Bologna, the home of incredible culinary delights and some of Italy’s most spectacular palazzos doesn’t always make it onto an intrepid traveller’s bucket list, but it should.
The capital of Emilia Romagna in the country’s north, it boasts far more than being the birthplace of ragu’ Bolognese and mortadella. It’s also considered Italy’s most livable city, combining Etruscan and Ancient Roman roots with a bustling and vibrant modern art and culture scene and some of Europe’s most prestigious art and music festivals.
So if you’re keen to discover what life is like in a modern Italian city or are just following the scent of tagliatelle con ragu’ alla Bolognese, Bologna is definitely worth a night or two in your travel itinerary.
Planning to take our Gourmet Food Tour of Bologna? We’ve put together a list of the best hotels in the city to help you plan the perfect trip.
Hotel Porta San Mamolo
A 10-minute walk from Bologna’s main square, Hotel Porta San Mamolo is set apart from the hustle and bustle of the city with a lovely garden that’s perfect for unwinding.
A continental breakfast is included and the rooms are furnished with bright Rococo flair, so you’ll feel like you’re a guest of Louis XVI instead of the very friendly hotel staff. Reception is open 24/7 and when you’re not exploring Bologna’s sites, you can relax in front of the fireplace or play a game of tennis.
Address: Vicolo del Falcone, 6/8 tel 1800.8585.1234 www.portasanmamolohotelbologna.com
Double room/per person: Low season: from €70. High season: from €124
Recently refurbished, Hotel Metropolitan has a modern and unique aesthetic. Think Bologna meets Japan. The interiors are minimalist and clean, but the included breakfast is anything but. Snack on fresh fruit, cold cuts, cheese and a handful of different breads and rolls.
In the evening, enjoy an aperitivo at the bar in the tree-filled courtyard with plenty of snacks and some impressive looking cocktails.
Address: Via dell'Orso, 6 tel: 051.229393 www.hotelmetropolitan.com/en
Double room/per person: Low season: from €120. High season: from €250
Al Cappello Rosso
The bedrooms at Al Cappello Rosso have all been decorated in collaboration with local artisans and draw inspiration from old Hollywood, the rolling countryside and… comic books. In the comfy reception, you can get the low down on the hotel’s history, which began in 1379.
There’s also an amazing restaurant onsite where the paper table mats double as the board for an 18th century Bolognese game (dice provided). The fare is features favourites like tagliatelle al ragù and tortellini as well as meatballs and vegetarian dishes, all served with homemade breads, pastas and desserts, as well as local wines and beers. You can expect the same homemade attention-to-detail at breakfast, which is included.
Address: Via de’ Fusari, 9 Tel: 051.261891 www.alcappellorosso.it
Double room/per person: Low season: from €137. High season: from €187
Located in a quiet street in Bologna’s Old Town, this hotel is family owned with an emphasis on the family. The building is turn of the century, but the interiors are modern and simple; the atmosphere relaxed and unfussy.
Hotel Touring is within walking distance of the open-air food market and the street itself is filled with osterias and open-air bars. But the highlight of the hotel is the panoramic fifth floor terrace, where the aperitivos and sunset dinners (available upon request) are so good, you won’t feel the need to go out.
Breakfast is included and served in the wine cellar of the nearby Church of San Procolo. There is a large selection of sweet and savoury dishes.
Address: Via dè Mattuiani, 1 Tel: 051.584305 www.hoteltouring.it/en
Double room/per person: Low season: from €100. High season: from €200
Grand Hotel Majestic già Baglioni
Located right in front of the city’s cathedral, Grand Hotel Majestic has been the preferred accommodation for celebrities, royalty and the odd head of state since 1912.
Inside, you’re greeted by 18th century opulence with Murano glass chandeliers and 15th century fresco by the Bolognese artist Carracci. Services include a personal Art Historian to guide you through Bologna’s heritage buildings and a health and wellness spa.
If you can’t spring for a night, consider visiting the hotel’s Michelin-rated I Carracci restaurant instead, where head chef Claudio Sordi reinvents traditional Bolognese dishes like tortellini in capon broth (€18) and veal liver with onions, buckwheat and cedar (€26).
Via dell'Indipendenza, 8 tel: 051.225445 www.grandhotelmajestic.duetorrihotels.com/en
Double room/per person: High season: from €530. Low season: from €310
If you are looking to stay in the very heart of Bologna, you can’t get much closer than Casa Isolani. This charming B&B is spread across two locations, one is a 13th century palazzo in Via Santo Stefano, and the other in the very chic pedestrian area of Via d’Azeglio, just steps from the Two Towers and Di Mezzo Market.
The style across all rooms is rustic with woven wool rugs, exposed beams and earthenware tiles, but there’s plenty of modern touches too, from TV to Wi-Fi and air conditioning. The highlight at the Santo Stefano location is the original elicoidal staircase, which dates back to the 16th century.
While there is no reception, staff can provide telephone support between 9am and 7pm. At the Santo Stefano location, a buffet breakfast is provided in the breakfast room, while those staying at Via d’Azeglio receive a voucher for breakfast at a nearby café.
Address: Via Santo Stefano, 16 tel: 338 288 1153 www.casaisolani.com
Double room/per person: Low season: from €100. High season: from €150
Hidden on the upper floors of a 19th century palazzo, Albergo Drapperie is right at the heart of Bologna’s amazing Quadrilatero foodie haven. Buzz in at the ground floor and climb the stairs for an authentic experience of living like a local. A local with cash, that is, since the rooms have marble floors and exposed timber-beam ceilings, as well as the odd fresco.
If you haven’t stuffed yourself silly in Bologna’s many foodie spots, breakfast is served daily at extra cost with fresh pastries and cappuccinos.
The reception is open 24-hours and the hotel is pet friendly.
Address: Via Drapperie, 5 tel: 0512 23955 www.albergodrapperie.com
Double room/per person: Low season: from €75. High season: from €106
Need more tips and info on our culinary activities in Bologna? Don’t hesitate to contact us!
A special thanks to the community managers at the local tourism board at Bologna Welcome for helping us craft this list for unique places to stay in Bologna!