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. Get a drink and listen to live music or just relax between rosemary and thyme.
Rudere is the next big thing of 2018.
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
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.
June 23rd - July 1st 2018
Piazza Maggiore, Bologna
Sotto le stelle del cinema
July 2nd - August 15th, 2018
Piazza Maggiore, Bologna
Biografilm Festival June 1st - 24th 2018
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
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.
If Covo Summer Club is the Mecca of indie-rockers, 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.
Piazza Verdi is the most controversial square of Bologna.
Coen's brother would say that the heart of University area is not a country for old men.
A stage for concerts and public conferences tries to change its mood, by bringing some great musicians like trumpeter Paolo Fresu. Keep an eye on it.
Covo Summer Club
June 7th - July 14th, 2018
Viale Zagabria 1, 40127 Bologna
Tel. 051 505801
June 16th - July 22nd, 2018
Via Filippo Re, 40126 Bologna
Via Mascarella 1, 40126 Bologna
Tel. 051 266112
Via Mascarella 4/b, 40126 Bologna
Tel. 051 265416
[photos: Lorenzo Burlando]