Where to spend your summer nights in Bologna [UPDATE 2019]

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 and never miss any crumb of it.
Aperitivo at Le Serre dei Giardini Margherita. Live music between rosemary and thyme.

With a spritz, between the trees: aperitivo places

You've drunk all the water of Nettuno 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 jogging in the evening, a small lake and a light, unexpected breeze.
From 2014 it also hosts my favourite place to spend a summer night in Bologna.

Le Serre dei Giardini Margherita are former greenhouses brought back to life by Kilowatt association. 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.

Rudere is the next big thing.
Literally translated as 'the ruin', Rudere is another example of regeneration of a forsaken place. Free-grill, live music and craft beer on a hill with a view on San Luca Basilica. Not bad, uh?

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, who greets you with a smile and surprises with his dishes.
Fixed menu that changes every evening. Be sure to book in advance.


Le Serre dei Giardini Margherita
Via Castiglione, 134, 40136 Bologna

Via Gaibara 1, 40136 Bologna
Tel. 051 235944

Scaccomatto agli Orti
Via della Braina 7, 40124 Bologna
Tel. 051 263404
Live music with a view on Bologna's hills at Rudere
Sotto le Stelle del Cinema in Piazza Maggiore. Outdoor cinema has never been that great.

The light of the screen, a ceiling of stars: open air cinema

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 August 15th, 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 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 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.


Cinema Ritrovato
June 23rd - July 1st 2018
Piazza Maggiore, Bologna

Sotto le stelle del cinema
July 2nd - August 15th, 2018
Piazza Maggiore, Bologna

Biografilm Festival
Parco del Cavaticcio, Via Azzo Gardino, 40122 Bologna
Tel. 051 219 3111

Arena Puccini
Mid June - first days of Sept
Via Sebastiano Serlio, 25/2, 40128 Bologna
Live music, street food and movies during Biografilm festival at Cavaticcio Park

Under the stage, with your dancing shoes on: 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 most important clubs move their stages outdoor during summer.
Botanique offers a wider range of concerts, but it's also a place to get a beer and relax sitting on the grass.

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.

Enter the old gate of Palazzo Re Enzo in Piazza Maggiore for Round Midnight Jazz Club. A temporary jazz club with live concerts and jam session after midnight. With a view on Neptune's fountain. Not bad, huh?


June 16th - July 22nd, 2018
Via Filippo Re, 40126 Bologna

Bravo Caffè
Via Mascarella 1, 40126 Bologna
Tel. 051 266112

Cantina Bentivoglio
Via Mascarella 4/b, 40126 Bologna
Tel. 051 265416
Round Midnight Jazz Club: live music in Piazza Maggiore
[photos: Lorenzo Burlando]

In the mood for wine? 15 places to drink with style in Bologna

Italy'Italy's wine-world is maybe as wide and diverse as Italian cuisine itself.
These are my best places to drink wine in Bologna and to give your trip a sparkling twist.
And you'll never order just the house wine anymore

My first (and last?) time at Osteria Francescana

Yes, it happened. I finally had dinner at Osteria Francescana in Modena.
I took a photo with Massimo Bottura. I ate his most famous tortellini in cream of Parmigiano Reggiano and met the fake national guard at the entrance. ​
​Was it worth it? Was it the best dinner of my life?

5 food markets in Bologna you can't miss

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 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.

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