Those who are following me on Facebook or Instagram know – my Erasmus semester is officially over, which does not mean that I have fully arrived in Austria yet. No – my grieving process has only begun which is probably just part of everybody’s Erasmus experience. In order to cope with this mass of emotions I am currently experiencing (haha) I decided to collect all of my knowledge concerning my favourite city to provide future Erasmus students or just Bologna – tourists with an easy-written guide that includes my favourite spots concerning eating, free time, views, sport, escursions and … jep food again. When I arrived in Bologna, I had soooo many questions and was just overwhelmed by the city in general, the huge university and having to handle sooo many different things on my own + in Italian. Maybe this guide will help you to successfully start your Erasmus semester in this beautiful place – before we start: You made a really good choice ❤
- After your arrival don’t immediately abandon yourself to Prosciutto and Mozzarella, maybe finding a place to live for the following 6-12 months might be a good idea. I was extremely lucky because I found my room in the perfect apartment including the greatest flatmates really early. I consulted the following websites and wrote a post in which I introduced myself and described what I was looking for. Thankfully a German girl responded immediately which made the – finding a room project – a lot easier.
- In order to sign a housing contract you definitely need a Codice fiscale – which is your personal tax code card ! I went to the “Agenzia delle entrate” which is 30 minutes outside of Bologna. You can take the bus Nr. 14 or 55 to get there. (https://www.tper.it/bo-14 – here you can find all the bus lines and its stops) In case you made it there I would advise you to go to one of the Information points which you can’t miss as soon as you’ve entered the building. “Bongiorno, avrei bisogno di un codice fiscale per favore” – should be sufficient. The man who approached me was really really nice, helped me fill out various forms, and on the whole, it didn’t take me longer than 45min to get the code (waiting time included).There will be a similar code on your university badge – Remember: This is NOT your personal “codice fiscale”.
http://www.agenziaentrate.gov.it/wps/file/Nsilib/Nsi/Strumenti/Modelli/Modelli+in+altre+lingue/Vordrucke/AA4+8+tedesco/Vordrucke+AA48+Editierbare/AA4_8_Modello_TED.pdf – This is the form you can already print out and bring along with you (they have forms there as well – this particular one is the bilingual version in German and Italian but they are available in other languages too).
- After your arrival in Bologna you should probably do your Erasmus check-in at the International Office in Via Filippo Re, which is really close to Via Zamboni – one of the streets you will be familiar with pretty soon 😉
http://www.unibo.it/en/international/contacts-for-international-students – here you can find all the contacts of the University of Bologna which might be helpful for you, such as The International Desk in Via Filippo Re 4. In order to complete your Check-in you should bring along a small photo of you – one that is similar to the one in your passport- for your university badge. Moreover, you’ll get an invitation for one of the Welcome Sessions which usually takes place a few days after your Check-In. There you will be finally equipped with your University badge which you have to bring along to all of your exams!
3) At your home university you already filled out your “Learning Agreement before the mobility” and chose courses you want to take during this semester. It is pretty likely that you will want to change or add a few of them. I changed nearly all of my courses and as soon as I decided on what I wanted to do I added them to my Study Plan on Almaesami. Your courses must be part of you Study Plan in order to have access to exam dates.
If there is anybody who has questions regarding the last points à just write me a message.
Let’s move on to the more entertaining parts. Food plays a major role in Bologna – I guess, I spent most of my Erasmus scholarship on the various specialities that are offered in this great city. I truly had the impression that people living here are appreciating food a great deal and employ loads of time to taste different types of wine, meat, cheese, dolci etc.
A concept that I learned to love in Bologna is “aperitivo”. There are several places that offer aperitivo – you just order a drink and have access to a buffet. Italian people very often take aperitivo before having dinner at home and don’t eat that much. Poor Erasmus students, however, can save lots of money by “investing into this concept”. My favourite places were the following :
Naerea – I usually payed between 5-6 Euros, depending on whether I took an alcoholic or a non-alcoholic cocktail. I really liked the non-alcoholic fruit cocktails because they were served with lots of fresh fruit and are very refreshing especially in summer. The buffet is not that big but everything that’s offered is of good quality, pizza is good!
Lab16 – This place is in Via Zamboni and it’s usually really crowded which is why it’s probably a good idea to make a reservation beforehand. I usually payed 7 euros – Aperol Spritz + buffet which is huuuuuuuuuuge and offers soooo many different antipasti as well as pizza, pasta ec. It’s lovely to sit outside on the small piazza when it’s warm.
Cucchiaio d’oro – I will be honest with you: In case you’re planning to get a little wasted – Cucchiao d’oro is the perfect pre-drinking spot. You have to pay 12 euros in order to have access to a rather small buffet and drink “UNLIMITED” until 11 p.m, I can hiiiighly recommend the homemade Sangria and making a reservation. Cucchiaio d’oro is located in Via Petroni where you can find numerous places where you can grab a drink or a shot at reasonable prices.
C’entro – I only went there once to have an aperitivo but I was rather impressed with the quality of the drinks as well as the food. Altogether – 1 drink + buffet = 8 euros. The Pina Colada and the Mochito were really nice.
Prosciutteria – My flatmate Alessandra recommended this place to me and I simply loved it. It felt as if I was having dinner at an Austrian “Heurigen” given that they serve huge plates with various kinds of cheese, prosciutto, sausages, fruits, vegetables conserved in oil ec. Don’t take your vegan or vegetarian friends there, huge pieces of prosciutto are hanging from the ceiling. (I did not particularly like that they only use plastic plates and cutlery, hopefully this will change in the future).
Are you planning to gain a little weight ? – Bologna – great choice. In my hometown, I’m usually having to face the problem of not finding a place to eat after 2 a.m. – here in Bologna it was the other way round. Too many places were still open and I was just trying to not fall for all the different delicious types of Streetfood.
Piadina and Tigelle
Piadina is a typical Bolognese flatbread filled with e.g. prosciutto, parmigiano, grilled vegetables, radicchio, ec. – Tigelle is more or less the same but smaller and in a round version. I really loved the ones from Tigelleria Tigellino and Piadineria la Piadeina (both are in a small side road of Via Rizzoli) because they offer a great range of vegetarian, “normal” and even sweet ones. I’m a big fan of the sweet one filled with ricotta, chocolate flakes and honey.
The place where you can buy really really cheap and goooood pizza is Pizza Casa – Trust me – absolutely everybody in Bologna knows this place. When it was still cold we usually went out to party in the city centre and before going home we often grabbed a pizza, sat down on the floor in Piazza Verdi and enjoyed the Dolce Vita. Margherita – 2,50 € – do I even have to say more ?
When it comes to good pizza and Italian food in general I can also recommend Trattoria Belle Arti – the pizza is enormous and delicious or Osteria dell’Orsa.
Given that it’s secret – I want to make sure it remains one so I am not telling you where it is 😉 It is a bakery that is open from 1:30 a.m to 6 a.m in the morning which makes it the perfect place to end a night out with friends. You always have that one friend who rather fancies a cornetto con Nutella instead of pizza.
Given that my Erasmus Bestie is Greek, I was quickly introduced to places that offer great Greek food. I parituclarly loved a place that sells amazing Greek pita with Gyros, Tsaziki, chips, onions, salad, tomatoes and sauce for 5 euros in the beginning of Via Pratello – you can’t miss it.
As you probably know, Italians do not really give a fuck when it comes to breakfast. Usually a few cookies and a strong cappuccino or espresso are sufficient to start the day. As an Austrian, I really do care about breakfast and I don’t feel very much alive without getting something between my teeth. I was so happy when one of my friends discovered this place: Pappare ! It is really close to Via Zamboni and the 2 Torri, offers great coffee (When it’s hot I highly recommend the caffè estivo), Müsli/Granola and …… Cinnamon rolls ❤
DRINKS AND GOING OUT
In Bologna the people usually order a drink inside a bar and then gather outside on the street to talk, laugh and be quite loud in general. In Piazza Verdi there are guys walking around whispering “fumoo fumoo?” – or “birra, birra?” or even “Bici bici ?”. 1. Rule – Don’t buy your bike in Piazza Verdi – it will be stolen for sure!. Stick to “birra birra” and you will be provided with cold beer that costs around 2 euros.
Moreover, you can have a drink nearly everywhere in Via Petroni or Via Pratello. In Via Pratello you are more likely to actually encounter Italian people – or maybe even people from Bologna, which is considered the coolest thing ever among Erasmus students – “Look here is my friend Irene – she’s from Bologna!” – “You mean Bologna Bologna ?” – “Jep” – “Nooooo fucking way ?!”
On Wednesdays we also liked to participate in so called “Tandem nights” that took place in either the Empire pub or “The Cluricane” – both in Via Zamboni. As an Erasmus student you get a discount of 1 euro on almost all drinks. There we met soooo many people from all around the world while sipping a nice Guiness.
In winter, we often went to Hobby One which is located in the city centre, in summer, however, we changed to the Chalet in the Giardini Margherita. It’s a huge disco in the middle of the park with a particularly nice outside-area. Before going there, we often joined the so called “Botellon” organised by the Erasmus association “Erasmusland”. Just bring your own drinks and join the “gettogether” before moving on to the dancefloor and killing yourself because you have to listen to Despacito again for the 1000 000th time.
I also recommend simply buying a few bottels of wine and sitting down in Piazza Santo Stefano. It’s absolutely stunning because of the lights and the church and the relaxed atmosphere there. + don’t give in on strange guys who want to sell lighters that have the shape of a toilet to you. (After 5 months of avoiding these people I really felt the need to possess one of those toilet lighters .. just because )
Another really small place I discovered waaay to late was “Ruggine” in Vicolo Alemagna which is also just around the corner from the Due Torri.
ICE – CREAM
How could I forget about Ice cream – Italian gelato – which just cannot be compared to any other ice cream offered in your home country. My favourite places to grab a “cono” or a “coppa” were the following
Cremeria Funivia – Try “Alice“ – you won’t be disappointed. Before putting the absolutely delicious ice cream in the <cono> they add melted warm chocolate – do I have to say more ?
Cremeria Santo Stefano – Pistaccio for sure. – Crema di pistaccio in general, it’s gorgeouuuuuus.
Apart from constantly being at university and studying (HAHA) we also had some time to explore the surroundings of Bologna – such as the pretty pretty … countryside. I can recommend going to 300 scalini – the perfect place to have a nice picnic and watch the sun go down on a clear day. Moreover, you could also walk up to San Luca – it takes around 40 minutes, depending on your overall condition. Don’t drink alcohol beforehand and don’t go on a hot summer day, you will die – but still, the view from the top is amazing and definitely makes up for the torture.
As I have already discussed on the Blog – I loooooooove great views and Bologna is the perfect place for that. First of all, you have to go up Torre degli Asinelli. Even though local students believe that going up the tower before having graduated from university brings bad luck, I would take the risk because the view is absolutely stunning. 498 steps + really narrow stairs– you will definitely burn some calories – which is obligatory concerning the great food in Bologna. (ticket – 3 euros)
My fellow Austrian friend Gernot also introduced me to a really nice place where we had an amazing view of Bologna. Next to the church of San Michele (breathtaking view from there – I nearly started to cry when I went there for the first time), there’s a hospital that has a huge panoramic terrace. We actually wanted to watch the sunset, but due to clouds and trees that covered the sun, we just ended up eating chocolate croissants and enjoying the changing colours of the sky and the tranquillity surrounding us. (Attenzione – it closes at 9 p.m)
In addition, you can also take the stairs, or the elevator up to the panoramic terrace next to the Archiginnasio. It is located at the backside of the duomo and you have to pay 3 euros. Finally, my flatmates also told me about the campanile (bell tower) of San Pietro which is located in Via dell’Indipendenza.
On weekends, my Erasmus buddies and me very often took trips to different cities. I recommend going by train as taking the regional ones is rather cheap. I can also recommend Flixbus, which is also a cheap way to travel (Bologna-Rome – I payed 15 euros!!) https://www.flixbus.at . Another way of traveling that I tried twice is BlaBlaCar. On their homepage, you simply enter where you would like to go and see if anybody is going there by car and offers seats. I went to Innsbruck once and paid 20 euros and had a great travel companion! + I also went to Rome by BlaBlaCar and paid 17 euros.
In general, Bologna has the perfect location to go to various cities in the north. When it was still cold, we went to Ferrara and Modena (20m by train). Moreover, you can also go to Parma, Firenze, Venezia, Verona ec. In summer I would recommend going to Riccione or Ravenna to enjoy a nice day at the beach! During the Easter holidays my girl squad and me went to San Benedetto al Tronto which is a bit further in the South but really easy to reach by train. Moreover, I visited my friend Jessica in Rome and we had the craziest Italian dining experience ever. We went to a restaurant called Dino e Tony as recommended by my Roman buddies Lorenzo and Giacomo (Grazie di nuovo. Mortacci vostra!). From the outside it looks like a pretty small and calm place and you can’t even see inside. As soon as we walked in, we were stripped of the capacity to make decisions regarding what we would like to eat. The waiter came over to our table and asked “Antipasti??” and we answered “Do you have a menu ?”. The guests sitting next to us just slowly shook their heads and couldn’t hold back their laughter. From then on the waiters just put various dishes on the table, provided us with wine and ignored our desperate attempts to protest. – therefore, we just let it happen and we had the best food night ever! Everything we tasted was absolutely delicious and homemade – please try the “granita al caffè con la panna”. Afterwards I felt pretty close to having to give birth to a foodbaby and my stomach hurt because we were laughing the whole evening!
In Bologna, there are 2 big Erasmus organisations. I became a member of Erasmusland which offered so many cool trips. I took the trip to Napoli and to Cinque Terre. Both of them were really well organised and really cheap! Take a look at their homepage – they also host many events in Bologna such as movie nights and sometimes you get a discount on entrance fees or drinks in discos when you are a member. http://www.erasmusland.org/section/index.php?section_id=Bologna
In case you want to do sports and don’t have enough money to afford going to a “palestra” = fitness studio, I recommend simply going for a run and exploring the outdoors at the same time. I particularly liked running up to San Michele and even in the city centre in the late evening. – The Giardini Margherita are the perfect place for doing sports.
Where to study?
At some point during your Erasmus semester you will have to do some work for university. I’m not a big fan of studying at home as I’m really good at distracting myself. Therefore, I was determined to find the perfect library in Bologna.
Sala Borsa – It’s the eldest libraby in Bologna and it is located in Piazza Maggiore – you just can’t miss it. Tourists are allowed in there, which is why I recommend going to the first floor to study to escape the crowds. There are places to charge your laptop, a café and the inside of the building is just beautiful. (It can be really busy at times, so make sure to be amongst the first who throw their towels on the limited number of chairs before rushing back to the café).
Other libraries I really liked were
The library oft the Dipartimento di musica e spettacolo in Via Barberia as well as the one in Sede S. Cristina – Portineria – piazzetta G. Morandi, 2.
Of course you can find many popular supermarkets such as Carrefour, Pam, Meta or Coop in Bologna but I preferred buying my fruits and vegetables in a shop in the end of Strada Maggiore. Coming from the Due Torri it is located on your right, in front of the post office, next to a cash machine. Shopping there is waaaay cheaper than in the supermarkets. After some time the owner of the shop even accepted that I always brought my own bags and did not mean to offend him by not using his plastic bags.
http://www.bolognawelcome.com/home/vivi/shopping/tipologia-di-acquisto/mercati/mercato-ritrovato/ – “Slow Food” Market in Bologna
Meta offers a 10% discount for university students – you just have to show your badge! Carrefour also has a “Spesa Online” = Online Shopping option – which is really helpful when it comes to ordering water to your home – you won’t have to carry all those bottles up to your apartment.
Given that I am really interested in sustainably produced fashion, I loved Bologna for its Vintage stores and Fair Fashion shops.
My favourites were the following:
- Vintage Boutique by Silvia Fini – Via Massimo D’Azeglio. The owner knows the story of her pieces of clothing and I found I really nice original top from the 50s.
- There is another sweet Vintage store next to the Gelateria Majori in Via Guglielmo Oberdan.
- Gruccialterna – They sell handmade clothes that are all sewed in Bologna. They also offer bracelets, rings, socks or backpacks.
I really really hope this is of any help for some of you. I loved my time in Bologna and I truly believe that you will do too ❤