5 Food Markets of Bologna you can't miss

Bologna food markets quadrilatero

Food markets are the first thing I look for when I travel to a new city. Barcelona's Boqueria, Fatih Çarşamba in Istanbul or Borough market in London are local food markets where I can spend months.

I love talking with shop owners and eating food directly from the stalls: this is my best way to find out the real food of a city.

Read which are my favorite food markets in Bologna.

Mercato di Mezzo

Bologna food markets - mercato di mezzo

It's the oldest and the most fascinating market of Bologna and a must for all our food tours in Bologna.
Drapperie, pescherie, orefici: all the streets in this medieval area called Quadrilatero preserve their name from the old corporations that were here in the past.

​It's just near Piazza Maggiore so prices can be misleading.
But if you know where to look you can find the best food in Bologna and not only.

What to buy
Fresh fish from Adriatico sea at Pescheria Brunelli; knives and chef tools at Antica Aguzzeria del Cavallo.

Where to eat
At Sfoglia Rina you can sit for a dish of tagliatelle al ragù or tortelloni with a daily sauce. Drink a glass of Pignoletto wine with your own food at Osteria del Sole.

When to go
On weekdays morning, when the stands open, to smell and feel the real soul of this market.

Address: The area between Via Rizzoli, Piazza Maggiore, Piazza della Mercanzia and Piazza Galvani
Opening Time: Depending on the shops, usually from 8:30 am to 7:30 pm

Mercato delle Erbe

Bologna food markets - Mercato delle Erbe

It's a market for locals where you can find old ladies with trolley picking eggs and flour to make tagliatelle.
Set inside the former San Gervasio barracks, it was converted in an indoor market in 1910.
​The structure is amazing: made of glass and iron, with a high roof and full of stalls and shops in every corner.

Renewed in 2013 with new bakeries, restaurants and wine shops, Mercato delle Erbe is now my favorite place for a day shopping and evening aperitivo in Bologna.

What to buy
Burrata and pecorino cheese at Formaggeria Barbieri 1968 or, if you're brave, horse meat at Macelleria Equina.

Where to eat
At Banco 32, one of the best places to eat fish in Bologna, you can find some fresh fish dishes that change daily. Sfarinà serves a gourmet version of Piadina Romagnola sandwich.

When to go
At aperitivo time (from 6 pm) for a glass of wine and a slice of pizza at Altro? or in the morning to go shopping with locals.

Address: Via Ugo Bassi, 23-25, Bologna
Opening Time: Monday - Friday 7am - 1:15pm and 5:30pm - 7:30pm Saturday and Thursday 7am - 1:15pm but Altro is open every night but on Sunday until 12pm

Mercato Ritrovato

Bologna food markets - Mercato Ritrovato

This open-air farmers' market, occurring in the yard of Cineteca di Bologna, is a good way to discover the different productions of Bologna countryside.

Just local products, like Mora Romagnola pork or Razza Bianca Modenese cow, some of them about to disappear and kept alive by a bunch of small producers.

​It's a nice market for a street food lunch in summer, maybe followed by a movie in the original language.

What to buy
Cheeses and butter of white Modenese cow, seasonal fruits and vegetables, wholewheat bread from Forno Calzolari.

Where to eat
Try tigelle with Mora Romagnola cured meat or pesto Modenese.

When to go
On a fresh Monday evening in spring for a craft beer and eat outside in the garden of Cavaticcio park.

Address: Piazzetta Pier Paolo Pasolini, 40122 Bologna
Opening time: Every Saturday 9am - 2pm (in winter) and every Monday evening 5:30pm - 9:30pm (in summer)

Mercato del Novale

Bologna food markets - Mercato Novale

Another farmers' market, set in front of the cypress trees of the elegant Piazza Carducci. The square is named after the Nobel prize-winning poet who spent part of his life in the house in front of the market stalls.

​This is the place to buy seasonal fruits and vegetables by Slow Food producers. Quality and freshness are very high.

What to buy
According to the season you can find porcini mushrooms and chestnut in October, fresh cheeses like the local 'Caciotta di Castel San Pietro', Pignoletto wine for 2,5€ a bottle, organic meat, local ginger (yes, I was surprised too).
​Some of the best bakeries of Bologna, like Molino Urbano, sell their bread there.

Where to eat
This is a small market, perfect for buying some foods and cook at home. You can find some pizza or focaccia at the bakery stall, but don't expect tables or chairs, just a few benches to rest.

When to go
It takes place on Sunday morning.
If you're looking for something rare go there before 10 am. A lot of times I arrived and the fresh porcini were gone. Shame on my Sunday laziness.

Address: Piazza Carducci, 40125 Bologna
Opening time: Every Sunday 8:30am - 1:30pm

Mercato Albani

Bologna food markets - Mercato Albani


If there's one word that can describe Mercato Albani, that's it. A real downtown market in a working neighborhood, far away from the fancy glasses of Mercato di Mezzo.

A jump back in time where you call stall owners by name, and old women in queue give you suggestions about how to make tortelloni.

​Maybe not a must-see, but interesting if you'd like to visit a real part of Bologna, definitely not touristic.

What to buy
Caseificio Morandi produces cheese from generations.

Where to eat
Mercato Albani is pretty much a market for shopping, but it's changing fast.
You can have a tagliere of cold cuts and a filtered coffee at Il Pollaio, an aperitivo with daily cichetti (tapas) with a glass of good wine at Sbando, or a creative mortadella sandwich at Ligera.

The good news?
You're just two steps away from Trattoria di Via Serra, not only for Tripadvisor one of the best restaurants in Bologna, and Bianco Farina, my new answer to the question 'where to eat the best pizza in Bologna'.

When to go
In the morning, when old ladies buy eggs and meat for tortellini. Be friendly, you could get an invite to lunch at home.

Address: Via Albani 40129 Bologna
Opening time: Every day but Sunday 7:30 am - 1:30 pm

Ready to get the vibe of the markets?

So these are my best food markets in Bologna, the ones I choose every day to buy fresh porcini mushrooms, heavenly soft squaquerone cheese and seasonal fish from the Adriatico sea.

Are you curious to meet Daniela, Enrico and all the family shops who really know about food?

Do you want to know what's that...it looks like a tomato or maybe asparagus, mm never seen it before!

Do you want to save time and money and stay away from the tourists' traps?

[photos: Gabriele Tudico, Federico Fetto]

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  • Lale Mauch

    Great infos for first visit

  • Andrea

    Thanks Lale ;)

  • Marina

    Dear Andrea,

    Your tips look amazing!

    We have a full day in Bologna with my husband in May and we think of Mercato delle Erbe in the evening for aperitivo and Mercato and Mercato di Mezzo the morning after to meet with friends before we leave. Any other places you would recommend for aperitivo aside Altro?

    Thank you!


  • Andrea

    Thanks Marina, I recommend MAMBO's bar or Le Serre, inside Giardini Margherita 😉

  • Becca

    Yes to everything but the horse meat.😢

  • Andrea

    Becca I know it could sound weird and I do respect vegetarian choice, but it's really part of Bologna food tradition. During our food tours in Bologna we always stop next to a horse butcher to explain more about that. In the past horse meat was very popular and cheap.

    Are you veggie? Have you ever tried it?

  • michael hanson

    hi andrea, i really like you blog and you seem to know all the good food in Bologna. i will be coming to bologna in june to the landrace wheat conference. i wonder if you could suggest some very traditional bread bakeries using forno legna, and madre/biga and locally grown flour. i have not found anything on the web. i hope you can help . regards michael

  • Andrea

    Hi Michael,

    there are a few places that will do for you. Check this article -> www.tastebologna.net/blog/best...

    Calzolari, Molino Urbano and Brisa are your spots.

    See you soon in Bologna,

    Andrea - Taste Bologna

  • Danny Rawling


    Great blog!

    I need some help, when I was in Modena and Bologna I tried a sliced (cured?) meat which was to die for, I have no idea of its name and I can only describe it as somewhere between a meat loaf and a terrine type texture/appearance. It was thinly sliced and was with every other cured meat on the market but was truly unique.


  • Andrea - Taste Bologna

    Hi Danny,
    I think they could be ciccioli. Were they a bit salty?