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NEW! FATHER'S DAY PAELLA AND SANGRIA LIVE CLASS
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FATHER'S DAY PAELLA AND SANGRIA LIVE CLASS
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Host: Giovanna

Bologna, Italy

USD
$64-$140 per person

Traditional Bolognese meal with a loving Italian mother

Host offerings
  • Apartment
  • Home cook
  • Pets
  • Vegetarian
  • Alcohol
  • Transportation
  • Cooking class
  • Market visit
  • Food tour

Meet Giovanna

Giovanna is a warm and gentle retired history and philosophy teacher who has lived in Bologna for over 60 years. She lives in an apartment in a large villa with her daughters Francesca and Laura. She learned fish and vegetable recipes from her mother and grandmother, originally from the Marche region and learned traditional Bolognese cooking from her husband’s family. She loves cooking for family, friends and guests and particularly enjoys widening her culinary repertoire with new dishes she learns on her travels.

Giovanna is proud of Bologna's heritage; Bologna’s nicknames include “la città dotta” (the educated city) and “la città grassa” (the fat city) and its gastronomical history is tied to the city’s university which is the oldest in the world. Since the Middle Ages, the university has attracted students from many different countries and cultures which she believes has enriched the city’s culinary scene. She enjoys introducing guests to Bologna's snacks such as crescentine, tigelle and piadine (made with flour, water and yeast) filled with local salames such as mortadella, prosciutto, ciccioli, coppa di testa and cheeses like the soft sqauccherone or parmigiana which can be washed down with Pignoletto dei colli bolognesi or Lambrusco (if you choose the alcohol option when making your booking).

What to expect

Please note menu might vary. If there are particular dishes you are interested in trying, please include your request in the booking form.

In-home meal: (1-6 guests) Join Giovanna for a seasonal Bolognese meal that starts with typical Bolognese snacks like crescentine or tigelle, a traditional pastry breakfast of mountain farmers made with flour, water, pesto, lard, rosemary, parmesan, traditionally pressed with two bricks and two chestnut tree leaves. You will then enjoy salumi and cheeses like squacquerone and parmigiano-reggiano before tasting seasonal, oven-roasted vegetables including delightful pomodori, Italian tomatoes, or seasonal lettuces and garden vegetables served in the local "pinzimonio" (crudite) style. The central pillars of Bolognese cooking are pork meat and egg pasta and you will enjoy a pasta such as tagliatelle al ragù or the local Gramigna, Bolognese pasta with "salsiccia" made in the surrounding countryside. Second courses include the famous cotoletta alla bolognese (veal with ham and parmigiano), bisteccone (steak) or cotechino in galera and polpette con umido con piselli (meatballs with peas). Giovanna usually combines meat dishes with potato purèe, verdure con besciamella (vegetables with bechamel sauce) or friggione (a slow-cooked dish made with onions and tomatoes). Desserts vary seasonally and are usually tied to traditional festivals, such as the certosino bolognese for Christmas, le raviole for Saint Joseph, pinza (filled with Bolognese mostarda) or torta di riso, a rice cake which families make for the festa degli addobbi.

Cooking experience: (1-5 guests) Giovanna loves teaching guests how to prepare typical dishes from the rich Bolognese cooking tradition and sharing tales and anecdotes that are connected to different foods. Join Giovanna in her kitchen and learn to make a pasta dish such as tagliatelle al ragù, lasagne or tortellini, or a lesser known pasta such as gramigna with sausage, maltagliati (offcuts of flat egg pasta) with beans, or passatelli in brodo (soup with pasta). You will also learn to cook a side or dessert, before you share the meal you helped prepare with Giovanna at her dining table.

Market visit: (1-5 guests) Join Giovanna for a memorable tour of one of Bologna's markets. Depending on the day you may visit the Mercato del Quadrilatero or Mercato del Erbe where she buys her seasonal fruit and vegetables. The Antico mercato del Quadrilatero is a few minutes from her house and has medieval origins. You will see vendors selling everything from artisanal products to jewelry, meat, fish, salami, fruit, vegetables and bread. It is located in Piazza Maggiore, and is where most Bolognese housewives go to find traditional and genuine products. The other market you may visit is the Mercato delle Erbe, a covered market in the historical center, where you can buy local and regional produce, from fruit and vegetables to meat, cheese, salami, wine and fish.

Languages spoken: English, Italian

Sample menu

This is just a sample menu to give you an idea of the types of dishes the host cooks. Your menu will vary according to seasonal availability.
  • Bolognese snacks: Crescentine (served with tomato sauce and parmesan cheese) and Tigelle (pesto, rosemary e parmesan cheese pastry)
  • Appetizers: Salumi and Formaggi
  • Side: Seasonal lettuce and garden vegetables salad or roasted vegetables
  • First course: Gramigna, tagliatelle al ragù or lasagne
  • Second course: Cotoletta alla bolognese, bisteccone (steak) or polpette con umido con piselli
  • Dessert: Typical Italian seasonal dessert

Traveler reviews

5.0 (6)
A wonderful way to get to know Bologna. Gio and her daughters were so incredibly generous and friendly! I had the best time exploring the market with her, and learning how to buy food like a pro. As we walked, she gave me a history lesson about the city, and I feel as though I understand Bologna and Italian food culture so much more. After the market, I felt so welcomed into their home, and I learned how to cook wonderful food. The meal we shared was so special for having made it together.
- U4004JIelizabethc February 29, 2020
A piece of real Italy. Gio and her daughter were so generous and friendly. We had fun learning to cook the recipes. There was so much good food. The conversation flowed and I was sad the evening ended
- 207glena February 25, 2020
Bij echt Italiaanse mensen thuis koken, hoe leuk is dat?! Dochters spreken goed Engels en brachten me na afloop zelfs even naar het appartement met de auto. Het was een heel gezellige avond!
- PaulaAafke October 24, 2019
We had a lovely evening with Giovanna. We were made to feel very welcome in her home where we were taught some traditional Bolognese recipes including Gramigna with sausage, gatto di patate and a selection of antipasti. Giovanna and her family were really friendly and we had an interesting evening with them learning about Italy, food and Bologna itself. The only thing to make clear is that you don't actually make pasta on this course, which was not a problem for us but may be what some other people are looking for. We would highly recommend this to anyone, We would go back again in a heartbeat and this was a really highlight of Bologna for us. Informal, local food and an opportunity to see a more authentic side of Bologna.
- George M October 16, 2019
My brother and I are obsessed with Italian cuisine and had high expectations for our first trip to Bologna. Spending an evening with Giovanna and her family well exceeded our expectations and was by far the most amazing part of our trip. She was so warm, so friendly, so knowledgeable about the history of the city and the cuisine and her two daughters who cooked with us were just the coolest people. We made an unforgettable meal, talked about food, politics, art, sports, culture and more food for the better part of 4 hours. I cannot recommend this experience enough, and I cant wait to return to Bologna and enjoy another meal with Giovanna and her family.
- nickgee5 October 11, 2019
We booked with Travelling Spoon and had an excellent time with our host Giovanna. We booked the combined experience - to see the markets and hear some local insight and history, and then return with Giovanna to her home to cook and eat together. It really was the highlight of our long weekend in Bologna. Giovanna and her daughters were a delight - funny, interesting, kind, and they made us feel very welcome. Giovanna taught us several dishes and showed us the best places to get food in Bologna. She was thoughtful about constructing a menu around the dietary needs of my friend and made sure we could all experience some traditional cooking. We had a great time drinking, cooking and talking together and learnt a few skills at the same time. We were so stuffed with food we could have rolled ourselves home, and there was enough leftovers for us to take home. For us this was the perfect experience, to cook with Italians in an Italian home, and afterwards we knew which shops and market stalls to return to. Brilliant.
- TrillianLondon June 10, 2018
Read More
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Giovanna

$64-$140 USD

per person
100% VETTED
Learn more
  • No waiting! Booking confirmed instantly
  • 100% satisfaction guarantee or your money back
  • Free cancellation up to 48 hours in advance
  • Private experience
Pricing (per person)*
1 person 2-4 ppl 5+ ppl
In-Home Meal
$80 $64 $64
Cooking Experience + Meal
$100 $75 $75
Market Tour+ Cooking Experience + Meal
$140 $110 $96
Alcohol
$9 per person
*Does not include 3% payment processing fee applied at checkout.
1 person 2-4 people 5+ people
In-Home Meal
$80 $64 $64
Cooking Experience + Meal
$100 $75 $75
Market Tour+ Cooking Experience + Meal
$140 $110 $96
Alcohol
$9 per person
*Does not include 3% payment processing fee applied at checkout.
Experience Timings
Lunch Dinner
In-Home Meal
12:00pm-2:00pm 7:00pm-9:00pm
Cooking Experience+ Meal
11:00am-2:00pm 6:00pm-9:00pm
Market Tour+ Cooking Experience + Meal
9:00am-2:00pm 5:00pm-10:00pm

Meet Giovanna

Giovanna is a warm and gentle retired history and philosophy teacher who has lived in Bologna for over 60 years. She lives in an apartment in a large villa with her daughters Francesca and Laura. She learned fish and vegetable recipes from her mother and grandmother, originally from the Marche region and learned traditional Bolognese cooking from her husband’s family. She loves cooking for family, friends and guests and particularly enjoys widening her culinary repertoire with new dishes she learns on her travels.

Giovanna is proud of Bologna's heritage; Bologna’s nicknames include “la città dotta” (the educated city) and “la città grassa” (the fat city) and its gastronomical history is tied to the city’s university which is the oldest in the world. Since the Middle Ages, the university has attracted students from many different countries and cultures which she believes has enriched the city’s culinary scene. She enjoys introducing guests to Bologna's snacks such as crescentine, tigelle and piadine (made with flour, water and yeast) filled with local salames such as mortadella, prosciutto, ciccioli, coppa di testa and cheeses like the soft sqauccherone or parmigiana which can be washed down with Pignoletto dei colli bolognesi or Lambrusco (if you choose the alcohol option when making your booking).

What to expect

Please note menu might vary. If there are particular dishes you are interested in trying, please include your request in the booking form.

In-home meal: (1-6 guests) Join Giovanna for a seasonal Bolognese meal that starts with typical Bolognese snacks like crescentine or tigelle, a traditional pastry breakfast of mountain farmers made with flour, water, pesto, lard, rosemary, parmesan, traditionally pressed with two bricks and two chestnut tree leaves. You will then enjoy salumi and cheeses like squacquerone and parmigiano-reggiano before tasting seasonal, oven-roasted vegetables including delightful pomodori, Italian tomatoes, or seasonal lettuces and garden vegetables served in the local "pinzimonio" (crudite) style. The central pillars of Bolognese cooking are pork meat and egg pasta and you will enjoy a pasta such as tagliatelle al ragù or the local Gramigna, Bolognese pasta with "salsiccia" made in the surrounding countryside. Second courses include the famous cotoletta alla bolognese (veal with ham and parmigiano), bisteccone (steak) or cotechino in galera and polpette con umido con piselli (meatballs with peas). Giovanna usually combines meat dishes with potato purèe, verdure con besciamella (vegetables with bechamel sauce) or friggione (a slow-cooked dish made with onions and tomatoes). Desserts vary seasonally and are usually tied to traditional festivals, such as the certosino bolognese for Christmas, le raviole for Saint Joseph, pinza (filled with Bolognese mostarda) or torta di riso, a rice cake which families make for the festa degli addobbi.

Cooking experience: (1-5 guests) Giovanna loves teaching guests how to prepare typical dishes from the rich Bolognese cooking tradition and sharing tales and anecdotes that are connected to different foods. Join Giovanna in her kitchen and learn to make a pasta dish such as tagliatelle al ragù, lasagne or tortellini, or a lesser known pasta such as gramigna with sausage, maltagliati (offcuts of flat egg pasta) with beans, or passatelli in brodo (soup with pasta). You will also learn to cook a side or dessert, before you share the meal you helped prepare with Giovanna at her dining table.

Market visit: (1-5 guests) Join Giovanna for a memorable tour of one of Bologna's markets. Depending on the day you may visit the Mercato del Quadrilatero or Mercato del Erbe where she buys her seasonal fruit and vegetables. The Antico mercato del Quadrilatero is a few minutes from her house and has medieval origins. You will see vendors selling everything from artisanal products to jewelry, meat, fish, salami, fruit, vegetables and bread. It is located in Piazza Maggiore, and is where most Bolognese housewives go to find traditional and genuine products. The other market you may visit is the Mercato delle Erbe, a covered market in the historical center, where you can buy local and regional produce, from fruit and vegetables to meat, cheese, salami, wine and fish.

Languages spoken: English, Italian

Sample menu

This is just a sample menu to give you an idea of the types of dishes the host cooks. Your menu will vary according to seasonal availability.
  • Bolognese snacks: Crescentine (served with tomato sauce and parmesan cheese) and Tigelle (pesto, rosemary e parmesan cheese pastry)
  • Appetizers: Salumi and Formaggi
  • Side: Seasonal lettuce and garden vegetables salad or roasted vegetables
  • First course: Gramigna, tagliatelle al ragù or lasagne
  • Second course: Cotoletta alla bolognese, bisteccone (steak) or polpette con umido con piselli
  • Dessert: Typical Italian seasonal dessert

Traveler reviews

5.0 (6)
A wonderful way to get to know Bologna. Gio and her daughters were so incredibly generous and friendly! I had the best time exploring the market with her, and learning how to buy food like a pro. As we walked, she gave me a history lesson about the city, and I feel as though I understand Bologna and Italian food culture so much more. After the market, I felt so welcomed into their home, and I learned how to cook wonderful food. The meal we shared was so special for having made it together.
- U4004JIelizabethc February 29, 2020
A piece of real Italy. Gio and her daughter were so generous and friendly. We had fun learning to cook the recipes. There was so much good food. The conversation flowed and I was sad the evening ended
- 207glena February 25, 2020
Bij echt Italiaanse mensen thuis koken, hoe leuk is dat?! Dochters spreken goed Engels en brachten me na afloop zelfs even naar het appartement met de auto. Het was een heel gezellige avond!
- PaulaAafke October 24, 2019
We had a lovely evening with Giovanna. We were made to feel very welcome in her home where we were taught some traditional Bolognese recipes including Gramigna with sausage, gatto di patate and a selection of antipasti. Giovanna and her family were really friendly and we had an interesting evening with them learning about Italy, food and Bologna itself. The only thing to make clear is that you don't actually make pasta on this course, which was not a problem for us but may be what some other people are looking for. We would highly recommend this to anyone, We would go back again in a heartbeat and this was a really highlight of Bologna for us. Informal, local food and an opportunity to see a more authentic side of Bologna.
- George M October 16, 2019
My brother and I are obsessed with Italian cuisine and had high expectations for our first trip to Bologna. Spending an evening with Giovanna and her family well exceeded our expectations and was by far the most amazing part of our trip. She was so warm, so friendly, so knowledgeable about the history of the city and the cuisine and her two daughters who cooked with us were just the coolest people. We made an unforgettable meal, talked about food, politics, art, sports, culture and more food for the better part of 4 hours. I cannot recommend this experience enough, and I cant wait to return to Bologna and enjoy another meal with Giovanna and her family.
- nickgee5 October 11, 2019
We booked with Travelling Spoon and had an excellent time with our host Giovanna. We booked the combined experience - to see the markets and hear some local insight and history, and then return with Giovanna to her home to cook and eat together. It really was the highlight of our long weekend in Bologna. Giovanna and her daughters were a delight - funny, interesting, kind, and they made us feel very welcome. Giovanna taught us several dishes and showed us the best places to get food in Bologna. She was thoughtful about constructing a menu around the dietary needs of my friend and made sure we could all experience some traditional cooking. We had a great time drinking, cooking and talking together and learnt a few skills at the same time. We were so stuffed with food we could have rolled ourselves home, and there was enough leftovers for us to take home. For us this was the perfect experience, to cook with Italians in an Italian home, and afterwards we knew which shops and market stalls to return to. Brilliant.
- TrillianLondon June 10, 2018
Read More
Pricing (per person)*
1 person 2-4 ppl 5+ ppl
In-Home Meal
$80 $64 $64
Cooking Experience + Meal
$100 $75 $75
Market Tour+ Cooking Experience + Meal
$140 $110 $96
Alcohol
$9 per person
*Does not include 3% payment processing fee applied at checkout.
1 person 2-4 people 5+ people
In-Home Meal
$80 $64 $64
Cooking Experience + Meal
$100 $75 $75
Market Tour+ Cooking Experience + Meal
$140 $110 $96
Alcohol
$9 per person
*Does not include 3% payment processing fee applied at checkout.
Experience Timings
Lunch Dinner
In-Home Meal
12:00pm-2:00pm 7:00pm-9:00pm
Cooking Experience+ Meal
11:00am-2:00pm 6:00pm-9:00pm
Market Tour+ Cooking Experience + Meal
9:00am-2:00pm 5:00pm-10:00pm
ABOUT TRAVELING SPOON

Traveling Spoon connects you with meaningful culinary experiences, from private cooking lessons to homecooked meals in people's homes. Enjoy an immersive cultural experience that gives you a glimpse into the local way of life.

FAQ

    You can cancel your reservation for free up until 48 hours before your experience. Experiences within 48 hours are not refundable.

    If you have a question for your host, you can include a note in the field "Write a note to your host" during the booking process. Once your booking is confirmed, you will be emailed your host's direct contact information and you will also be able to message the host through your profile. You can always cancel your booking and receive a full refund 48 hours or more before your experience. If you have other questions you can also email us at reservations@travelingspoon.com.

    Most of our hosts are able to accommodate dietary restrictions and allergies, including vegetarian and gluten free options. For vegetarian travelers, we have an icon on each host profile to indicate whether that host can also offer a fully vegetarian menu. There is a section in the booking form to note any allergies or dietary restrictions which will be sent directly to your host.

    Some hosts offer alcohol as an optional add-on for travelers who are of legal drinking age. Pricing for alcohol is visible on the host profile page and includes one to two glasses of wine, beer or local alcohol.

    Have a flight or other tour planned and can’t make the timing provided? If the timing listed on the host’s profile doesn’t work for you, our hosts can often accommodate timing changes. Because all of our experiences are private our hosts are happy to tailor experiences to meet your travel needs. Simply note your request in the booking process.

    Your card will not be charged until your host accepts your booking. Typically hosts respond to bookings within 72 hours. In the event your host is unavailable on your selected date and your host rejects your booking your credit card will not be charged.

    Your host's detailed contact information, including their phone number, address, and direction notes, will all be provided immediately upon successful confirmation of your experience (after your hosts accepts your booking and your credit card is successfully processed). This information will be emailed to you to the email address you used to sign up, and will also be visible on your Traveling Spoon profile.

    All prices are noted per person prices unless otherwise specified. Transportation is typically charged on a per car basis. Children aged 5-11 are 50% off, and infants aged 0-4 are free. Hosts set their own prices and Traveling Spoon marks up the experiences; on average hosts receive over 70% of the price paid by the traveler.

    100% of Traveling Spoon experiences are private! Just you and your host and host’s family.

    Hosts typically respond to booking inquiries within 72 hours. If for some reason you have not heard from your host or if you have any questions you can always contact us at reservations@travelingspoon.com.

    Your safety and security are our top priority. To ensure this, Traveling Spoon personally vets 100% of all hosts, including an in-person host visit, to ensure each host and experience meets our strict quality requirements.

    Some hosts offer transportation as an optional add-on for travelers. Typically this is round trip transportation with pick up and drop off at your hotel. Pricing is quoted per car. Specific instructions for transportation will be provided in your confirmation details when your booking is confirmed.

    Many of our hosts accommodate solo travelers. You can see if a host accepts solo travelers by looking at the traveler range found next to the experience descriptions on the host profile (indicated by the numbers in parentheses next to "In-home meal", "Cooking experience" and "Market visit").

    Most of our Traveling Spoon experiences are incredibly family friendly and can accommodate infants and children. If a host is unable to accommodate children that will be noted in the “Notes” section of their profile. Our child pricing policy is children aged 5-11 are 50% off, and infants aged 0-4 are free.