Last year I spent a half a year living in Bologna, Italy as part of my Erasmus year. A place where pasta, pizza and all things gluten is the speciality cuisine. At first, I was surviving on McDonald's grilled chicken Caesar salad and bowls of tuna but I soon realised my diet didn't need to be this grim!! I found it very difficult to find any recommendations online so hopefully this will help coeliacs planning to visit Bologna or going there on an Erasmus like I did.
Le Serre Dei Giardini Margherita (Via Castiglione, 134):
Unfortunately I only discovered this place on one of my last days in Bologna. It's such a little hidden gem in the Giardini Margherita, and had a range of gluten-free dishes like falafal on the menu!
Pappare (Via De' Giudei, 2):
I found this spot just beside the Due Torre, a landmark in Bologna. They had little gluten free brownies and cakes available at the till so I could join in with my friends while they ate their pastries. Also, they serve the very rare cappuciones, which are cappucino's in a big mug, rather than the minuscule cup you'll receive anywhere else.
Caffé Zamboni (Via Zamboni, 6):
Another cafe walking distance from the Due Torre, this spot has plenty of gluten free snacks, including croissants and pizza slices. Although I've never tried it myself, the food they had to offer looked and smelt amazing.
Zoo ( Str. Maggiore, 50/a):
This was definitely one of my favourite spots in Bologna. It's located on Strada Maggiore, a 5-10 minute walk from the due torre. This café has such a relaxed atmosphere that you could stay there for hours and has a gluten free option on its brunch menu.
Il Veliero (Via Milazzo, 11/A):
Unfortunately, I only managed to have two pizzas during my time in Bologna, both of which I ate in this restaurant. The restaurant is located near the train station, and is open for dinner from 18.30-01.00, so is the perfect spot to refuel if you arrive into Bologna by train late at night. The gluten free pizza's were great value, with a Margherita costing only 4-5 euros. However, the staff did not speak great English, so knowing the phrase 'senza glutine', Italian for gluten-free, would come in handy.
Rosa Rose Bistrot (Via Clavature, 18/B):
I got the gluten-free tortelloni here, and I can't recommend it enough. They also offer a wide variety of other gluten-free dishes including little packs of gluten free cookies for desert. It's located on Via Clavature, a lovely little street right in the heart of Bologna.
La Capriata (Strada Maggiore 19, Corte Isolani, 1/e):
This hidden gem can also be accessed by Santo Stefano and served amazing gluten-free tagliatelle al ragú. It also provided gluten-free bread with the meal. It's also one of the few restaurants that is open all throughout the day, so you can even go for a pasta lunch.
Via Degli Orefici:
This street, located just off Piazza Maggiore is one of the best spots to eat in Bologna. It's lined with various restaurants with outdoor seating and a lovely atmosphere. There are also both vegetarian and gluten-free options down this street.
Osteria del Podestá (Via degli Orefici, 21):
This was one of my favourite restaurants down this street, with friendly staff and great gluten-free options. I got the lasagna which came with gluten-free bread biscuits too.
America Graffiti Diner (Piazza Malpighi, 1):
If you want a break from the cultural cuisine and are just looking for some easy, fast food, then this diner at the bottom of Via Ugo Bassi is a nice spot. They can provide a gluten-free menu containing hamburgers, hot-dogs, burritos and much more!