Bologna is the largest city in Italy’s Emilia Romagna region, and it’s arguably the capital of Italian cuisine. Bologna makes an excellent base to explore the region and discover the finest foods Italy has to offer. If you love food, take a look at this Bologna five day food itinerary and start exploring the highlights of the Emilia Romagna region and things to do in Bologna.
Bologna Five Day Food Itinerary
Situated in Northern Italy, Emilia Romagna is not only home to the terracotta-hued Bologna (not just the gastronomic capital, but the actual capital too) but is also comprised of Modena, Parma and Reggio Emilia.
All with equally enticing artisanal food offerings, we explore these cities (from which many of their food specialities are named) in a little further detail, as well as all the must-eat food in Bologna, over five days.
Better loosen the belt buckle as the best food in Bologna, and beyond, awaits!
Day 1: Bologna
Today is your day to become acquainted with Bologna, a great city to explore on foot. Bologna is famous for its distinctive covered walkways or porticos.
The Bologna cafes, food halls and markets are plentiful, with the finest local and regional produce and offering some of the best food in Bologna, Italy.
Food aside, there are many other things to do in Bologna for a day too. Those including some physical activity are probably a good idea, as you may need to walk off some of that wholesome Italian food!
Take a stroll around the central square, Piazza Maggiore, lined with little eateries and important historic buildings. And don’t forget to take a peek at Bologna’s iconic Fountain of Neptune before you leave.
Day 2: Modena
Situated between Bologna and Parma, this city is most well-known for the manufacture of famous Italian sports cars and is home to the traditional balsamic vinegar of Modena.
Visiting a traditional acetaia (A dedicated place in Italy where the vinegar is made) is a must for any food lover. This traditional vinegar from Modena is an artisanal product that takes a minimum of 12 years to produce.
An acetaia tour includes learning about the vinegar-making process, along with a tasting and the opportunity to purchase products. Click here for more information about this traditional product and arranging a visit to a local acetaia.
Day 3: Parma
Aside from its remarkable historic buildings and beautiful gardens, Parma is also famed for its culinary delights, most notably Prosciutto di Parma.
Prosciutto di Parma is a delicate cured meat product from the Emilia Romagna region, and has strict guidelines that govern the type of meat and its production methods. You won’t want to miss your chance to see the production process and taste some freshly made prosciutto.
This salted and air-dried ham is sliced so finely that it verges on transparent. Paired with some freshly sliced melon or a little mozzarella di bufala, you have a perfectly delicious Italian appetiser.
You’ll find more information about this artisanal product and how to organize a tour in our post about prosciutto di Parma.
Day 4: Reggio Emilia
The charming old town of Reggio Emilia is brimming with art, culture, history and of course, good food. One of the world’s great cheeses, Parmigiano-Reggiano is from Emilia Romagna.
Not to be confused with the ‘imitation’, Parmesan cheese, the recipe for Parmigiano-Reggiano has been exactly the same for the last 900 years. Here you can transport yourself back in time and visit a local dairy to watch the cheese being made, just as it was all those years ago.
Visit the maturation room to inhale the unbelievable aroma. A tasting and the opportunity to purchase this cheese completes the experience. We provide additional information about Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and where to visit a local dairy.
Day 5: Bologna
Bologna offers the perfect opportunity to take a cooking class. After spending the day in cooking school, celebrate your last night in Bologna. Begin your evening in Italian style with an aperitivo at one of the local bars. For a fantastic last dinner showcasing fresh, local, and handmade Italian cuisine, we recommend the family-owned da Cesari Restaurant.
A day back in Bologna offers the perfect opportunity to take a cooking class. Enjoy a hands-on experience preparing some of the signature Italian dishes that you have come to enjoy. What to do in Bologna after spending the day in cooking school? Celebrate your last night indulging in even more delicious local food and drink!
Begin your evening in true Italian style with an aperitivo at any one of the many local bars, watching an assortment of people go by and soaking up the vibrant nightlife.
For a fantastic last dinner, showcasing fresh, local and handmade Italian cuisine, we recommend moving on to the family-owned da Cesari Restaurant. In keeping with its early origins as an Osteria (selling wine at the beginning of the 20th century), the restaurant places a focus on traditional, seasonal food and good wine.
How to Plan Your Five Day Bologna Itinerary for Food Lovers
Getting around Italy is easy, since the nation has excellent road infrastructure. If considering hiring a car, keep in mind, the costs can start to add up with parking fees and tolls. Italy also has a comprehensive public transportation network, including an efficient train and bus service.
To help you plan your transit and work out the details of your Bologna itinerary, rely on Omio (formerly GoEuro). The Omio Trip Planner features full trip planning functionality for Italy, including local and inter-city transit information.Just enter your starting city and destination, and Omio returns all options, times, and costs for the route. The app also includes ridesharing, buses, local shuttle options, and trains.