Bologna: an ever growing city
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Here are the best places in Bologna to take your clients for a formal lunch, a trendy aperitivo or a dinner to intrigue, suggested by Fabio Nalucci.
A business breakfast - Zanarini
Zanarini has been the breakfast bar for as long as I can remember, an iconic place with a refined clientele of professionals and an attached pastry shop of the highest quality that makes it irresistible to me. Not everyone knows about the privée room on the second floor, private and cozy, which allows for a business breakfast without the hustle and bustle of Italian "a cappuccino and croissant at the counter" bars. If you have to talk business, it is essential to have privacy.
An hour alone in a nice place - Portico di San Luca
I rarely relax while waiting for something; instead, I try to maximize the time to add activity to the agenda: a run through the portico of San Luca, but also a walk if you are not in complete physical shape, allows you to appreciate the red roofs of Bologna from the well-known shrine that dominates the city from above. A place for inspiration and reflection on the challenges I will face in the rest of the day.
A formal lunch with a client - Il Caminetto d'Oro
Il Caminetto d'Oro is one of the city's historic venues, just a few minutes from the high-speed train station and Piazza Maggiore. The atmosphere is formal but relaxed and unintimidating, ensuring the possibility of developing a better relationship with the client, thanks to the revisited typical Bolognese dishes that entice one to have a glass of wine, not usual in my business lunches but once in a while, it doesn't hurt.
A relaxed lunch - L'Osteria la traviata
I have been lucky enough to see several times the reaction of colleagues and partners, Italian and not, to the "sdaura" (lady) who, after accompanying them to the table and waiting for the order, prepared some directly on the table some tortellini with fresh pasta and filling almost forcing "the foreigner" to taste it, still raw. Osteria la traviata is unique and makes you understand the sense of Bolognese hospitality based on traditional dishes.
A trendy aperitivo - Room with a View
Piazza delle Sette Chiese is a magical place, a stone's throw from the Two Towers. Although it was born in the Middle Ages with mystical purposes, it is a fashionable and suggestive meeting place. When my schedule allows, I like to sit in one of the most excellent aperitif spots - Camera con Vista manages to make you feel young even when you are no longer young, mixing ages of various kinds and making everyone feel at ease.
A great place for informal gatherings - Checkmate at the Gardens
Just imagine taking a walk around the center of Bologna, stepping through the hallway of a historic building, and entering another dimension: an indoor garden that is not a garden but a convent garden of medieval origin, which today supplies zero-mile raw material to the restaurant "Scaccomatto agli orti." A place to relax, chat and have a boisterous laugh with business friends without the modesty of a formal restaurant.
A dinner to intrigue - Pappagallo Restaurant
Bologna was a kind of medieval New York: towers everywhere of which the very famous Asinelli and Garisenda remain today. Admiring them, along with customers arriving from abroad, is Pappagallo Restaurant, which recently revived the splendor by bringing chef Marcello Leoni on board. Eating Bolognese but with some innovation, because as he says, "The tortellino, to say, I haven't even touched it ... however, I want to modify the menu without distorting it. Because now it's not like we're going in a buggy."
A gourmet dinner - Marconi Restaurant
We take the car and drive near another secular shrine: the mausoleum of Guglielmo Marconi. A short walk away is the starred Marconi Restaurant for those who want to try creative cuisine. For me, traditionally, more bread and salami than gourmet, the bread they made is unmatched. But the rest is also great, at least by customers with delicate palates whom I have repeatedly brought in. And the wine list is long and enjoyable.
The latest trendy venue - Borgo Mameli
Borgo Mameli is a new space from the former brewery of a 19th-century barracks, restored and returned to the city to make music, culture, and cuisine. Perfect, I would say, because in Bologna, "trendy" does not necessarily mean "fancy," but it means interpreting the artistic and cultural vocation that has always blended with playful moments to be experienced in the tavern atmosphere.
The place to be and be seen - Palazzo di Varignana
Let's retake the car and drive a few miles from the center to return close to my childhood places, in the first hills of Bologna, where the Palace of Varignana has regained its ancient splendor. Last January, I celebrated my 45th birthday in the magnificent heated indoor pool, finding summer in the cold winter. In July, I attended the first shareholders' meeting of one of my latest private equity investments in a company of excellence in the motor valley. A place to visit.
Fabio Nalucci, an entrepreneur and investor passionate about innovation, founded Gellify in 2017, an innovation platform created to scale new ideas in B2b. The idea of "gellifying" startups from an embryonic, "gaseous" or "liquid" state to a "solid" state comes from his successful experiences as the founder of Spss Italia and i4C analytics, from which he learned how to do business in the B2b software business. He was previously the sales global lead of the Accenture insight platform, scaling i4C analytics globally after the 2014 exit with Accenture.