8 Original Souvenirs to Take Home from Bologna

Souvenirs are always a discussed topic amongst tourists.
How many times have you found yourself wandering at the airport, 30 min before the flight, trying to find something more interesting than that trash keychain or ugly t-shirt? Me: lots of times.

Here's a list of original souvenirs to take home from Bologna that will surprise your friends.

1. Lucio Dalla's vinyl

Bologna is represented by several institutions, some untouchable icons who made the history of our city.
Lucio Dalla is one of them and if you visit Bologna at the beginning of March (his death's anniversary) you can find out how many bolognese still love this amazing songwriter.

If you love music, take home one of his most famous records like Lucio Dalla (1978), my favourite, or Dalla (1980).

​A perfect souvenir to revive the sound of Bologna when you're back at home.
Price: 10 to 30€

Where to buy it
Santo Stefano's vintage market. In the stunning scenery of Piazza Santo Stefano, every second weekend of the month, this vintage market offers decorations, memorabilia, gadgets and records sellers.
​Keep in mind that the prices on the record are not the final ones. So for a good deal: negotiate!

2. Garganelli's comb

Dear chefs, this is for you.
Garganelli (also called maccheroni al pettine) is a truly traditional egg pasta not easy to find in restaurant menus but very popular amongst the grannies.

Common in the area of Romagna, between Imola, Ravenna and Forlì, this pasta is prepared with a wood-made comb where you roll a small square of dough.

Price: 20€

Where to buy it
Antica Aguzzeria del Cavallo, founded in 1783, is one of the oldest shops in Bologna and the heaven of every chef and cooking addict.
Its name is taken from a horse who drove a grinding machine to sharpen swords and knives.

​Now the horse is not there anymore, but you can still see part of the original furniture.

Antica Aguzzeria del Cavallo
​Via Drapperie, 12/b, 40124 Bologna

3. Bolognese Tarots

Card games are part of the Italian and Bolognese traditions.
During our tours in Bologna we always meet old men playing cards and yelling about them with a glass of sparkling wine. The famous tarot (Tarocchino) bolognese is a pack of 63 old cards created by a noble in the XV century.

​It's basically a game, but it can be used also to predict the future (maybe after some more glasses of wine).

Why buy cards as a souvenir?

​The design is attractive: all the cards, except one, have double icons and you can frame them and create an original decoration.

Price: 14€

Where to buy it
La Coroncina opened in 1694 inside Mercato di Mezzo by monks to sell mainly religious icons. Now it's under the portico at the beginning of Via Indipendenza. It's one of the last family businesses between the big clothes chains of that street.

There you can find every kind of souvenir, gadget and game as well as some interesting tools to take care of your beard like brushes, creams or combs.

La Coroncina
​Via dell'Indipendenza, 3, 40121 Bologna​

4. Pellegrino Artusi cookbook

Another souvenir for foodies.
​This old cookbook was written in 1891 by Pellegrino Artusi. It's a lot more than just a recipe book: it's a book of taste, full of dissertations, ideas and suggestions to find amongst the 790 recipes from soups to liqueurs, passing through side dishes, appetizers and cakes.

Michelin chefs have taken inspiration from it and also a school and a restaurant in Forlimpopoli, the small town in Romagna where he was born, have been built to learn and to taste all the secrets of this holy book of Italian cuisine.

Price: 30€ (in English)

Where to buy it
Libreria Nanni is the oldest bookstore in Bologna and is set under the so-called Portico della Morte (death portico), which takes his name from the hospital that, from the XIV century, assisted people condemned to death.

It was founded in 1825, but only later the owner Arnaldo Nanni decided to add the bouquinistes-like stands, that still show old books and magazines.

You can also find Artusi's cookbook in almost all these independent bookshops of Bologna.

Libreria Nanni
Via de' Musei, 8, 40124 Bologna

5. Leather Tortellino

Souvenirs from Bologna - Leather tortellino keyring

A keyring is quite an ordinary souvenir.
Plastic towers, pottery tortellini, and metal football team logos are in every corner of Bologna. But what about a handmade tortellino made with real leather to show to your foodie's friends when you come back home?

Price: 15€

Where to buy it
Vacchetta Grassa is an old leather shop in Modena, also loved my Massimo Bottura, where they still produce artisan goods with passion.
Since middle age, tanneries have been established in Modena thanks to a large number of canals and the qualities of Modenese white cows.

The owners are friends of Taste Bologna, so join our Modena food tour and ask them for the friend price ;)

Vacchetta Grassa
Corso Canalchiaro, 42 Modena

6. Cartoline dalla Bolognina

Bologna souvenirs - Cartoline dalla bolognina postcards

Cartoline dalla Bolognina is a collection of postcards designed by local artists of Checkpoint Charly.

​21 artworks to portray Bolognina: an authentic and animated neighborhood of Bologna. Each of them describes a subjective view of the area built on memories, experiences and opinions. Such an unusual and original souvenir from a less famous side of Bologna.

Price: 10€

Where to buy it
Checkpoint Charly is an artistic lab and coworking space in Bolognina area. Just near the tasty Trattoria di Via Serra this lab used to be the old warehouse of a dress shop named Charly, from which it takes the name and the logo.

​Checkpoint Charly
Via dei Rosaspina 7/A or 3/A Bologna
[email protected]

7. Art print

Bologna souvenirs - Art print

Whether you are an artist or not, you will be enchanted by finding amazing print in Bologna.
Daniela Collina, a very friendly and personable artist, realizes and sells her precious etching and aquatint engravings in her small lab just under the 2 towers.

Her ideas come to life on copper plates following the traditional engraving techniques, in this way she can realize only limited circulations on fine cotton paper.

Come to see the laboratory window with always new subjects: views of Bologna, classic or transported in a fantasy world, landscapes, flowers, but also a rich assortment of Jewish themes, since Daniela studied the ancient Hebrew alphabet, the language and the traditions of the people of Israel, to enlivened original and unique images.

Etching, aquatint, and soft wax impressions are mixed together in continuous research and experimentation.

From 15€ to 200€

Where to buy it
La Tarlatana is a shop, a lab and a printing house that opened in 1991 and since 1994 is located at the entrance of the former Jewish ghetto.
In this workshop you can find prints of all formats, from small to large: greeting cards, calendars, bookmarks, tickets and notebooks, all unique pieces made of etching.

On the walls you can admire refined copper overhangs on wood and suggestive sculptures realized with semiprecious stones.
Daniela's press is the centerpiece of the room, that's why this hidden gem is waiting for you.

La Tarlatana
Via Canonica, 1/b, 40126 Bologna
Tel. 051 237022
[email protected]

8. A Perfume

Bologna souvenirs - Perfume

Have you ever heard of perfume tissue?
It was a tradition used once to revive the senses, refresh the air or to be given to a loved person.

This tradition is linked to the Madonna della Pioggia, guarded in the sanctuary of San Luca.
When the Virgin was carried in procession to the cathedral of Bologna, the Bolognese greeted the arrival of their protectress waving white tissues soaked in perfume created by the most renowned local perfumery.

This scent of Bologna invented in 1827 is back to light thanks to the will and enthusiasm of Barbara and Pierpaolo Corazza.

The fragrance interprets the archetype of Cologne, in a modern form, featuring citrus and fresh notes, combining prime materials in an intense concentration. Citrus, neroli and flowers give an energizing impression of a spicy-oriental character.
The story is exciting and so is the fragrance.

Price: 165€

Where to buy it
Autentica di Felsina is the expression of the sincere intention of the creators of the brand to recreate a historic product of excellence, with complete respect for the past.

Antica Profumeria Al Sacro Cuore
Via de' Fusari, 6c, 40123 Bologna BO

The REAL best souvenir from Bologna

Ok, so these are my best suggestions for souvenirs to fill in your trolley between bags of Parmigiano cheese and mortadella.

But do you know which is the real best thing you can take home from your trip to bologna?

New skills, new nice memories, new people you've met, new flavors you've discovered, new stories to tell your friends and family back home.

This (and great food of course!) is what we offer during our food tours and cooking classes.

So read our +300 5 stars review on Tripadvisor and follow the advice of The Guardian, BBC's Rick Stein and Netflix's Phil Rosenthal who chose us in the past and book our limited tours (only 8 per group)!

[photo credits: Francesca D'Urbano, Claudia Merighi, Giovanni Racca, Sara Aguzzoni]

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  • Kevin Leitch

    This is a fantastic post! Absolutely loving your blog!

  • Andrea

    Thanks so much Kevin :)