May Events in Bologna, Italy…and Beyond

May is probably one of the most lovely months here in Bologna. The weather is warm, walks to San Luca and picnics in Giardini Margherita are more enjoyable, and Piazza Maggiore and the tiny streets of the historic center are teeming with locals and tourists alike sharing spritz, Pignoletto (local white-wine) and taglieri of cured meats and cheeses. The latter also happen to be two of my favorite pastimes in Bologna. And yes, I regard eating and drinking as pastimes.

A blossoming Giardini Margherita

If you are in or around Bologna this month and are wondering what to do, below is a round-up of events and happenings in the city and beyond!

 Food & Wine Events & Tastings:

May 2 – 30 | Mercato della Terra di Bologna

Every Saturday from 9am until 2pm in Piazzetta Pasolini (courtyard of Cinema Lumière) you can taste fresh fish, meat dishes prepared on the spot, organic wine, and local artisanal beer.

Location: Porto districit (Bologna) | Slow Food 328 1396004

May 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 | “Vignaioli in Enoteca” 

The winemaker is in! A great way to get to know local winemakers and varieties, and to taste local specialties. Open and free to the public. From 2:30pm to 6pm.

Location: Dozza | Regional wine bar of Emilia Romagna 0542 367700

May 8-10 | Budrio Bier Fest

5th annual beer festival with live music and local food, such as pork shank, wurstel, grilled and roasted meat, and sweets.

Location: Budrio (Province of Bologna)

May 2 -3 | “Il vino è in festa”: Celebrating Wine

Winemakers and local wineries line the main square and streets of this medieval hamlet. Visitors purchase a wine glass at the entrance for tastings.

Location: Dozza | Dozza Foundation 0542 678240

The trend of natural, organic, and biodynamic wines definitely does not seem to going away anytime soon. Markets, festivals, and fairs specific to this category seem to be ever present on the Italian wine scene. That’s why it comes as no surprise that in Bologna there are actually two of these fairs on exactly the same weekend. The more you understand Italian wine, the more you begin to understand just how very varied and divided this world is, and just hoberberew zealous these particular winemakers are.

May 9 & 10 | Gusto Nudo

Gusto Nudo is probably the more extreme of the two shows, as it defines their members as producing wine with the same spirit of heretics and filibusters. Gusto Nudo also has a program for events happening outside the actual fair as some wineries have teamed up with local wine bars and restaurants to present their wines to the general public.

Location: Il Cassero, Via Don Giovanni Minzoni, 18 (in the city center) | For more info Gusto Nudo

fiviMay 10 | Fiera dei Vignaioli Indipendenti

This fair is sponsored by ONAV, The National Organization of Wine Tasters, and offers a more comprehensive list of producers. The winemakers present here are part of the Association of Independent Winemakers, committed to cultivating their own grapes in the most responsible and sustainable ways and being present in every part of the wine-making process, thus producing authentic, quality wines without unnecessary additives.

Location: Relais Bellaria, Via libro del paradiso 1 San Lazzaro (Just outside the city enter) | For more info Vignaioli Indipendenti

* Different wineries and winemakers will be present at each event so take a look at the lists included on the individual websites.

May 9 & 16 | Food Immersion

Two Saturdays of immersion and sensorial education in “art, science and food” for children and families sponsored by Scuola delle Idee.

Location: Bologna center | Piazza Re Enzo 051 19936110

May 15 – 17 & May 22 – 24 | Sagra del Tortellone e Carne Grigliata

Food market celebrating the tortellone and grilled meat. Open everyday night from Friday to Sunday, and Sunday lunch.

Location: Padulle (Sala Bolognese) – Casa Largaiolli, Via Bagno

May 24 | Cantine Aperte

This event is happening across Italy. Wineries open their doors to the public for a sneek peak into their wine making process and a tour of their cellars. For more information on which wineries are participating in Emilia Romagna check-out

Location: Bologna area Zola Predosa, Casalecchio di Reno, Monte San Pietro, Valsamoggia & all over Italy


May 30 -31 | Festa dei sapori curiosi

3rd annual event dedicated to lesser known foods. This year the theme is the tagliatella, a pillar of Bolognese cuisine and a fresh hand-made pasta presented with various sauces. (My personal favorite is tagliatella al ragu!)

Location: Casalecchio di Reno (Bologna) | For more info Sapori Curiosi

Art & Culture:

For all you art-lovers and museum-goers don’t forget that all civic and municipal museums, parks, and archeological sites are free the first Sunday of the month. For Bologna this includes, Pinacoteca Nazionale.

And just in case you were wondering what other exhbits were on for 2015 in Italy, check out this great list from Swide.

Until May 17, 2015 | Da Cimabue a Morandi, Felsina Pittrice (Works from Cimabue to Morandi) – I feel as though Bologna tends to be frequently overshadowed by the artistic giant and its just-over-the-mountains neighbor, Florence. This exhibit, however, brings “The Fat, The Red, The Learned” (Bologna’s other name) to the artistic forefront. Displaying art work spanning over seven centuries and featuring over 180 works from both private and public collections, this exhibit is a tribute to the most important moments in Bologna’s art history. For more information, visit Bologna’s museum website. Location: Bologna | Palazzo Fava, Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Via Manzoni 2

May 5- 10 | Future Film Festival “Eat the Future”

“Eat the Future” is the theme of the 17th edition of the Future Film Festival, celebrating animation and new technologies in cinema. Given the theme of the Milan Expo, Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life, this year’s festival will also explore the theme of food through science-fiction and horror cult-movies.

Location: Cinema Lumière of Cineteca di Bologna | For more info

May 22 – 24 | Diverdeinverde – Open Gardens of Bologna

Discover the city and countryside’s hidden greenery as Bologna opens its private gardens to the public. 10 euro gets you a pass to all the gardens. For more info on where to get a pass and which gardens are open –

Location: Bologna

May 16 – 17 | Strabologna

Bologna gets fit with two days of health and wellness education in Piazza Maggiore.

Location: Bologna | For more info Strabologna

May 7 – 10 | Festa della Scienza Medica

Bologna is the birthplace of the first modern School of Medicine and so its only fitting that it plays host to a festival filled with conferences, meetings, and debates to analyze the myriad of issues related to biomedical sciences. Four Nobel Prize winners will be leading and participating in discussions.

Location: Bologna | For more info, click here

*These events will most likely be entirely in Italian.

May 22 – June 7 | Festival del Turismo Responsabile

How we travel is becoming just as important is why and where. The major cities of Emilia Romagna (and Trentino) host two weeks of events, bringing attention to the various issues surrounding tourism, and to promote a more sustainable and responsible way to discover Italy and Emilia Romagna. Events in Bologna include workshops, cultural walking tours, bike tours, and food tours and cooking classes.

Location: Bologna | For more info IT.A.CA


Beyond Bologna, In Emilia Romagna:

May 9 – September 20 | Piacere Modena: I Giardini di Gusto e delle Arte

Inspired by Italy’s top Michelin starred chef, Massimo Bottura, the city of Modena plays host to a five month festival celebrating the area’s gastronomy and its DOP and IGP products such as balsamic vinegar, Parmigiano Reggiano, and Lambrusco. It’s Modena in all its food glory.

Location: In and around Modena | For more info #giardinidelgusto

Until July 19 | La Rosa de Foc: Picasso and Gaudí’s Barcelona

Palazzo dei Diamanti in Ferrara, located just about 50km north of Bologna and easily reachable by train, hosts this exhibit which tells the story of the fertile yet turbulent time at the turn of 20th century Barcelona, and of the colourful, hot-tempered group of artists that animated them. The inventions of Lluís Domènech and especially Gaudí, the visionary innovator of architecture and interior design, alternate with masterpieces by some of the most important figures in Catalan painting and sculpture.

Location: Ferrara | Palazzo dei Diamanti (for more info)

Happy May!!

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