It’s spring, no matter what colour our «Zone » is. And even though these are not simple times, there is still plenty of beauty around town. Especially now that new colours are blossoming here and there. So here’s a list of where to go (often for free and always with full permission) to get yourself a new plant. Or even better, just to be surrounded by a beautiful, gentle vibe.
The Tuesday Market on Piazza San Francesco
This very beloved traditional landmark of the Bologna’s flowery scene has been queitly and steadily keeping on being open during all these past difficult months. Every Tuesday morning and up until past 1 PM, people are peacefully gathering around the handful of flower stalls facing the facade of beautiful San Francesco Church. And since the piazza has been fenced due to too many « assemblages » some months ago, the market gives you a unique opportunity to just lunge by the stone seats and benches, linger in the sun with a coffee to go and even meet some friends.
I make a point of going as often as I can, and the last time I did I bought some very tall, bright, inexpensive poppy flowers that are now dominating my window sills. Between the people carrying their bikes in between primroses and narcissuses, the first timid sunbaths and the relaxed atmosphere, on a sunny morning it can give you a little Columbia Road vibe. Or am I traveling too much with my mind ?
The little boutique flower shops on Piazza Aldrovandi
I’m a big fan of Piazza Aldrovandi, this piazza that is not an actual piazza (tecnichally being a seliciata), that has been witnessing an ongoing slow restyling with little market becoming wineries or selling street food in the evenings. Well, when evenings were still a thing, but we’ll be back at night soon enough, I’m confident. Anyway, Piazza Aldrovandi is still as cute and lovely as ever and is a pleasure to walk by during the day too, also thanks to its two pretty flower shops.
The first is Verde Oliva: tiny, stylish and with a soft, non-artificial vibe about it, it has settled on the Piazza less than two years ago and I’ve been a fan from the start. Beautiful owner Xenia always has some good advice and her taste in flower arrangement, plant selection and dry flowers compositions is impeccable.
Then there’s newby Il fiore all’occhiello. The actual flower kiosk has been there for ages, but it only recently underwent renovation and was bought by the owners of bar and restaurant Sartoria Gastronimica, who had already embellished this bit of the historical center with some very needed new plants and some rich flower decorations.
The tulip park
Here’s a brand new entry in the flower scene : an actual tulip field, Dutch style. It’s a bit of a strange idea if you ask me, but hey, as long as it brings more flowers and it also brigs life to a not particularly popular area of the city, fine for me. As a matter of fact, this «Tulipark», the local version of a similar initiative that has already been happening in Rome for the past two years, is located on Via dell’Arcoveggio, quite far from the city center. And it makes sense, considering that we are talking of an actual field, with about six thousand tulips in over a hundred varieties, including the precious black tulip. It works like this: you can buy your entry ticket online (it’s free for kids and 8 euros for everyone else) and you’re allowed to spend as much time as you want on the field, as well as picking up to three tulips for you to keep.
The little urban plant nursery Senape
Just round the corner from Via del Pratello, there’s Senape, a sweet « urban nursery » where organic plants happily coexist with books. This artsy, relaxed place is in fact a shared space, where you have garden seeds and flowers, organic edible plants, rustic vases and little artistic gifts ideas on one side, and Igor, a bookshop devoted to lgbtqx texts, on the other. In normal times, the premises usually host art exhibitions and cultural events, but you know, Covid.
Anyway, this space is harmonious and nice to spend some time in, and it is also a great excuse to walk through Via del Pratello in the daytime, which is quite an interesting experience, with all the pubs and bars closed and silent, very few shops and only a handful of locals walking by this ghost-like street: something I obviously like. Now that I mention it, I always wanted to write a place about going to the right places on the wrong hours. And sooner or later I will.