Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Tips for Bolonia: the city. Consejos para Bolonia: la ciudad.

dicas da feira

You can find an the original post in Spanish, by Ana Garralón, here


Every year, during a few days, thousands of professionals in the children’s book world travel to the Bologna Children's Book Fair. The trip is a double pleasure: the fair can enrich you with fun and contentment, and the enchanting city is another source of happiness. In Bolonia, everything is at hand; the city center is amazing and the food is wonderful even when, being on a tight schedule, you can only afford a simple panini. Every single year, we carefully keep on precious professional cards the name of that Trattoria where we enjoyed a delicious dish while we discussed a job, or we keep that beautiful museum poscard to hang in our studio.

We wanted to share with other colleagues some of those treasured places. We have asked our friends about two spots they never miss when visiting this “grossa” city. Editors, illustrators, and agents have generously shared those secrets. Take your notebook so you don’t forget anything!


EATING (first things first!)

comidaAltero, Via dell´Independenza 33. “For breakfast, lunch or dinner. Freshly made and cheap pizzas”. (Recommentation: Paz Rodero, illustrator)

Al Sangiovese, Via Paglietta 12. “Small restaurant, out of the busy downtown. Booking required. Excellent food and service”. (Recommendation: Dolores Prades)

Antica Osteria Romagnola, Via Rialto 13. “As any good restaurant, during fair days booking is required. Welcoming and enchanting, it is ususally a meeting point for agents and editors around the world”. (Recommendation: Dolores Prades, and Tahís Caramico).

Birreria Mercanzia, Piazza dela Mercanzia 2/A. "A healthy way to get fresh air after countless hours locked in stands with books is to enjoy delicious aperitivi before dinner, and tasting a spritz once you are used to it. It is one of our favorite pubs, placed in one of the most beautiful architectural coins." (Recommendation: Angel Domingo & Sandra López)

Da Nello al Montegrappa, Montegrappa 2. "It’s the most typical restaurant in Bolongna. Noisy and friendly, the experienced waiters give excellent recommendations and help in many languages". (Recommended: Patricia Aldana, Dolores Prades y Thaís Caramico)

Osteria alle Due Porte, Via Pratello 62. "Publia specialities. Typical restaurant visited by Italian gourmet eaters. Good service and luscious cheeses. Everything is exquisite". (Recommended: Nati Rodríguez)

Osteria del Montesino, Via Pratello 74/b. "After some days in Bologna you crave something different than ravioli and tortellini; this is the right place to taste typical Sardinian dishes, simple but made with first quality products. The atmosphere is informal and sometimes you have to share a table with strangers who eventually will be chatting with you". (Recommended: Isabelle Torrubia)

Osteria de´Poeti, Via De´Poeti 1/B. "One of the biggest restaurants in Bologna for celebrations and events. It closes very late at night. Very good quality for the price". (Recommended: Dolores Prades).

Scacco Matto, Via Broccaindosso 63. "If you have some money in your pocket, this is a place to have dinner. Excellent customer service". (Recommended: Emilio Urberuaga)

Tamburini Ântica Salsamenteria Bolognesi, Via Caprarie 1. "Just call it Tamburini, and enjoy the best mortadela sandwich in the city". (Recommended: Dolores Prades y Thaís Caramico)

Trattoria Belfiore, Via Marsala 11. "A great place to have dinner after the Fair. His owner’s name is Luca and you need a reservation. Delicious cooking and reasonable price. You will probably meet there lots of Spanish illustrators and editors. A classic". (Recommended: Paz Rodero y Javier Zabala)

Trattoria Tony, Via Augusto Righi 1b. "I adore this trattoria. I loved the “bollito”, I know it is not a light dish, but it is so delicious, and has such a flavorful sauce…"  (Recommended: Arianna Squiloni)

Trattoria Serghei, Via Piella 12. "Just a few tables, simple, but it offers wonderful food at a reasonable price". (Recommended: Dolores Prades)


ART AND CULTURE (Food for the mind!)

Cattedrale di San Pietro, Via Indipendenza 7. "It's on the way [to the fair] and a must-see. Really beautiful".  (Recommended by Paz Rodero)

Il Compianto in Santa María della Vite Church. Via delle Clavature 10. "You can't go to Bologna and not visit this. This sculpture by Niccolò dell´Arca of seven life-size figures in terracotta is one of the best and most beautiful renderings of human tragedy and pain".  (Recommended by Irene Savino and Dolores Prades)

La Piazza Santo Stefano e le Sette Chiesse, "The trapezoidal plaza, the palaces that surround it, and the Basílica of Santo Stefano, which is absolutely magical, with an astonishing crypt and stunning cloisters. Everything around it is impressive, the atmosphere, even the bars and restaurants…" (Recommended by Nati Rodríguez and Javier Zabala)

Librería Feltrinelli, Piazza di Porta Ravegnana 1. "Worth a visit for the building and the gourmet coffee". (Recommended by Dolores Prades)

Librería Giannino Stoppani, Piazza Grande. "Nothing more pleasant than buying books in this bookshop after a day at the Fair. Many authors signing, an excellent selection of books". (Recommended by Anna Castagnoli, Dolores Prades, Thais Caramico)

Museo Morandi, Via Fondazza 36. "Cara Ana, two places to go: undoubtedly and inexcusably, this museum, which houses a large collection of the work of this world class artist from Bologna. A unique opportunity to enjoy at your leisure (there aren't usually many people in there) the work of a major painter whose apparent simplicity gets under our skin and leaves us small gifts of the kind called up by Proust's madeleine". (Recommended by Emilio Urberuaga, Dolores Prades, Thais Caramico)

MAMbo, Museo d´Arte Moderna de Bologna, Via don Minzoni 14. "I never miss a visit here. A bit far from the noisy centre. Not only is the space itself lovely, but the art book shop always has something surprising". (Recommended by Ana Garralón)

Museo Aldrovandi, Via Zamboni 33. "This year I want to go to a place I found out about in To Have and to Hold by Philip Blom: the Palazzo Poggia, in the Museo de Storia Naturale (Natural History Museum) of the Aldrovani Museum. They say Ulisse Aldrovani killed a fierce dragon that turned up in the city around 1572. He didn't just preserve the trophy, he wrote seven volumes of a Dracology in Latin. Hundreds of the curious visited the Museum to see a dragon for the first time. It might reappear". (Recommended by Ana Garralón)

Settemostre. Several places, see the link. "An exhibition organized by ZOO design Store of seven illustrators in different places. My favourites: Marina Marcolin, Arianna Vairo and Satoe Tone". (Recommended by Anna Castagnoli)

The Anatomical Theatre of the Archiginnasio, Piazza Galvani 1. "The 17th century amphitheatre is panelled in fir wood, with a coffer ceiling. It is a place of great beauty and not at all gloomy, although there is a marble topped table at the centre of the room which reminds us of its original function. I discovered it a few years ago when Marion Bataille staged a dramatized presentation of one of her pop-up books there". (Recommended by Isabelle Torrubia)

Torre degli asinelli, Piazza di Porta Ravegnana. "Another tip is simply to lose yourself in the streets and alleys of the centre and, if you are up for it, go up the 498 steps of the narrow staircase of these towers. On the one hand, it's thrilling to go up so high on stairs over a thousand years old, and on the other, to enjoy the view of the city from such a privileged perspective",(Recommended by Irene Savino)



cidade rosaTienda Hoffmann, Via Altabella 23. "I keep meaning to get to this shop. I never can, but if someone does and tells me about it, wonderful!" (Recommended by Arianna Squiloni and Dolores Prades )

Al Regno Della Forma, Via Oberdan 45. "A traditional cheese factory with huge Parmigiano Reggiano Parmesan cheeses on their wooden racks, where we always manage to find a moment to replenish our stock for the year. The Dairy is perfumed by the cheese and the aroma of traditional quality business". (Recommended by Angel Domingo & Sandra López)

Associazione culturale Hamelin, see link "The Fair days give us an opportunity to meet new friends. The best party, always crowded, is the one this association organizes on their premises. Look at the programme before you get to the Fair!". (Recommended by Anna Castagnoli and Dolores Prades)

Drogheria Gilberto (1905), Via Drapperie 5/Via Pescheria 18. "A delicatessen that has limoncello, homemade grappa and other home brewed liqueurs. Their wine cellar is fabulous… match them with balsamic oils, ragú (a tomato and beef sauce), truffles…". (Recommended by Angel Domingo & Sandra López)

Canale delle Moline. Via Piella. "On my first visit, Miguel Tanco showed me one night the tiny window on Via Piella that overlooks this canal. I find this sort of passage fascinating, as if a door were opened revealing Alice's Wonderland (although in recent years it is sadly damaged)". (Recommended by Angel Domingo & Sandra López)

Inuit, Via Guiseppe Petroni 19. "A mix of shop, bookshop, cultural centre and independent illustration gallery. Well worth taking a look at their programme and discovering the comics and fanzines they print there". (Recommended by Thais Caramico)

Santa Catalina, Via Tagliapietre, 19. " Saint Catherine of Bologna (1413-1463), whose incorrupt body sits on display in a chapel. Fascinating, as well as being the patron saint of artists. In the chapel of the Poor Clares' Convent Corpus Domini". (Recommended by Patricia Aldana)


  • Did you enjoy our tips?
  • Do you have a secret visit you can share? Let us know!


People who gave us a hand in alphabetic order:

Patricia Aldana, editor

Thaís Caramico, journalist –blog editor in Garatujas Fantasticas-

Ana Castagnoli, illustrator –blog editor in Le Figure dei Libri-

Angel Domingo & Sandra López, illustrator’s agents in Pencil Ilustradores

Ana Garralón, messing around in Children’s literature

Daniel Kondo, illustrator (and generous illustrator here!)

Dolores Prades, editor and literary advisor in Revista Emilia

Paz Rodero, illustrator

Nati Rodríguez, iconi coordinator

Irene Savino, art director in Ediciones Ekaré

Arianna Squilloni, editor in A Buen Paso

Isabelle Torrubia, literary agent

Emilio Urberuaga, illustrator

Javier Zabala, illustrator