My first impression of Bologna was its elegant architecture. The most prominent feature is the uncountable orderly porticos - something I have never seen in such quantity elsewhere in Italy. My second impression was related to food. To be specific, I was amazed by the vibrant market stalls and the variety of food stores in the center. The dynamism of the place is created by both local and foreign foodies.
Once in Bologna, there are traditional foods that cannot be missed. Let's begin with the Italian baked ham or sausage mortadella. It contains at least 15% of pork fat but it does not taste like the fatty food at all.
Then there is pasta. I mean, real pasta, freshly made egg pasta. The most popular pasta dish in Bologna is tagliatelle al ragù alla bolognese. I try this dish in Trattoria Anna Maria, and it was quite special as the delicate pasta was handmade.
Another classic dish is tortellini in brodo. Unfortunately, I did not get to try it but it is my reason to come back to Bologna. Overall, I really like Bolognese food because it is homey, just like how a loving grandma would cook.
Finally, gelato is something you can enjoy anytime of the day. Some of the best gelaterias as recommended by my local Airbnb host are Galliera 49 and Sorbetteria Castiglione.
For a professional guide, check out this video by The New York Times. It offers insighful recommendations for where to eat and also what to do in Bologna:
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