Bologna Inside

third edition
edition 2021


Plugging in with People

Newcomers to Bologna occasionally find it difficult to make friends in the beginning. The Bolognese can be reserved and they take some time to warm up to new faces. Many of them grew up here, so don’t be surprised when you meet groups of friends who have been hanging out together since elementary school. Taking an Italian course is a great way to meet other newcomers. See the following section Learning Italian for details.

Our organization, the International Women’s Forum of Bologna, welcomes English-speaking women of all nationalities to its meetings and events. In addition to our Monthly Meetings, IWF members get together regularly to share in a variety of activities, such as going out for an aperitivo or a meal with the Kocktailklatsch and Diners Club, hiking in the Bolognese hills with Ramblers (for more details check the Interest Groups page of our website).

The IWF to me is not just about a group of friends but people who I can call my family……they are my sisters, their children are my nieces and nephews. I have never made such connections as I did with this fabulous group of women. Kind of like childhood friends that you bonded with but in your adult years. I am so thankful to be a part of this group and honored to be an IWF member.

Joining a sports club, an association or becoming involved in cultural events are also good ways to get to know people. For inspiration, see the section Sports Clubs, Associations & Indoor Sports in Tempo Libero

The International Women’s Forum is a non-profit organization founded in October 1998 in Bologna, Italy for English-speaking women of all nationalities. The group serves as a professional, cultural and social resource where members have the opportunity to exchange experiences, make professional contacts, find support and friendship, and speak English.

Find out more about us:

Via de’ Marchi, 4
Tel. 051.332828

Via F.lli Rosselli, 15/a
Tel. 051.520506

Via Santa Caterina, 55
Tel. 051.9914536, 3342077463

Via Nazionale 192/C – 40051 Altedo di Malalbergo (Bologna)
Tel. 051.581156

Via San Mamolo, 24
Tel.051 5811464

Named after Amilcar Cabral, a leading African thinker and politician of the 20th Century, this library with over 45,000 books and 400 periodicals is dedicated to Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Via Pallavicini 13

Via de’ Gombruti, 9
Tel. 051.232066


If you’re an Italian returning to Italy from abroad, or a non-Italian trying to find work in our region or already have work but would like to get more information on your new surroundings, the Emilia-Romagna region has launched a very helpful and interesting project called ART-ER (Attractiveness, Research, Territory) in their bid to attract international talents ( Check also their Guide outlining some of the services available in the region of Emilia Romagna.

For international students, go to this page or the Alma Mater Studiorum – Bologna University page for international students.

In collaboration with the University of Bologna, National Geographic has published Bologna. Città Universitaria. in Italian and English as part of its Traveler guide series. If you’re a student, you can get a 20% discount at the Bookshop of the Palazzo Poggi Museum in Via Zamboni 33 and at the UniboStore in Piazza Verdi 9, Bologna.

Sure signs you’re a straniera
  1. Asking for a cappuccino after 11
  2. Drinking a cappuccino with your lunch or dinner
  3. Ordering salad before your pasta
  4. Putting grated parmesan cheese on your spaghetti alle vongole
  5. Wearing shorts downtown
  6. Thinking that a bimbo is a dumb blond
  7. Cutting your spaghetti with a knife
  8. Participating in the Sunday afternoon passeggiata looking like you just rolled out of bed (even if you did)
  9. Not asking permesso before entering an apartment
  10. Greeting everyone, regardless of their age, social position, or relationship to you, with a cheery “ciao!” instead of the more appropriate buongiorno, buonasera, or salve


There are different immigrant-run associations and so-called ‘third-party’ (terzo settore) associations for immigrants in Bologna and the surrounding areas, which can offer varying levels of assistance to newcomers.

Here are some of the more prominent associations which promote intercultural exchange:

Centro di Ascolto Immigrati della Caritas Diocesana di Bologna

Piazzetta Prendiparte n. 4 (già via Sant’Alò), Bologna
Tel. 051.221296

Open Tuesdays and Thursdays 9:15 – 11:30
Run by the Catholic Church.

Centro Interculturale Zonarelli Bologna

Via Sacco 14, 40127 Bologna
Tel. 051.2196320

The Centre is the Comune’s service dedicated to facilitating intercultural and interreligious dialogue and promoting integration and human rights for foreigners, especially women, and organizes Italian language courses.

Biblioteca Casa di Khaoula

Via di Corticella 104, 40128 Bologna
Tel. 051.6312721

This Centre is a library which is named after an immigrant girl called Khaoula who had asked to have a space where she could read and do homework in Quartiere Navile. It organizes and hosts after-school reading and language courses, book presentations, conferences, etc.