When the “afa” strikes hard, locals tend to take their car or hop on a scooter and drive up to “i colli”, where temperatures are always lower and the leafy green offers a fresh solution for those seeking refuge from the truly suffocating heath of the most intense summer days. But since the hills aren’t always an option, here are ten easy-to-reach spots where you can go when temperatures and humidity make you wonder why exactly did you decide to visit (or stay in) Bologna during the summer. Feel free to tell me where you like to go, in central Bologna, during the warmest summer nights.
1 Gli Orti di Via Orfeo
Here’s an unexpected urban gem. It is only open a few days of the week but it’s worth a mention for its intimate charm. Hidden behind an impersonal door in Via della Braina (next to Rialto cinema and Fram café), this secret garden surrounded by old style modest buildings hosts figue trees, an almond tree, an old but still functioning well and a selection of sophisticated events. On tuesdays, thursdays and saturdays it becomes the outdoor venue of popular restaurant Scaccomatto, while on Wednesdays it hosts “La luna e gli orti”, an intriguing series of cultural and musical events run by cultural circle ABC.
2 Zu.art Giardino delle arti
Here’s a welcome new entry, a little hidden garden in the semi-unknown street Vicolo Malgrado (near Strada Maggiore and Via Fondazza), which is actually the backyard of Fondazione Zucchelli offices. Some gentle artsy touches and a nostalgic taste in décor create an overall romantic atmosphere. The program’s emphasis on young artists, readings and workshops – but more mainstream events like football matches and even a bingo gave an eclectic/democratic twist to the list of events – matches the intimate and relaxing ambience.
3 A special table at Le Serre dei Giardini
I am not just sending you over to Le serre. Once you’re there, ignore the busiest area where the bars and stage are and go straight to the little community garden in the back. This is a lovely place in itself (dedicated post soon to come), where anyone can contribute helping growing the organic veggies and also taking some home. But in the evening, just take your drink and walk into it, go straight to the “prism” installation by artist Andreco in the middle of the vegetables’ s flowerbeds and sit in the table inside, where the green provides you with the so much needed oxygen and the wind carries the scent of thyme and lavender. Perfection: you are welcome.
4 Dynamo’s darkest cavern!
Its humid tunnels host a lot of parties and events across the whole year, and I clearly remember freezing not only over the winter but also in the spring. So now it’s time to shine for Dynamo‘s microclimate, too, and not only for its cool mix of urban flair and bike-friendly attitude. According to a proud Facebook post, the local “velo-station” has a natural 25 degrees. Practically paradise. Here‘s the summer program.
(photo: Dynamo’s Facebook)
5 Piazza Maggiore’s open-air cinema
As simple as that: people (especially that iconic local tribe going by the name “umarells“) don’t just sit there to enjoy a movie on the massive screen. Piazza Maggiore and its free cinema en plein air is often quite a decent spot for sweated/exhausted passers-by to cool down, courtesy of the open space and the wind that usually caresses the “crescentone”. But go sit at least an hour before the screening starts, or you won’t find a free seat.
(photo Lorenzo Burlando for Cineteca di Bologna)