The street market in Bologna, “il mercato di mezzo”, gets good press since it looks exactly the way an Italian food market is supposed to look: crowded, small streets, stalls overloaded with fruits and vegetables, perfect for taking pictures.

Mercato dell’Erbe

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The (for tourists) lesser-known market in town is called “il Mercato delle Erbe” on via Ugo Bassi. This is where the residents go for their food shopping. It´s a market hall, which means it doesn´t get that hot in summer and since it was completely renovated last year, it has became even more attractive. You find stalls for cheese, meat, fruits and vegetables, exactly like in the other market, only cheaper. After the renovation two ventures were added: the former fish market added a bistro section and the big hall on the right is now filled with aperitivo bars and small restaurants. They named the concept Altro?, which means Anything else? in Italian and the idea is to offer all the different products from the market for tasting.

Saletta degli amici

The place looks like a piazza, the Bolognese people call it saletta degli amici and when you get in, it really gives you the impression of a get-together – the furniture looks like it has been gathered from a flea-market, people of all age groups are eating, drinking and chatting and you have to be very lucky to get a chair. It reminds me of the summer evenings in front of  il Mercato delle Erbe, when they put up tables and chairs and the vendors offer tasty bites from their stalls, the saletta degli amici is just the latest version!