Bologna Inside - Second Edition

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Pauline Mollema portrait photo

Pauline Mollema, Hydrologist
The Hague, The Netherlands


Author Henry James once remarked that the Italian diet appeared to include a healthy dose of “sunshine and leisure and conversation.” In fact, tempo libero and socializing are important elements of the culture here, evident not just in Italians’ outgoing character but also in the community-centered architecture, their leisure activities and even their eating habits. Like all Italian cities, Bologna life centers around its public spaces and in the afternoons and evenings, residents head out into the city to fare una passeggiata. Epic, multi-course meals are eaten in compagnia and can last for hours. Hobbies and sports, even solitary ones like running, are organized into clubs.

Whatever your idea of fun - culture, cuisine, science, art, sports, the outdoors - Bologna’s diverse array of leisure activities offers something for everyone. On the other hand, if it is more relaxing for you to “not do” rather than do something, you won’t be admonished for being lazy, as time for riposo is also valued. Meeting up at a bar for an aperitivo or just hanging out with friends to exchange due chiacchiere is all part of the art of relaxing alla Bolognese.

tempo libero = free time
fare una passeggiata = take a stroll
in compagnia = with company
riposo = rest
un aperitivo = an aperitif/happy hour cocktail
due chiacchiere = a chat, literally two chats