Uncovering Italy’s Superlatives in people, places and things

ISSIMO Playlist: Bologna through the songs of Lucio Dalla

Walk Dalla’s city with the ISSIMO playlist

Summer is finally in full swing and as famed Italian singer Lucio Dalla once sung Tu Non Mi Basti Mai – we just can’t get enough! Once the soundtrack for generations of Italians, today Dalla’s tracks are the perfect playlist for a summer spin through his beloved city of Bologna.

Born and raised in La Grassa (yes, Bologna’s list of nicknames include “the fat city”), the singer-songwriter lived here his whole life and many of his ballads are tributes to the Emilian capital, with its red roofs, towers and squares and the very vocal Le Rondini (the swallows). Retrace Dalla’s steps of Cosa Sarà (what will be) and Quale Allegria (What a Joy), exploring the many anecdotes of the places he loved retold in his captivating lyrics. Who knows, you might just happen upon La Sera dei Miracoli (a night of miracles) while you’re there!

Grab a slice of the amazing pizza Dalla sings about in Dark Bologna at Pizzeria Altero and wash it down with a glass of Sangiovese at his favourite Osteria del Sole.  Stroll the beautiful alleys of Il Quadrilatero which Dalla adored – Bologna has returned the love with a very kitsch “star” (a la Hollywood Walk of Fame) dedicated in his honour on one of the quaint lanes.

One of Dalla’s great classics, Piazza Grande, is dedicated to his beloved Piazza Cavour (not the city’s Piazza Maggiore as some erroneously thought) where he was born.

Sing along to L’anno che verrà (“the year to come”) as you head to Piazza San Domenico and have lunch at Michele Casali’s Osteria del Vicolo delle Dame to whom the song was dedicated.

Find yourself amongst angels along the quiet Vicolo Marescotti, where Dalla wrote Se io fossi un Angelo, one of his all-time greatest hits. 

Imagine Dalla writing his final song Cara at Casa Fontana his home turned museum in Piazza Celestini. The house is also where Dalla wrote Caruso, dedicated to the famous Italian tenor Enrico Caruso and which gained renewed popularity after Dalla’s death.

Lucio Dalla. Courtesy of Philip Roos/Flickr

While in the neighbourhood, make sure to pop by and say Ciao to his favourite Duca d’Amalfi bar, known for their Neapolitan pastries and order his ‘pucc-cappucc’ (his take on a cappuccino with less milk) at Gran Bar. The neighbourhood’s Hotel Roma displays Dalla memorabilia including his instruments and albums.

Let Anna e Marco transport you outside the city walls towards Via delle Fragole, where Dalla lived with his mom and penned the song.

Ever the avid football fan, Dalla’s Baggio Baggio is all about Bologna’s hometown favourite, Roberto Baggio, whose team called Stadio dell’Ara home and where Dalla often cheered him on.

You could spend Tutta La Vita (all of life) exploring Dalla’s favourite spots to eat in Bologna. We suggest Osteria De Cesari in Via dei Carbonesi, Da Nello al Montegrappa in Via Indipendenza, his favourite ricotta ‘quenelle’ from Cesarina in Via Santo Stefano, Caffé dell’Accademia, and Trattoria da Vito in the elegant Cirneaica neighbourhood.

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