Bologna “La Grassa”

July 22, 2009 / Food & Wine
bolognafood1Bologna is a beautiful, old city, not to be missed, not only because of its great sights, but also because of its food. Called la grassa (the bountiful) due to its hospitality in general and its tortellini, prosciutto, cured hams and other delicacies specifically, you can spend part of your day exploring the small streets that are filled with the fantastic variety of foods that give it its nickname.

bolognafood2Not to be missed is the area around Via Caprarie, Via Clavature, and Via Pescherie Vecchie. You will see colorful fruit and vegetable stands, everything perfectly displayed, displays of huge rounds of cheese and hanging proscuitto, fresh fish markets, and for those with a strong stomach, a cavallo shop – horse meat. The variety of tortellini however is what Bologna is truly famous for. They are made each day, in many different shapes and sizes, and filled with all sorts of tasty ingredients.

For lunch or dinner, most restaurants will have some sort of tortellini or pasta special. You can enjoy plump tortellini topped with a creamy Gorgonzola sauce and walnuts – rich in flavor and just heavenly! Or simply prepared with butter and sage. From the first bite, you can tell by the texture of the pasta that it was made that very morning. La Grassa might put some inches on the waistline, but worth every calorie.


by Monica Pileggi

Contract Specialist, Photographer and Traveler. You can view the photographs that documents her travel impressions on

21 Responses to “Bologna “La Grassa””

  1. looks a fabulous town, another one to visit!!

    Lunch looks delightful..plump tortellini is a favourite of ours, My husband like cheesy sauces but i prefer tomatoey ones :-)

  2. Felix Rosario

    Beautifully written and photographed. You are a treasure to travelers. I want a whole hanging prosciutto!

  3. Monica does it right…great photos…brings back mouth watering memories…!

  4. Louisa Hefty

    Great note and wonderful photos! It definitely makes me want to go.

  5. Really enjoyed the article, and what terrific photos! Makes me want to visit Bologna asap!

  6. grace grybko

    Great photos and enticing text!
    Makes me want to pack my bags and fly there now.

  7. stuart tower

    Your convincing descriptions are making me reconsider our upcoming trip to include Bologna. In all of our Italy visits, we’ve somehow skipped a vist to this city. The tortellini pic is more than enough to change that! Thank you.

  8. Patricia

    Bologna, my birthplace and hometown! Greetings from someone who misses you, your foods, your sights, your sounds. I keep praying that some day I’ll be able to return for a visit.

  9. Madeline Margraves

    Going to Bologna last week in September. Your article and pictures make me want to go right now!! More on that region please.

  10. Mmmmmmmm, my mouth is watering! (Thank goodness I live in a city w/FABULOUS Italian food, such as the tortellini you show above.)Monica, I really think you should have a television show about Italian foods. Or maybe you should do an Anthony Bourdain show and take him around Bologna!

  11. Gian Banchero

    During my visits to Bologna I’ve always been amused that though the city might be nick-named “La Grassa” but, as the photo shows, there are very few people who are grasso… overly plump. The first meal I experienced in that beautiful city included the famous Lasagna alla Bolognese with its green pasta, Bolognese sauce, and creamy rich bechamel!!! And yes, the tortellini!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you Monica.

  12. Thanks for the compliments everyone! Gian, I’d like to know where you had the Lasagna alla Bolognese. I had the same dish at Trattoria Marisposa, Via Bertiera, 12, right across from Hotel Paradise and I think I died that night and went to heaven! I had the tortellini with gorgonzola at Il Portico, Via A. Righi, 11. Bologna should definitely be on everyone’s list of “must-see.”

  13. Dick Perry

    Very enticing description. I expect that a lot of people will be adding Bologna to their itinerary. As usual, your photos are great.

    I expect this to be included in Bologna’s tourist brochures.

  14. Carol Kilroy

    Thanks for sending the article……….loved reading about Bologna and the tortellini……….the photos are so colorful!

  15. caryl curry

    Monica — I would so love to be back there wandering around the streets near the Cathedral and university. Les and I enjoyed three days there, partly with a friend who lived there and worked for the Johns Hopkins international program. The best food in Italy, hey say. I had lots of spaghetti bolognese, of course. I don’t now why we can’t duplicate it. I get close when I use veal and some white wine and mushrooms. The tortelini looks like it’s about to jump off the plate into the reader’s mnouth. If only!.

  16. Gian Banchero

    Dear Monica; Oh, I do wish I could remember the name of the restaurant but it was forty years ago during my first visit to Italy. It was the first time I ate really good Italian food other than from my father’s Piemontese kitchen or my mother’s Sicilian presentations (I never believed the food in Italian-American restaurants was really Italian). It was in Bologna where I realized the old adage about living to eat instead of eating to live. Since that long ago visit I’ve cooked Lasagna alla Bolognese many times thanks to Adi Boni’s great cookbook. I also remember that no matter where I ate in Bologna did I have a less than perfect meal, the food at the delis were/are stellar. Thank you for the photos, they brought back many good memories.

  17. Judy Marcon

    I would recommend to anyone visiting Italy to try horse meat. My husband’s family lives in Italy and we have had many a meal with horse meat, such as ribs, hamburger, cutlets, and even carpaccio. Horses are raised for the purpose of providing meat and they are young at the time of slaughter. The meat tastes like a very lean cut of beef. There are special butcher shops,called Macelleria Equina, that specialize in selling this.


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