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Tortellini, never by accident!

The stuffed fresh pasta, emblem of Bologna

Legend has it that an Emilian innkeeper accommodated in his inn a beautiful woman. He couldn’t resist to the temptation to spy her from the keyhole of her room while she was getting undressed in the evening. He was fascinated by the beauty of her… belly button. It inspired him the shape of a new kind of filled pasta: the “tortellino”!

The tortellino is the symbol and the emblem of Bologna and of all the Emilia. In the dialect of Bologna tortellino it’s pronounced turtlein but don’t try to make joke of it or to repeat it in dialect: people won’t like it and you will never be convincing. Until a few years ago when the mother in law met for the first time her daughter in law, she used to look at her fingers. Thin fingers meant that the girl was able to close the tortellini as small as possible and so she was well received in the family!

The filling of tortellini is made with mortadella, pork loin, ham, parmesan and eggs, the difficult part is to close them. Here are the instruction that Martino Ragusa gave us:

“(…) The right hand, it’s supposed to be turn with the fingertips towards you and the left hand in the opposite way with the back of the hand towards you. Close the two angles with a rotative movement of the hand, that at this point will come naturally. Close the tortellino on the index finger of the left hand putting a little pressure with the right index finger on the left index finger.”

Good luck! Better to go to the restaurant, but pay attention: not all of them are good!

Cover pic courtesy of Flickr User Matt Cottam

Visit Bologna: helpful hints


Bologna has an international and transcontinental airport: Marconi BLQ. A shuttle bus called Aerobus connects easily the airport to the city centre and to the Central Station (rides every 15 minutes, it takes 30 minutes and costs 6€).

Bologna is just in the middle of the Italian system of high speed train lines, so that you can reach Florence in 30 minutes, Milan in 1 hour and Rome in 2 hours by train (check tickets and fares on the two main companies Trenitalia and Italo).  The Central Railway Station is in the city centre, 15 minutes walking from the main square.


The best way to visit Bologna is on foot! The single ticket costs 1,2 € (1,5 if you buy it on the bus) and it last 75 minutes. You can choose different types of ticket – daily etc. – for more information visit Tper website. There is also the option of bike sharing (provided by mobike), that’s 0,30 cent every 30 minutes ride. Find more tips about cycling services in town at the Dynamo – aka Velostazione. Car sharing is provided by two companies: Enjoy – for regular cars and Corrente – for electric cars.

What to do

Bologna is the capital city of Emilia Romagna, Northern Italy. It is really famous for its food (tortellini, mortadella, ragù alla bolognese, tagliatelle, lasagne, anyone?). Here you can find advices for some places where you can eat local food. Don’t miss a tour at FICO, the biggest Italian Food theme park! For more information check on FICO website.

Bologna is the city of arches (i.e. portici), there are 38km of them just in the centre of the city! Here you can find the University of Bologna that is the oldest University in the occidental world. The main monuments in the city centre are the Two Towers, the St Petronio’s church, the Neptune’s fountain and – on the hills – St Lucas sanctuary. Italia Slow Tour users have a special discount on City Red Bus & San Luca Express toursDiscover more about this amazing city.

Special tips: if you consider to take some tours nearby, we recommend the fortress Rocchetta Mattei and the Dozza village with its amazing street art.

Where to sleep

The best place to sleep in Bologna is the city centre or the areas near nearby, to visit all the city easily. In Bologna frequently take place some events and fairs, check the calendar just to be sure to book in advance since the city gets crowded!

Syusy Blady

Accidental tourist. Her main passions while traveling: history, archaeology, spirituality, mysteries.

Patrizio Roversi

Accidental tourist. His main passions while traveling: anthropology, economy, lifestyle, food and taste

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