Talk about deconsecration, wine isn’t just drunk for communion here.
This bar was once the haughty private chapel of the Bentivoglio family. Their level of hospitality was such that in May 1713 Count Girolamo Bentivoglio reportedly transformed the hall of one of his palaces into a lake so that dazzled guests were served their myriad of rich dinner dishes by boat. While this bar chapel, Le Stanze, doesn’t feature a lake, it is still a delightfully sophisticated atmosphere in which to drink your spritz.
Le Stanze can be found in Via Borgo di San Pietro in the student zone of the city. Despite being in an area populated by edgy bars and men with top knots, Le Stanze’s chapel frescoes and Corinthian columns give it a classical air, and a one up on neon lights and plastic white bar stools. The fresco decorations feature mythological and religious scenes set amongst Renaissance trompe-l’oeil architecture, quite the conversation starter.
It might be one the Guardian’s list of ‘budget’ eats in Bologna, but for those travellers not used to London prices this bar chapel is a little on the costly side, particularly considering you can have an aperitivo for half the price in Venice. However, although drinks range from €5 – €10 the accompanying food is generous: slices of cheesy pizza, mounds of pasta, chunks of cheese and slices of cured meats. If you’re bold enough you can easily have your dinner here, though this is probably the reason free aperitivo food has never caught on in Britain… most Italians know how much food is appropriate per drink.
Le Stanze also offers a small but interesting menu, with starters such as mozzarella in carrozza (deep fried mozzarella) and secondi such as a tagliata (steak) with gorgonzola.
1 Via Borgo di San Pietro, +39 51 228767