Bologna has no shortage of beautiful markets bursting with delicious food. The Mercato di Mezzo doubles as a food hall, where you can sit at communal tables and snack on nibbles from any of the stalls on the first floor. Via delle Pescherie is full of half-underground little market stalls called buche (holes), as well as fish and meat markets.
Another of Bologna’s food-related gems is Mercato delle Erbe, which was a hop, skip and a jump from my house when I lived there. Mercato delle Erbe combines Italy’s classic covered market with a modern food court. It’s a market that you can enjoy all day long!
Want to know more about Mercato delle Erbe? Andiamo!
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Mercato delle Erbe in Bologna
Website and opening hours
Website – 7am to 12am (note: most of the stalls in the market area close in the early afternoon, but the restaurants are open until midnight)
The original Mercato delle Erbe was held in Piazza Maggiore. It was moved to its current location in 1910. Due to the heavy bombing of Bologna during World War II, the market was forced to close. It reopened in 1949.
Shopping At Mercato delle Erbe
Some of the best fruit and vegetables I’ve had in Italy have come from Mercato delle Erbe in Bologna. One particularly delicious item I gobbled down this spring were the baby asparagus pictured below.
They were absolutely perfect for asparagus risotto.
A few weeks later the cherries came.
If you’re in Bologna and want to do some shopping for local, seasonal produce, don’t miss Mercato delle Erbe.
You can also get meat, cheese, and a bunch of other stuff.
Dining at Mercato delle Erbe
As I mentioned before, Mercato delle Erbe has a food court. There are a few pizza and sandwich places lining the room, and you can just grab something at sit at communal tables, kind of like at Mercato di Mezzo.
You can also eat at the restaurant, which is what I did with a friend who was visiting in May. The restaurant is called Altro? and it’s great.
We booked for three on a Sunday night, and I’m glad we did because the tables seemed to fill up pretty quickly. They’ve left some of the original signs up from the older market stalls, which gives the place a vintage feel.
The menu was a mix of first courses consisting of Bolognese classics like tagliatelle al ragù and tortellini in brodo, as well as some inventive dishes like an appetizer of pork belly with a beer glaze or a main course of sesame-crusted tuna with a strawberry soy reduction.
Jeremy got a hearty plate of tagliatelle al ragù. The amount of sauce seemed to be bigger than it is in a lot of other restaurants, so if you love that ragù, go to Altro?!
I decided to go out on a limb, despite being tempted by the old classics I know and love, and I went for the orecchiette con cime di rapa e acciughe, or orecchiette pasta with broccoli rabe and anchovies.
I was surprised when the server brought me my dish and plopped down a small bowl of chili flakes next to it. I decided to sprinkle some on, and I’m glad I did.
There was the tiniest hint of the anchovy flavor, but mostly what came through was the saltiness from the fish. Coupled with the earthy bitterness of the broccoli rabe and kicked up with the tingle from the chili flakes, it wasn’t like anything I had ever tasted.
I’d definitely suggest adding Mercato delle Erbe in Bologna to your list when visiting the city, especially if you’re a foodie. Bologna has no shortage of delights for us, and I urge you to enjoy every bite!
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