Summer in Bologna is like a chocolate box, sorry Forrest. Rich and tasty, but ends always too soon.
Here's my guide for the best places to enjoy its nightlife and never miss any crumb of it.
With a spritz, between the trees: aperitivo places
You've drunk all the water from the Neptune fountain.
Jump between the shadows of the porticos.
Spend a full day through crypts and ice caves (yes, we have a lot of them).
But it's hot, still.
Summer in Bologna can be very hot.
The good news is that you can find an escape in the green.
Giardini Margherita is our Hyde Park.
People jog in the evening, a small lake and a light, unexpected breeze.
Since 2014 it has also hosted my favourite place to spend summer nightlife in Bologna.
Le Serre dei Giardini Margherita are former greenhouses brought back to life.
Photos hardly describe the atmosphere of this place. Enjoy one of the best aperitivo in Bologna, listen to live music or just relax between rosemary and thyme.
Since 2020, there's space for something new.
Borgo Mameli brings to life a former nineteenth-century barracks. In an intimate courtyard in Porta San Felice, it's a new space for live music, interesting events and good food and craft beers.
Not exactly a place for aperitivo, but once you've tried Scaccomatto agli Orti then it's hard to not talk about it.
An oasis of peace and harmony hidden behind a gate.
A secret vegetable garden where you can have dinner under fig trees.
A chef, Mario Ferrara, greets you with a smile and surprises you with his dishes.
A fixed menu that changes every evening. Be sure to book in advance.
Le Serre dei Giardini Margherita
Via Castiglione, 134, 40136 Bologna
Tel. +39 370 333 6439
Piazza di Porta S. Felice, 3, 40122
Scaccomatto agli Orti
Via della Braina 7, 40124 Bologna
Tel. +39 051 263404
The light of the screen, a ceiling of stars: Bologna open-air cinema and theatres
When I was 8, I used to wait for the new collection of Panini soccer stickers.
When I was 20, for the new Radiohead album.
Now, for both of them still, but also for the program of Sotto le Stelle del Cinema.
From mid-June to September, Piazza Maggiore becomes a cinema. The best cinema I've ever seen.
First Cinema Ritrovato Festival brings back to life old masterpieces, restored by the lab of Cineteca di Bologna.
Then Sotto le stelle del cinema enlightens the biggest screen in Europe with old Italian movies, the hidden gems you've missed in the last season, and some unique events like silent movies with an orchestra.
All movies are in the original language, with English subtitles if Italian.
June is also the month of Biografilm Festival: a month of previews, small productions and documentaries that enrich the park of Cavaticcio day and night. After the movie, you can have some street food in a park and enjoy live music near the old Cavaticcio canal.
If you speak a bit of Italian, or you'd like to learn it, Arena Puccini is another open-air theatre to consider.
Not only because of the selection of movies, mostly last season's highlights.
The park around it called DLF (former after-work railway area) now hosts beach-volley playing fields, a nice restaurant and the great pizza of Pizzartist.
Last but not least, Piazza San Francesco becomes a theatre stage. During the weekend from June 4th, with guests like Daniel Pennac, Oblivion and more.
Sotto le stelle del cinema
June 23rd - August 14th, 2021
Piazza Maggiore, Bologna
Parco del Cavaticcio, Via Azzo Gardino, 40122 Bologna
Tel. 051 219 3111
Mid-June - first days of Sept
Via Sebastiano Serlio, 25/2, 40128 Bologna
Under the stage, with your dancing shoes: live music and clubs
Live music in Bologna is a big thing.
Name a rock star, a pop idol or a jazz master and you can be sure he made a walk under the porticoes.
The place of summer is Dumbo: concerts, playgrounds, street art, exhibitions or (why not) just a beer.
Jazz lovers, we don't forget about you.
Via Mascarella, the street of jazz, closes for pedestrians in summer and becomes a living room.
During Salotto del Jazz Festival, hosted by Cantina Bentivoglio and Bravo Caffè, Moustache and Cinema Odeon, you can relax with a glass of wine and a dish tagliatelle al ragù while the brushes are drumming.
Via Camillo Casarini, 19, 40131 BolognaTel. +39 051 049 3742
Via Mascarella 1, 40126 Bologna
Tel. 051 266112
Via Mascarella 4/b, 40126 Bologna
Tel. 051 265416