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Bologna--lunch near train station?

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Hello Hounds,

Planning a trip to Italy in May and this board has been indispensable. One question we'd appreciate help with: we won't be staying in Bologna this trip, but it turns out we need to catch a flight from there on a Saturday. If we want, we could arrive early via train and stop for lunch & a walk, rather than going straight from the train station to the airport.

We don't know anything about the area around the train station--are there good food prospects nearby and walkable? Hopefully we could check bags at the station, but otherwise we'd be lugging them like Ugly Americans. Is this a stupid & logistically painful idea, or might this be a pleasant stopover? Thanks for your help.

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  1. There is not much right around the train station, but there is plenty within a ten minute walk. From the train station, I would follow the Viale (the big, main road that the station is on), and turn right on Via dell'Independenza. On Via Righi (a left off of Independenza) and nearby, there are plenty of great options. I would particularly recommend Donatello (wonderful, classic Bolognese food with an elegant setting and service, Via Righi 8), Mariposa (small, charming trattoria, very affordable. Their pumpkin tortelloni with butter and sage are terrific, as are their gnocchi. Via Bertiera 12), Il Portico (really good pizza, as well as Bolognese specialties, casual. Via Righi 11), Osteria dell'Orsa (very popular spot for inexpensive Bolognese dishes. Loud and lively, lots of students, fun setting. Wonderful taglietelle al ragu. Via Mentana 1).

    It is hard to go wrong in Bologna - very few "tourist traps" to avoid. If you just wander around the area that I mentioned, chances are you will end up with a great meal.

    4 Replies
    1. re: fbf242

      On second thought, I would slightly alter my response and suggest that you don't walk down Via dell'Independenza. I would still recommend the same area and same restaurants, but Independenza is one of Bologna's more bustling streets, and on the weekends it is particularly hectic and overwhelming, and not a good place to be lugging suitcases. I'd look at a map and find a route with smaller streets.

      1. re: fbf242

        I second the recommendation for Il Portico followed by gelato at Stefino. I think walking down dell'Independenza is fine so long as you are able to deposit your luggage at station. In that regard, I've never experienced any problems leaving suitcases- just give yourself ample time to retrieve them before you depart.

        1. re: Nice1

          Thank you, these are really helpful suggestions.

          1. re: tarnation

            Ristorante Diana via Indipendenza 24. it is an historical restaurant of Bologna, ten minute by walking from train station.

    2. If you find yourself strapped for time, I remember my friend and I being pleasantly surprised by how good the sandwiches were in the unassuming sandwich bar just across the street from the main station entrance. If you have more time, by all means go get some cappellacci di zucca, lasagne or some other regional cuisine, but in a pinch you may find that suggestion satisfying. I also don't think you'll have a problem checking your bag in the middle of the day. By the way, if you are going to Rome, I would recommend Piccolo Abruzzo and if you are going to Milano, Cantina della Vetra. Buon viaggio!