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Zanarini Pasticceria Bologna

February 13, 2011

Here are three things I love about Italy:

  1. Sundays.
  2. Sunny Days.
  3. Establishments that are cafe/bar/coffeeshop/bakery.

Given the above information, there was no way that I couldn’t love Zanarini Pasticceria (Piazza Galvani 1, Bologna.)

We visited on a beautiful sunny Sunday, our second day in Bologna, for a late, relaxed breakfast, which we took standing shoulder-to-shoulder at the bar with Bolognese families showing off with equal pride their children and their dogs.  As a serious, focused barista poured champagne, spritz, and espresso in front of us, we enjoyed croissants, cakes, and cappuccini.

Piazza Galvani, view from Zanarini


My friends ate the croissants.  I had to sample one of the fabulous-looking cakes.  It was a nearly impossible decision but I finally selected a crostata di mascarpone e mandorle (almonds.)  It was creamy, not too sweet, with a dry, crumbly, crust, like most Italian cakes.

torta di mascarpone e noci


Let me clarify, though–the quality of the food was not the reason I loved Zanarini.  It was the scene.

  1. It was Sunday, a day that Italians believe God created purely for pleasurable rest and recovery involving food, coffee, mid-day alcohol, long walks in the city or the country with your family and your dogs, encountering your neighbors for chit-chat, gossip, and general aggiornamenti (updates), and soccer.
  2. It was sunny, the first sunny morning I had experienced in Italy since arriving.  The Italian sun is legendary for a reason, and you have to feel it and see it to completely understand (if that’s not an option, try listening to O’ Sole Mio.)
  3. Almost every bar has outstanding coffee, good food, and a relaxed vibe, but Zanarini had a great selection of pastries, a big, comfortable area for eating at the bar or at tables, plus an upstairs sitting area, and a fun, happy, family vibe.

For other perspectives on Zanarini, check out World Foodie Guide and Greedy Diva.

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