogatto and her workshop

    by croisbeauty Updated Apr 28, 2014

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    Simona is our dear fellow member Ludogatto, who is resident of Bologna. We are virtual friends from about several years ago and I finally met her in live during my visit of Bologna in June 2006. It was a "wrong" day to visit Bologna because Simona was occupied with parade in which her kid workshop was one of the participants. Anyway, I was very glad to meet her, even if it was shortly.

    Simona and her workshop funny kid from Simona's workshop Simona - (Ludogatto)

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Bologna Local Customs

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