I am booked on a Rick Steves Italy tour in October. I must be feeling pretty optimistic because yesterday I bought a round trip plane ticket to Milan. (to encourage booking United promises no change fees through March 2021). I plan to go early and spend some time in Bologna as I have not been there before. I am looking for hotel and restaurant recommendations there.
We stayed at the Hotel Centrale Bologna. Loved it, great location and great breakfast. I wish I would have written down the name of the restaurant that we loved for dinner, but I don't have it sorry, we did walk there from our hotel. We also found the best dark chocolate gelato of both our trips to Italy in Bologna, it was not the highest rated place because we tried that one right by the tower. I might look up some maps later and try to find them. We loved Bologna.
Italy just closed down.
I’ll also recommend the Hotel Centrale. A short walk away on Via Calcavinazzi is Ristorante Il Saraceno. Great menu, great service, excellent food! Highly recommended by friends in Bologna is Osteria Dell’Orsa on Via Mentana-couldn’t get in because of the crowds, and it was off season!
We enjoyed Franco Rossi and Trattoria Gianni. There is a lot of great stuff in Bologna and we had a fantastic time. You can also consider day trips in the area - Parma, Modena, Frerrara. Food tours in Parma are pretty special. We had a great experience with Alice from Exploraemilia. She arranged a driver to pick us up in Bologna, so it was very easy.
If you like Roman history, don’t miss the excavations under the public library in the main square.
We were just in Bologna in mid-February (before everything shut down). Hotel Centrale is really the best location. It's very convenient to the best areas of Bologna. Bologna is known for their food so really no matter where you go, it's pretty incredible.
Our favorite meal was this pizza from Castiglione Ristorante Pizzeria. Hands down, one of the best pizzas we've ever eaten. We also ate (and drank craft beer) at Mercato di Mezzo, which is a food hall located near the Neptune statue. The best gelato place we found was about a 15 minute walk from Neptune statue called La Sorbetteria Castiglione. I got the lemon cream and I can't stop thinking about it (a month later).
For a great cafe in the morning to grab breakfast (if not eating at the hotel), we found Caffe Zanarini (also near Neptune statue). They had a big bar and some incredible looking pastries!
Here's to wishful thinking the world will be back to normal by October! We loved Bologna and hope you have a great time!
Corona del Oro.
The best hotel is the Albergo Centrale, but they are always full.
For casual restaurants we loved Trattoria da Pietro, went twice.
You may like Osteria Bottega, Trattoria di Via Serra, Dal Biassanot, Serghei and Trattoria Da Me.