Cafe Marly at the Louvre in Paris

Cafe Marly at the Louvre in Paris
Relax with a glass of wine at Cafe Marly overlooking the pyramid entrance to the Louvre.

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Friday, May 7, 2010

A day in Bologna, the gastronomic capital of Italy.

Bologna is the gastronomic capital of Italy. Often overlooked, this university town is a must for food lovers. Bologna is easily reached from Milan by high-speed train (only 52 minutes). You're dropped off at the train station and make your way to the heart of the town (Piazza Maggiore, home of the Neptune Fountain). On our day in Bologna, we made four favorite "foodie" stops. The train station and Piazza Maggiore are connected by the Via Indipendenza.

Just off of Via Indipendenza at Via Marsala is Enoteca Italiana. This wine and food shop is packed with wines from throughout Italy and Italian food specialties. A great place to stock up on gifts to take home, for a picnic, or some great snacks to eat in your hotel.

Here are three great places to dine near Piazza Maggiore:

Our absolute favorite is Drogheria della Rosa at 10 Via Cartoleria (Tel. 051/222529,, closed Sun.). This friendly trattoria has an extensive wine cellar and is located in a former pharmacy. We had our best Italian lunch ever. Two highly recommended dishes are the lasagne bolognese (pictured here - too bad Karl ate most of it before I could snap a photo!) and the tortelli in a butter and sage sauce with zucchini flowers. Fantastic!

Next door at 12 Via Cartoleria (Tel. 051/226315,, closed Sun) is Godot Wine Bar. This modern and stylish wine bar serves pasta dishes and and snacks. It also has a large wine list. Both Drogheria and Godot have outdoor seating in front of the restaurants.

For more elegant dining, try Da Cesari at 8 Via de' Carbonesi (south of Piazza Maggiore). This romantic restaurant serves delicious Bolognese dishes and homemade wine. Tel. 051/237710, closed Sun. and Sat. in July.

Note that all of these establishments are closed for part of August. You won't regret a trip to this lovely town. For more on dining in Italy, check out Eating & Drinking in Italy: Italian Menu Translator and Restaurant Guide.