Friday, 30 July 2010

Where to be seen in Bologna - Zanarini

Michele Doria - Mr Zanarini

Michele Doria seems awestruck to find himself the manager of Zanarini. Ask anybody in Bologna which is the city’s premier meeting place and cafe and they are most likely to say Zanarini. After a lifetime in the business, Michele now runs one of Bologna’s most important and long-standing institutions. Since 1928, Bolognese have come here to see and be seen so maintaining the prestige and standing of Zanarini is no small matter.

All day long the square in front of the cafe and the bar inside are busy with (usually) welldressed and turned out locals. The day begins with breakfast, a big Sunday morning tradition in Bologna, then moves through veloce lunch, afternoon tea and then the cafe gears up for the aperitivo. But no dinner because the cafe doesn’t have a licence for hot food.

Italians everywhere enjoy a drink and a snack before dinner, maybe as a break during the early evening passeggiata. But the Bolognese are particularly keen on the practice. Even during the depths of the winter, when a biting wind sweeps in from the Plain of the Po, people can be seen huddled around the doors of bars all over the city, a calice of prosecco in one hand and a cigarette in the other. Aperitivo time is the high point of the day at Zanarini. The free buffet that is your automatic right with a drink is that much more lavish than anywhere else and the service that much more courteous.

Four of us paid €8 each for a share of a bottle of prosecco and more snacks than were wise just before dinner. Michele says that a lot of people skip dinner altogether and just snack away at Zanarini.

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