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Bologna highlights: outdoor markets and street food of Bologna

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Bologna highlights: outdoor markets and street food of Bologna
Bologna highlights: outdoor markets and street food of Bologna

 

Bologna highlights: outdoor markets and street food of Bologna

 

Bologna in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy is one of those iconic cities that has a proud and amazing food culture and history.  Better known locally as ‘La Grassa’ (the fat one), Bologna features so many delicious and wonderful flavors to experience. The city has many food focused venues, specialty shops and food products that are made locally from the region and it is fun to explore and discover some of the many specialty shops and food purveyors in the city. Needless to say, one of my first forays into this wonderful city was to walk around and discover some of the delicious street food and also explore the local farmers markets around the city, below is a highlight of the historic district food scene.

 

The Quadrilatero market area in Bologna's historic center

The Quadrilatero market area in Bologna’s historic center

The Quadrilatero or ancient Bologna food market

First stop on my tour of the historic district is the historic ancient food market also known as the Quadrilatero market. It is located off the Piazza Maggiore, the main square in the central district of the city. The Quadrilatero is an area of very narrow streets with packed vendors and old food stalls that are typical of how they were during the medieval time frame, selling right into the narrow passageways. It is a very colorful area filled with produce stalls, wine shops, specialty food shops and cafes with outdoor seating spilling all over the streets, making it a perfect place for people watching and trying out some of the local specialties of the area.

 

A specialty meat and deli market at the Bologna Quadrilatero market area

A specialty meat and deli market at the Bologna Quadrilatero market area

 

Not exactly a cheap outdoor and specialty food market area, the Quadrilatero prides itself with all the fresh produce stalls and specialty shops selling the best quality products grown or made in the area. Here you will find the best fish stalls, pasta shops, cured meats or butcheries along with a large assortment of specialty foods from the area like the wonderful local cheese shops or delicious pastry or gelaterias.

 

 

Via Clavature in the Quadrilatero area of Bologna

Via Clavature in the Quadrilatero area of Bologna

 

Evening shopping at the Quadrilatero is an option and very colorful

 

 

The evening market at the Quadrilatero in Bologna

The evening market at the Quadrilatero in Bologna

The fish market is lively and well stocked for the evening rush

 

Shopping for fish after hours in the ancient market of Bologna

Shopping for fish after hours in the ancient market of Bologna

 

 

The market opens very early each morning and then closes for the afternoon. Later in the evening, it reopens again for the after hours crowd to shop for their daily provisions or just drop by for an apperitivo (drinks/appetizers) with some friends at the many outdoor cafes that have magically opened up for the evening passegiata and dinner.

 

Evening shopping at the Quadrilatero in Bologna

Evening shopping at the Quadrilatero in Bologna

 

 

 

 

 

A cheese and specialty cured meats store at the Quadrilatero

A cheese and specialty cured meats store at the Quadrilatero

Here are my favorite places to visit in the Quadrilatero market:

 

Bologna specialty food store and café A. F. Tamburini

Bologna specialty food store and café A. F. Tamburini

 

 

A. F. Tamburini, is one of the most iconic food specialty stores and eateries in the area – founded in 1932 as a butcher and cheese shop, it eventually expanded to pasta and specialty foods from the area and has a busy lunch to dinner café style eatery that is very popular with the locals

Paolo Atti & Figli on Via Caprarie is a 100 year old pasta institution in the Quadrilatero market area with traditional interiors and walls filled with pasta that has been unchanged since the start of the specialty pasta purveyor.

Salumeria Simoni specializes in selling artisan mortadella and all other local cold cuts. They also sell specialty cheese like the very popular locally made Parmigiano Reggiano

Dante Zanetti, is a small bakery selling all types of Bologna hand-made pasta, as well as bread and Bologna’s typical sweets like raviole and torta di riso.

 

 

 

Mercato Del Herb (vegetable market) in Bologna

Mercato delle Erbe (vegetable market) in Bologna

 Mercato delle Erbe – An indoor Bologna farmers market

 

The Mercato delle Erbe (vegetable market) in the historic central district is a modern indoor market (established 1949) that is far away from the more touristy and pricier Quadrilatero market off the Piazza Maggiore.  Servicing a more local audience, the market still offers a plethora of the best local and in season produce and finished products from the area at affordable prices. I noticed that all the vendors also place a lot of care and energy to making their food and stalls look beautiful, spotless and easy to take away.  More than a vegetable market, they also have meat and poultry purveyors along with an area for fresh seafood, shellfish and local fish from the area.

 

Vegetable stall at the Mercato Del Herb  in Bologna

Vegetable stall at the Mercato Del Herb in Bologna

 

 Bologna street food

Of course street food in Bologna is readily available all over the city in small take out shops, bars, deli and food specialty shops and even food courts. Popular street food includes the following delicious bites that you can find in many parts of the historic center of the city:

Bologna specialty shops with small bites

Bologna specialty shops with small bites

 

 Pizza to go please…

Bologna pizza to go

Bologna pizza to go

 

Pizza is always a standard, in most take away places, it’s usually in a square pan and sliced into nice perfect squares and not pie shaped. It always seems like there are easy pizza shops everywhere in Bologna along with a variety of sandwich and easy take away foods.

 

Bologna deli shops served a variety of delicious take aways

Bologna deli shops served a variety of delicious take aways

 

Specialty cured meat shops or Salumeria carry a wide variety of sliced and cured meats and salumi. Typically these shops sell sandwiches to go and other side dishes like salads or pastas that are a perfect complement.

 

 

Specialty meat sandwiches make the best take aways from a butcher or meat purveyor

Specialty meat sandwiches make the best take aways from a butcher or meat purveyor

 

Flat breads or Focaccia in Italian are also easy and popular to go items from various take away shops around Bologna.

 

Bologna flat breads to go

Bologna flat breads better known as Focaccia in Italian

 

Bologna desserts and gelaterias

Of course desserts as a take away item from the many bakeries, dessert shops and gelateria are almost on every corner block in Bologna (to many to choose from in the city), it’s easy to just drop in and pick and choose what ever is appealing to the eyes and smells when you enter these amazing shops.

 

 

The delicious cakes and pastry shops of Bologna

The delicious cakes and pastry shops of Bologna

 

Who wants to try some local Gelato from Bologna?

 

Locally made gelato from Bologna

Locally made gelato from Bologna

 

 

As you can see the choices are endless in terms of the types of places to explore in the city if you have an extreme food fetish and Bologna and its food venues will not disappoint you with any of your choices.  Visiting Bologna for the food experiences alone makes it one of the best foodie destinations in Italy worth visiting especially if you love amazing quality of food, traditional ways of food production and truly remarkable cuisine.

 

Thanks for visiting the outdoor markets and street food of Bologna, if you enjoyed reading this post, please do share it with any of the social media buttons located around the post.

 

 

 

 

 

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17 Responses to Bologna highlights: outdoor markets and street food of Bologna

  1. liz June 20, 2015 at 12:01 pm #

    What fantastic photos of the tastiest looking food porn!!! I am drooling at the thought of all these fab markets and have put Bologna to the top of my wish list! Thanks for sharing and I look forward to more like this!!

  2. natan dotan January 30, 2015 at 4:20 am #

    well…i have to admit im just after dinner buy these pictures makes me again so hungry…well done here and great street and food shots too

  3. Monika December 10, 2014 at 6:55 am #

    I love Italian food! These photos looks so yummy! Great post, made me hungry! I especially like the photos with fresh vegetables and sweet deserts! Ok, time for some ice cream and chocolate cake for me then 🙂

  4. Nancie December 6, 2014 at 6:01 pm #

    Markets and foods, what more can a traveler ask for! I think I gained 10 pounds just looking at all of that out of this world delicious food. 🙂

  5. alison December 6, 2014 at 11:35 am #

    Love the light in your photos Noel, it really makes the colors pop. Seeing all that fresh food makes me wish more Americans could shop that way. We’d all be so much healthier.

  6. Kathryn Burrington December 5, 2014 at 10:56 pm #

    This brings back happy memories of exploring these very same streets last year. A fascinating area of a very lovely city. Love your colourful photos.

  7. Marilyn Armstrong December 5, 2014 at 11:55 am #

    Very classy for an open air market. The only such market I knew well was the shuk in the Old City in Jerusalem … which was not classy, but nonetheless fascinating. GREAT pictures. As always!

  8. anna parker December 5, 2014 at 8:36 am #

    the food in Bologna looks fantastic… something for everyone! I love visiting the markets when we are away – they are always full of colour, smells, and bustling people! A ‘real’ tourist attraction! Great photos as always!

  9. Maribel December 5, 2014 at 6:11 am #

    The only reason the mercato at the Quadrilatero is popular with tourists is because its pretty and characteristic. But I wouldn’t say its “touristy” since tourists hardly ever go food shopping but go to restaurants instead. Yes, it is a bit more expensive but then again having larger stands, the vendors at the Quadrilatero have greater variety plus greater freshness. I shop there on a regular basis and at most, a tourist will purchase one (1) piece of fruit!

    • Noel December 5, 2014 at 6:22 am #

      I agree, I see the quality and greater variety of locally grown food. If I lived in Bologna, I would shop there all the time and get to know these amazing vendors

  10. Cassie December 4, 2014 at 10:38 am #

    Nice, I didn’t make it to Bologna when we visited Italy a few months ago, but I heard it’s a great city for food! I love the modern less touristy markets. And yes, I’ll take some gelato 🙂

  11. Ele December 4, 2014 at 8:51 am #

    Aubergines! I LOVE aubergines!

  12. Franca December 4, 2014 at 4:40 am #

    What a perfect timing for me to stumble upon this post, thanks Noel! We might stop in Bologna in the next week and, even if I’ve been there before, I’m not a local so there is always somewhere I haven’t been and seen like the evening market at the Quadrilatero which is now marked on my list of places to go 🙂

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