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Become a Patron Tweet: This is not a transcript of the podcast. Instead it is a comprehensive companion article that should be read in addition to listening to the podcast. Before we get to the dishes, a little historical background to help you understand how Bologna food fits with the region and with Italy in general. Pellegrino Artusi is considered the father of modern Italian cuisine. In the late 19th century he set about collecting traditional home cooking recipes from all over Italy.

Artusi was born in the small country town of Forlimpopoli, less than an hour from Bologna. In a new cooking school and library was opened, Casa Artusi , where the philosophy of Artusi is continued today — a focus on training regular people in the art of home cooking. This is less a school for chefs and more a school for lovers of food and cooking.

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Culinary traditions that are no longer being passed on by grandmothers to their families but are being kept alive here for anyone without an Italian grandmother to teach them. We were lucky enough to take a half day cooking class and learn essential pasta making skills as well as how to make the local piadina flatbread, characteristic of this region. More on that later. In the Italian Academy of food decided to formalize the most important recipes of Bologna to preserve the food tradition of the province. One of the first to be catalogued was the recipe for Tagliatelle pasta — which must consist only of eggs and flour, grams per egg.

The exact size and thickness of the perfect tagliatelle was cast in gold and is now stored at the Bologna chamber of commerce. Since , a total of 27 recipes have been deposited. And some of the dishes which are now almost impossible to find outside the home of a Bolognese grandmother. Every recipe is held sacred and I was lucky enough to get a copy of the collected recipes in English. Suffice to say, any recipe in this book is about as close to authentic as it gets.

You are probably familiar with Champagne only being allowed to be called that if it is from the Champagne region. This classification is a way to guarantee the product you purchase is produced in the specific region where it is supposed to be, that it is authentic and produced within the official guidelines that maintain a standard for the product. Believe it or not, certain natural elements in the air, such as yeast and bacteria, can vary so much between the micro climates of different provinces, that it is impossible to replicate certain products naturally in any location other than the relevant DOP.

Which is why the rules are so strict. Many of the items below are available individually as an antipasti on restaurant menus, or as a platter selection. Or you can just head to any of the local markets and delis around central Bologna and grab some to eat at your hotel, or in the park.

The American version is very different from the Bolognese product. Mortadella is a high quality pork product, the recipe was originally codified in , and the specific IGP production method of Mortadella has been protected by the EU since American Baloney is a lunch meat than can be made from pork, turkey, beef, chicken etc. Mortadella is a beautiful pink color with white spots of fat throughout.

Its typically served cubed, or in paper thin slices which have a luxurious melt in the mouth texture. You can take a private guided tour to the charcuterie museum from Bologna to get a personalised food and learning experience. Mortadella mousse — Mortadella is used as an ingredient in many dishes, it forms the base of the stuffing for tortellini, for example. Mortadella mousse is a whisked combination of mortadella, ricotta, Parmigiano Reggiano and cream. A salty, creamy pink delight to be enjoyed on crostini bread.

Possibly the most famous cheese in the world. This cheese, or something very similar, may have been produced in this area for at least years, with documentation going back to the 13th century. The most important is regarding the raw milk itself. It can only come from cows that have eaten hay grown within the specified DOP area. A unique bacteria is present in this region that is not found elsewhere in the world.

Grana Padano is a less fatty and less intense hard cheese with some similarities to Parmigiano Reggiano. It is typically aged 14 to 16 months, has less stringent regulation as to how the cows are fed and a much larger geographic region where it can be produced. It is made through most of northern Italy, including the province of Piacenza. Another world famous export from the region, Parma ham is a raw ham, cured with salt and aged at least 12 months.

This process of preserving ham has existed in Italy for at least years. The unique micro climate of the region affects the way the ham ages and the flavors that develop. One factor that each manufacturer does have control over is the amount of salt added during the salting process within a regulated maximum and minimum. Less salt leads to a sweeter ham flavor. Ruliano use less salt and a computer controlled drying room with ventilation designed to open and close depending on ideal outside weather conditions.

There ham is one of the best! You can visit the Ruliano Parma Ham factory and do a big ham tasting with wine for 25 euros — please call to make a reservation: Culatello is one of the most expensive cured hams in the world.


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It is only produced in the north part of Parma province near the Po river. The fog that rolls off the river leads to the creation of a very special ham that would be impossible to duplicate elsewhere. Also, check out this tour from Parma to visit a Parmigiano factory, Culatello production and taste local Lambrusco.

The hills around Bologna and Emilia Romagna region are home to that most prized ingredient, the truffle. Black truffles are hunted from March to November. Visit during October and November and join one of the events hosted by TartuFesta — the annual truffle festival.

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Take a private truffle hunting tour and visit a truffle factory. Archeological evidence suggest Piadina bread was being made by the Etruscans in the region as far back as 1, BC. The ancient recipe would have likely been a simple ground grain mixed with water, probably salt and possibly some sort of fat. Today, the best Piadina is made with flour, lard, baking powder and salt Though olive oil may be substituted for a vegetarian version.

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Its cooked on a hot clay dish. It can be eaten as a light meal or snack, wrapped around a local filling of parma ham, cheese, sausage etc. Or cut and used for dipping. This cheap version is normally just flavoured wine vinegar made through an industrial process. The real thing is a whole new world of flavor. Here we could see the traditional process, where balsamic may be aged for over 25 years in oak barrels. We got to taste different ages of the vinegar and see how the colour and viscosity changes over time.

In Bologna was the scene of rioting linked to the Movement of , a spontaneous political movement of the time. The alleged police shooting of a far-left activist, Francesco Lorusso , sparked two days of street clashes. On 2 August , at the height of the " years of lead ", a terrorist bomb was set off in the central railway station of Bologna killing 85 people and wounding , an event which is known in Italy as the Bologna massacre.

In , members of the neo-fascist group Nuclei Armati Rivoluzionari were convicted for carrying out the attack, while Licio Gelli —Grand Master of the underground Freemason lodge Propaganda Due P2 —was convicted for hampering the investigation, together with three agents of the secret military intelligence service SISMI including Francesco Pazienza and Pietro Musumeci.

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Commemorations take place in Bologna on 2 August each year, culminating in a concert in the main square. In the long tradition of left-wing mayors was interrupted by the victory of the independent candidate Giorgio Guazzaloca, who led a centre-right coalition; this brief experience ended in when Sergio Cofferati , a former trade union leader, was elected. The next centre-left mayor, Flavio Delbono , elected in June , resigned in January after being involved in a corruption scandal. After a month period in which the city was administered under Anna Maria Cancellieri as a state-appointed prefect , Virginio Merola was elected as mayor, leading a left-wing coalition comprising the Democratic Party , Left Ecology Freedom and Italy of Values.

Bologna is situated on the edge of the Po Plain at the foot of the Apennine Mountains , at the meeting of the Reno and Savena river valleys. As Bologna's two main watercourses flow directly to the sea, the town lies outside of the drainage basin of the River Po.


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Snow occasionally falls during winter and heavy snowfalls; the last major event was in November The legislative body of the municipality is the City Council Consiglio Comunale , which is composed by 48 councillors elected every five years with a proportional system, contextually to the mayoral elections. The executive body is the City Committee Giunta Comunale , composed by 12 assessors , that is nominated and presided over by a directly elected Mayor. The municipality of Bologna is subdivided into six administrative Boroughs Quartieri , down from the former nine before the administrative reform.

Each Borough is governed by a Council Consiglio and a President, elected contextually to the city Mayor. The urban organization is governed by the Italian Constitution art. The Boroughs have the power to advise the Mayor with nonbinding opinions on a large spectrum of topics environment, construction, public health, local markets and exercise the functions delegated to them by the City Council; in addition they are supplied with an autonomous founding in order to finance local activities.

Bologna is the capital of the eponymous administrative province and of Emilia-Romagna , one of the twenty regions of Italy. While the Province of Bologna has a population of 1,,, [50] making it the twelfth most populated province of Italy, Emilia-Romagna ranks as the sixth most populated region of Italy, with about 4. The seat of the regional government is Fiera District , a tower complex designed by Japanese architect Kenzo Tange in Since 21 June Virginio Merola , as mayor of the capital city, has been the mayor of the Metropolitan City.

Until the late 19th century, when a large-scale urban renewal project was undertaken, Bologna was one of the few remaining large walled cities in Europe; to this day and despite having suffered considerable bombing damage in , Bologna's acres Due to its Roman heritage, the central streets of Bologna, today largely pedestrianized, follow the grid pattern of the Roman settlement.

The original Roman ramparts were supplanted by a high medieval system of fortifications, remains of which are still visible, and finally by a third and final set of ramparts built in the 13th century, of which numerous sections survive.

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No more than twenty medieval defensive towers remain out of up to that were built in the 12th and 13th centuries before the arrival of unified civic government. The most famous of the towers of Bologna are the central "Due Torri" Asinelli and Garisenda , whose iconic leaning forms provide a popular symbol of the town.

The cityscape is further enriched by its elegant and extensive porticoes, for which the city is famous.