Bologna, Italy: Where to Eat, Sleep, Ponder, and Wander

Designing the PHD Fall 2014 Collection required, and not unfortunately, a trip to Bologna, Italy, for Lineapelle. Lineapelle is primarily an event for those in the fashion industry sourcing leather, and materials for shoe construction and sales. There are also many intriguing finds for handbag designers, which unavailable anywhere else in the world! My discoveries in Bologna, however, were not all handbag related. I also found some of the city’s most wonderful places to eat, sleep, ponder, and wander.

Eat:  Zenzero

Vegetarian friendly restaurants are not in abundance in Italy. I was, however, able to find a great little spot - Zenzero. The folks there spoke wonderful English and took the time to translate every bit of the menu for me; they were also very considerate of my dietary issues.

Although difficult to choose just one dish, I ultimately opted for the onion tart and pasta with vegetables and olive oil. Typically I don’t eat dessert because sugar is difficult for me, but they had a divine sugar free chocolate mousse!

Shop (Boots): Fiorentini and Baker

My favorite boots in the world are designed and made in Bolgona by Fiorentini and Baker. I initially found them at Barney’s and 6 years later, I continue to wear them!  Of course I had to drop by their Bologna headquarters to see this season’s latest and greatest and to pick up a brand new pair. (Other store locations include New York, Los Angeles and London.)

Shop (Clothing): Sisley

Sisley is a higher quality version of Zara with similarly reasonable prices – everything is 50 Euros (about $67 USD) or less – with loads of well made, timeless pieces.

Word to the wise:  If planning a shopping outing in Bologna or in many places throughout Italy, know that store hours are typically 10 am to 1:30 pm and 4:30 pm to 7:30 pm.

Ponder and Wander #1:  Bologna’s Arcades

Bologna’s arcades, not at all like those in the United States, consist of 40 km of beautiful and diverse Gothic-style covered walkways. Found throughout the city adjacent to the trafficked roads, Bologna’s arcades provide protection from sun, rain and the street, while providing pedestrians access to shops, restaurants, and views of ancient architectural marvels.

Ponder and Wander #2: Take a sneak peak

When opened, a little known cupboard door in a wall on a Bologna street near my hotel reveals an unexpected view of the canal below

Day trip:  Don’t miss Ravenna’s historical mosaics

Approximately one hour and 20 minutes via train from Bologna, in the Emilia-Romagna region, is a town called Ravenna.  This gorgeous landscape is also home to 1,500 year-old churches, which feature a collection of Byzantine mosaics considered the best in the world.

Sleep:  Hotel Paradise

Hotel Paradise is a modest hotel with absolutely lovely people and service in the center of town. As an added surprise and bonus, I was given an enormous apartment with a kitchen, a big bathroom and gorgeous views of the streets. Rates are very affordable, and the people alone are worth the visit.


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