Click here to print this page

Planning Retirement Online

Travel & Holidays in later life

Bologne is famous for its cuisine and in particular it’s famous meat sauce. Hugh Taylor went in search of the authentic recipe.

RAgu al la Bolgnese


One of my favourite dishes is Spaghetti Bolognese. I make it often from a recipe I originally got from an American I met while touring. Of course I have adapted and added to it over the years. My family love it. So I was really looking forward to visiting Bologne and sampling the real thing.


On our first night we found a lovely little restaurant tucked up a side street. Having got the wine order sorted out we turned our attention to the menu. I was aghast. My favourite dish was missing. There was something called Tagliatelle al Ragú though. So I asked Moira to ask the waiter if I could have it with Spaghetti instead. She refused and I’m glad she did. The dish was delicious anyway but next morning I discovered that Spaghetti Bolognese was not an Italian dish. The sauce is traditionally served with tagliatelle. It was explained to me that this was so the sauce would stick to the flat surface and transfer the taste to the pasta, something it wouldn’t do with spaghetti. I was also told that one of the best places to taste a traditional Ragú was at the tiny Trattoria Anna Maria. So that’s where we headed on night two.

Tratorria Anna Marie

It’s a lovely, little, unpretentious place. The walls are filed with complimentary letters and messages from previous diners as well as posters and black and white photographs of old film stars including Sophia Loren. The waiters are all smartly dressed in red waistcoats and Anna Maria looks just like you’d imagine a traditional Italian mamma would. She’s been cooking and serving traditional Italian dishes here for nearly 29 years and her tortellini in broth and her tagliatelle al ragú are to die for.




Trattoria Anna Marie

The tagliatelli was very narrow and freshly made.  According to the Bologna Delegation of the Accademia Italiana della Cicina, it should be 8mm wide, after cooking and when ready to serve. There is a sample of this, in gold, in a casket deposited in the Pallazzo della Mercancia in Bologna. Apparently this measurement is 1/12,270 of the height of the Asinelli Tower in Bologna.




Ragu a La Bolognese

Bologna Chamber of Commerce have produced a little book “The Old Market’ which contains recipes for many of the traditional dishes. I got a copy from the tourist office and as soon as I could I assembled the ingredients and had a go at making the ragú. I took advice from my friend Robert McAleese who has the Award winning Little Italy Restaurant in Dumfries. “ Cook it very, very slowly’, he said. So I did and even though I say so myself it was perfect. I cheated on the tagliatelli and bought some fresh stuff from the pasta shop near where we live in Capena but the vegetables I bought fresh at the farmers market and the meat from the local butcher.



Travel Facts



Travel Insurance for over 50s

Visit our  holidays, breaks and travel options pages

Tourist Information

Trattoria Anna Maria

Via Belle Arti, 17/A Bologna.

Tel: 051 26 68 94

Italian State Tourist Board

Bologna Tourism









Travelsphere escorted holidays


Here’s how to make it.

300g minced beef
150g pancetta (or streaky bacon)
50g carrot
50g stick of celery
50g onion
5 tablespoons pasata
½ glass red or white wine
1 glass whole milk

Dice the bacon and melt the fat of it slowly in a pan over a low heat. Chop the vegetables up. Turn up the heat then add the vegetables and sear them. Add the mince and stir until it browns. Then add the wine, pasata and a little stock and simmer for at least two hours, adding a little of the milk from time to time. Season with salt and pepper. A recommended option is to add a little cream towards the end. Why not try it youself.










Back to








If you enjoyed this page:

Bookmark This Receive more like this  


Visit our Pre-retirement Courses section here on laterlife or our dedicated Retirement Courses site

back to laterlife travel

Site map and site search




Advertise on

LaterLife Travel Insurance in Association with Avanti