Top 11 Things To Buy In Bologna, Italy - Updated 2024

| 4 min read

When it comes to vacationing in Italy, many travelers will visit its most popular cities, such as Rome, Milan, and Florence. While these cities should be visited during your trip to Italy, you are recommended to go farther to the northern part of Italy to spend a couple of days in Bologna, a city that is both full of history and dynamic at the same time. Spend half a day strolling around the Piazza Maggiore, a popular square that is loaded with a number of classic buildings, along with shops and cafes. Also, stop by the Basilica di San Petronio, a Gothic church famous for its 22 chapels.

Don’t worry about where to stay as you’ll be spoiled with lots of choices. There are several vacation rentals for a homey getaway and a myriad of boutique hotels for an indulgent stay. While you are exploring as many attractions from your chosen hideaway, be sure to go hunting for souvenirs before going back to your hometown. Don’t know what to get? Read on to learn more about the top things to buy in Bologna, Italy.

1. Mortadella

Mortadella Bologna IGP
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Stefano Brush Parisi used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Tourists should not miss out on relishing mortadella when in Bologna, not just for its delicious taste but also to embrace the region’s rich culinary history. This iconic Italian sausage has deep roots dating back to ancient Rome, with a name derived from “mortarium,” the mortar used to pound the meat into a paste.

Bologna has been the epicenter of mortadella production for centuries. This delicacy is traditionally crafted from high-quality pork, finely ground, and blended with a medley of spices, including pepper, myrtle berries, and pistachios. The mixture is then slow-cooked to achieve its distinctive tender texture and savory flavor. Authentic Bologna mortadella is characterized by its unique aroma, balanced taste, and the presence of small, visible cubes of pork fat.

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2. Balsamic vinegar (from USD 165.0)

Visitors to Bologna must buy locally made balsamic vinegar, a culinary treasure that embodies the city’s rich gastronomic tradition. This exceptional vinegar is a labor of love, crafted through a meticulous and time-honored process. It starts with the pressing of grapes, often Trebbiano and Lambrusco varieties, which are then simmered. This product is then aged in wooden barrels for a minimum of 12 years, allowing it to develop its complex flavor profile. The result is a harmonious blend of sweet and tangy notes, perfect for enhancing a wide range of dishes.

Whether used to drizzle over fresh Parmesan cheese, elevate salads, or enhance the flavor of desserts, Bologna’s balsamic vinegar is a true taste of authentic Italian flavor that visitors should not miss.

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Balsamic Vinegar Experience with Private Transfer

Duration: 3 hours

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3. Garganelli comb

Since Bologna, and the whole of Italy, is known for its pasta dishes, you may want to challenge yourself by preparing your own Italian dishes once you get home. To roll Italian dough perfectly, you need what is called a Garganelli comb. This comb, made of wood, is particularly useful if you want to whip up traditional egg pasta.

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4. Pasta

Conchiglie Pasta Texture
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Of course, why buy a Garganelli comb when you can buy the pasta already made? In Italy, there are numerous pasta types and you may be tempted to buy all the shapes if you are truly fond of the food. But this is nearly impossible and buying only a few types is alright, too. The most famous pasta types to try include tortellini, macaroni, penne, spaghetti, vermicelli and fusilli.

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5. Cheese

Bologna da mangiare formaggi e salumi in via drapperie
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user magalibobois used under CC BY 2.0

Italy is a food paradise, you may already know this fact. Other than pasta, it is also well-known for its cheese. There is a wide variety of Italian cheeses that are readily available for tourists in most of the food markets in Bologna. Among these cheeses, the most popular and loved by locals include parmesan, pecorino, grana Padano, and asiago. You do not have to buy too many, just grab some of your favorites.

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6. Leather tortellini

Portachiavi a forma di Tortellino! Il simbolo di Bologna per eccellenza formato tascabile per accontentare proprio...

Posted by Scintille on Sunday, 20 January 2019

One of the most unique souvenirs from Bologna that you must not miss buying is leather tortellini. Resembling the shape of the well-known pasta, leather tortellini is made by the real hands of artists with real leather. Since this is a unique souvenir, it is highly recommended to buy a lot of them and hang them wherever you like. It makes a perfect souvenir for all of your loved ones, too.

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7. Truffle products

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Arpingstone used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

When you are having your adventure in Bologna, it would be impossibly difficult not to be tempted by a wide selection of dishes available. You may be wondering why every dish that you sample has an exquisite taste. One of the key factors is the use of truffles. Northern Italian dishes, like the ones in Bologna, are known for using truffles, not just the black ones but also the white ones.

In Italy alone, you can expect to find at least eight varieties of truffle. Of course, with all the varieties comes a variety of truffle products, too. From truffle-infused olive oil and truffle pasta to truffle sea salt and truffle bread – all these amazing truffle products can be found across Bologna.

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8. FIAT Cremino chocolate

Who doesn’t love chocolate? Good news for you, Bologna is also a great place for you to buy chocolate, so you can satisfy your sweet tooth later on. If the usual type of chocolate does not appeal to you anymore, you should go for Cremino chocolate.

Originating in Northern Italy, Cremino chocolate is made with three layers. The two outer layers are made from gianduja chocolate, while the layer in the middle is made from different flavors of paste, most commonly hazelnut, lemon and coffee. One of the highly popular versions of Cremino chocolate in this region is a collaboration with the car company FIAT, which is why you need to look for FIAT Cremino chocolates.

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9. Pellegrino Artusi cookbook

Food lovers are going to love traveling in Bologna because there are many options for souvenirs related to food. A Pellegrino Artusi cookbook is another souvenir for a foodie like you. Pellegrino Artusi was a renowned Italian pilgrim, writer and businessman. His most famous cookbooks are “Science in the Kitchen”, “The Art of Eating Well” and “Italian Cookbook”.

What makes his cookbooks unique is that they contain more than 790 recipes, but also ideas and proposals. From appetizers and desserts to soups and side dishes, he covers them all.

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10. Italian perfume

The one, D&G
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Yanndelapenne used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Let’s not talk about food for a moment because, while Italy is famous for its delectable cuisine, the country is also known for its perfume. Many world-class brands come from Italy. The top perfume brands include Giorgio Armani, Prada, Gucci, Versace, and Dolce & Gabbana.

Italian perfumes are excellent gifts for those who are dearest to you. They can be quite costly, but they make the perfect souvenir for someone you love. They are also great as last-minute gift ideas as they can be easily bought from several shops in Bologna’s airport.

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11. Bolognese tarots

Tarocco Bolognese
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Countakeshi used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Last but not least, Bolognese tarots complete the list of the top things to buy in Bologna, Italy. You may not be aware that one of the traditions in Bologna, as well as across Italy, is playing card games. The local people, especially older men, are fond of playing card games while drinking a glass of wine.

The most popular card game in Bologna is a tarot game. That is why you need to buy yourself a pack of Bolognese tarots. Even though you may not understand how to play the game, what is most important is the unique design of each tarot card that will remind you of your trip in Bologna.

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Do not leave Bologna without bringing home some souvenirs

As you can see, now that you have come to the end of the article, Bologna is full of not only wonderful attractions but also interesting things to buy. Which souvenirs are your favorite? Buy them and bring them home with you. Don’t just buy for yourself – also remember your loved ones! Be sure to use this list to have the best shopping experience in Bologna.

Frequently asked questions about the top things to buy in Bologna, Italy

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
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Tenissa is a content writer, translator and editor. She enjoys being a globetrotter and has traveled to many countries around the world. So far, her favourite destination is Switzerland. She looks...Read more

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