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12 Important Issues To Do In Bologna (+ Map)

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Bologna is a confident metropolis with a medieval historical past and a younger edgy vibe. Linger in moody wine bars, stroll the porticoes, and uncover the easiest issues to do in Bologna.

LAST UPDATE: 22 Oct 2023

Wherever We Roam is reader-supported. If you purchase by means of hyperlinks on our web site, we might earn a small affiliate fee at no further value to you. Thanks to your assist – Paul & Mark.


Bologna is a metropolis that doesn’t really feel the necessity to gown up for vacationers; it’s completely happy simply the best way it’s.

Worn across the edges and barely scuffed, it’s a distinction from the common Italian vacationer centres.

Born of its personal character, Bologna is a spot that locals know higher than vacationers. And it looks like that’s the best way it’s all the time going to be.

With centuries of historical past and 85,000 college college students, Bologna is sufficiently old to be charming and younger sufficient to be thrilling.

We have now rounded up our favorite issues to do in Bologna together with useful suggestions for visiting. Get essentially the most out of the beating coronary heart of Italy with our information to the pink metropolis.

The best things to do in Bologna Italy including top attractions, best bars and restaurants, hidden gems plus useful visitor information and map.

1 – ASINELLI TOWER

Asinelli & Garisenda are the 2 fundamental towers of Bologna. They had been constructed to sign the status of the households who commissioned them; a pattern just like close by rival Siena.

These medieval showpieces have watched over Bologna because the early twelfth century.

As the very best of Bologna’s 24 towers, Asinelli has 500 steps to succeed in the viewing platform on the high. Nevertheless it’s nicely price it. The previous wood staircase supplies tantalizing glimpses of the red-tinged metropolis by means of openings.

red roofs from the asinelli tower in bologna
BOLOGNA FROM ASSINELLI TOWER

From the highest Bologna glows. Terracotta roofs stretch out in all instructions, bouncing golden mild again at you.

It’s a fascinating view and an unmissable factor to do in Bologna.

Intention to be on the high as near sundown as you’ll be able to.

DETAILS | ASINELLI TOWER


value – €5 / €3 (youngsters, over 65, college students) | ticketsadvance reserving in a reserved timeslot is required | free – with the Bologna Welcome Card

ASINELLI TOWER OPENING HOURS

DATES OPEN LAST ENTRY
1 Jan – 8 Jan 10 am 5:15 pm
9 Jan – 2 Mar 10 am 4:30 pm
3 Mar – 31 Mar 10 am 6 pm
1 Apr – 30 Could 10 am 7 pm
1 Jun – 1 Oct (Thu-Solar) 10 am 8:15 pm
2 Oct – 5 Nov 10 am 6 pm
6 Nov – 31 Dec 10 am 4:30 pm

2 – SAN PETRONIO CHURCH

Bologna nonetheless looks like a piece in progress and San Petronio Church is a high quality instance of town’s character.

Development started in 1388. After a sequence of sophisticated amendments, Pope Pius IV deemed it a pipedream and diverted funds to the college as a substitute.

Consequently, San Petronio stays unfinished to today. The underside half is embellished in marble, and the highest half is easy brick.

Whereas the within is apparent and never particularly a spotlight in Bologna, there’s one attention-grabbing function.

A meridian line was paved into the isle by the astronomer Giovanni Cassini in 1655. With phenomenal precision, the road allowed Cassini to calculate the lean of the earth’s axis and the timing of the equinoxes.

San Petronio Church in Bologna is half marble half brick

3 – PIAZZA MAGGIORE & NEPTUNE’S FOUNTAIN

Piazza Maggiore is the principle sq. in Bologna and the center of the historic city.

Relationship again to 1200, it’s one of many first squares in Italy constructed after the autumn of the Roman Empire.

As we speak, the Bolognese come right here to eat ice cream, take heed to live shows and scoff pizza within the charming streets that feed Piazza Maggiore.

It’s an important place to hang around and discover the mishmash of architectural types which have developed over time across the sq..

Don’t miss the Fountain of Neptune. The trident held by the statue of Neptune above the trickling waters was utilized by the Maserati brothers as the symbol for his or her automobiles.    

4 – THE QUADRILATERO

The Quadrilatero is the medieval market space of Bologna with historic alleyways.

It stretches from Piazza Maggiore to the 2 towers. The Quadrilatero is a bustling space with every little thing from fruit stalls to high-end vogue, fish markets, and bakeries.

The world comes alive within the night with each locals and vacationers elbowing in for an ideal place amongst the hustle and bustle.

Seize a desk at Osteria del Sole – one of many oldest inns in Bologna. They supply the wine and also you deliver your individual meals.

If you happen to don’t need to self-cater, pull up at one of many many locations packed into this tiny laneway.

5 – TRY THE BEST BARS IN BOLOGNA

Bologna is named ‘la dotta, la grassa, la rossa’ or ‘the realized, the fats, the pink’.

The fats owing to the profusion of wonderful produce coming from this gastronomic area of Italy. The close by city of Parma is known for prosciutto di Parma. Modena for its balsamic vinegar. The whole Emilia Romagna area for Parmigiano Reggiano.

The meals in Bologna is usually thought of a few of the greatest in Italy. Listed below are some nice bars to take pleasure in a glass of wine with a couple of specialties.

Enoteca Storica Faccioli // Open since 1924, they know their stuff and it’s an important place to seek out a wonderful (and low-cost) wine. The flatbreads are wonderful.

La Prosciutteria // A country, welcoming restaurant the place vacationers and college students mingle on previous fruit crates. They’ve an important collection of chilly cuts and sandwiches.

Medulla Vini // With in natural wines from Italy, Slovenia, and Croatia, Medulla Vini has a comfy place below the porticoes. It’s an important place to take pleasure in high quality wine whereas watching the world go by.

Caffè Rubik // A bohemian bar within the college district with a pop-art vibe set below one of many metropolis’s historic porticoes. They’ve the most effective amaro record in Bologna – the liquor made out of herbs and roots.

Enoteca Italiana // A extra conventional wine store in a big area. They’ve a number of tables dotted among the many wine cabinets providing an enormous international choice.

6 – BASILICA DI SANTO STEFANO

The advanced of Basilica di Santo Stefano dates again to the fifth century and at one time comprised 7 church buildings. As we speak, solely 4 stay in an interlocking sequence of historic architectural components.

It’s an unimaginable place to go to in Bologna and one thing we extremely suggest doing.

Entry is through the Thirteenth-century Chiesa del Crocifisso, a barren constructing with excessive domes and arches in worn brick.

A door to the left on the again leads into the outstanding Church of the Santo Sepolcro. That is an evocative area, designed to seem like the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Its unusual octagonal partitions rise to a starred dome and a dramatic crucifixion hangs over the altar.

Subsequent is the pleasingly easy and unadorned Eleventh-century Santi Vitale e Agricola. Naked stone partitions are laced with shards of sunshine from small excessive home windows. It’s a step again into one other time.

After the basilica have a wine or a espresso in Piazza Santo Stefano. It’s a bit of overpriced however the triangular area main in the direction of the previous church is beautiful compensation.

DETAILS | BASILICA DI SANTO STEFANO


hours – 6 pm to 7:30 pm (Mon) / 9:30 am – 12:30 pm & 2:30 pm – 7 pm (Tue-Solar) | value – free however donations appreciated

7 – TEATRO ANATOMICO OF THE ARCHIGINNASIO

The Teatro Anatomico is an ornate wood lecture theatre.

The medical faculty in Bologna carried out public dissections of human our bodies right here. A marble desk on the centre is surrounded by tiered seating. Apollo (the God of drugs) friends down from sunken panels within the ceiling.

Carved wood statues of well-known physicians adorn the partitions. Probably the most notable is an area physician who was the primary to try cosmetic surgery. Choose him out by the nostril he’s holding in his hand.

The primary spotlight on the Teatro Anatomico is the 2 wax statues of skinned human our bodies holding the college chair. 

Don’t miss the colorful frescoes within the Palace of the Archiginnasio – the doorway to the theatre.

DETAILS | TEATRO ANATOMICO


hours – 10 am to six pm (Mon-Sat) | value – €3 (€3.50 if bought prematurely on-line) | bookingson-line reservations are really helpful for Saturdays

8 – DINE OUT AROUND MERCATO DELLE ERBE

Mercato delle Erbe is a standard coated market with fruit stalls, cheeses, and Italian cured meats. It’s an excellent place to potter throughout the day however your entire space comes alive at evening.

Listed below are a few of the eating places we beloved.

Rush // This nook bar has an important place overlooking the hubbub surrounding the market. Moody music wafts into the road and the drinks are well-priced.

Oltre // For an upmarket dinner head to Oltre. The well-renowned kitchen does stylish Italian cooking respecting custom and fashionable methods.

Ahimé // Simply across the nook from Oltre, the progressive Ahimé has a minimalist design and a often altering menu. It’s nice for a iversion from conventional Italian cooking.

Tigelleria Tigellino // The proper venue for relaxed handheld road meals. Strive lassic Italian sandwiches, a various collection of cheese, and nice values wines.

051 Mercato // Basic Italian dishes in tables set out alongside the road. It’s probably the greatest locations in Bologna to attempt the traditional Tortellini in broth.

9 – PINOTECA NAZIONALE DI BOLOGNA

The Nationwide Artwork Gallery of Bologna was born from the necessity to rehouse artworks that had been suppressed by both the church or Napoleon.

As we speak, the Thirteenth to 18th-century artwork follows the development from Byzantine to Renaissance types. The gathering could be very manageable and it’s a beautiful factor to do in Bologna.

The highlights for us had been Christ and the Good Thief by Titian, The Visitation by Tintoretto and Madonna of the sparrow by Guercino.

However the assortment additionally contains works by Raphael and Reni.

The gallery is nicely laid out with data panels in English and a useful map to assist navigate the area.

There’s free entry on the primary Sunday of the month.

DETAILS | PINOTECA BOLOGNA


hours – 9 am to 2 pm (Tue-Wed) / 9 am to 7 pm (Thu-Solar) / closed Mondays | value – €8 (€9 from June to September) | free entry – 1st Sunday of each month & Nov 4.

10 – CHIESA DELLA MADONNA DI GALLIERA

The Church of the Madonna di Galliera is one thing of a hidden gem in Bologna. From the surface, the concrete façade offers no clues as to the ornate particulars ready on the within.

Initially based in 1304, the interiors had been refurbished within the seventeenth century to an opulent impact. Painted frescoes adorn the cupola ceiling with art work hanging from intricately carved niches.

Cascading mild streams from excessive home windows create an ethereal impact within the stunning area.

Caffè Letterario – Sebastiano Caridi is reverse the church. They’ve wonderful handcrafted sweets and scrumptious pastries.

Though scorching chocolate is their speciality drink, their espresso was probably the greatest we had in Bologna.

Sitting out on the portico in entrance of the church with a espresso is a good place to look at the world go by in Bologna.

DETAILS | CHIESA DELLA MADONNA DI GALLIERA


hours – 7:30 am to 12 pm / 4 pm to six:30 pm (Mon-Fri) | value – free | tackle – through Manzoni, 3

11 – THE PORTICOES OF VIA DI SAN LUCA

Within the early twelfth century, the rich of Bologna expanded their higher flooring to extend residing area. Quickly, columns had been required to assist them, creating the signature landmark of Bologna.

As we speak, there are round 38 kilometres of porticoes within the metropolis.

The Portico di San Luca is the longest on the earth (and town) and strolling it’s a great factor to do in Bologna.

It begins at Porta Saragozza and continues for 4 kilometres up a hill to the Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca, passing over 600 vaults.

The primary half runs alongside through Saragozza earlier than crossing the highway on a superbly ornate bridge.

The part after the bridge is the most picturesque part of the porticoes of Bologna.

From right here it’s a hefty climb to succeed in the Church of San Luca. There are good views from its panorama terrace, however we’d not suggest spending the £5 to go up the dome.

A much less exhausting possibility is to get a taxi to the highest and stroll again downhill. 

12 – VIA DEL PRATELLO

There are many locations to benefit from the pleasant custom of aperitivo in Bologna. However our favorite spot was the cool strip alongside the energetic By way of del Pratello.

Aperitivo takes place between 6:30 pm and eight:30 pm, the place you’ll get some free snacks together with your drink.

There are many locations to attempt – simply stroll alongside the road and cease at one which takes your fancy.

For dinner, we extremely suggest Il Rovescio for the decidedly good pizza (particularly for vegetarians).

There are additionally road meals joints, energetic bars, and conventional trattorias and osterias.

It’s an important a part of Bologna, that feels far more native.

Via del Pratello, Bologna

13 – BASILICA DI SAN FRANCESCO

The Basilica di San Francesco is a stunning under-visited church.

It was in-built a wide range of totally different types together with Romanesque, Gothic, and Renaissance.

A solidarity market is held within the church courtyard below a quadrangle of porticoes. You’ll find a collection of well-worn items on sale. The proceeds assist the church’s varied charities.

The flea market takes place between Could and June. The San Francesco Market is in September and October. The Christmas market begins on the final Sunday of November and runs till early January.

If the markets coincide together with your journey, searching for bargains below the towering spire is a good factor to do in Bologna.

DETAILS | BASILICA DI SAN FRANCESCO


hours – 8.30 am to 10.00 am / 10.30 am to 11.45 / 1.30 am to 17.30 pm | value – free

14 – DAY TRIPS FROM BOLOGNA

Bologna’s location within the Emilia-Romagna area makes it the right gateway to discover northern Italy. There are a number of nice day journeys from Bologna from the close by rolling hills of Tuscany to Milan.

Listed below are some options.

  • Parma – Go to the house of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and prosciutto. Parma is an hour from Bologna by practice.
  • Modena – Well-known for its balsamic vinegar and the house of Ferrari, Modena can be an hour away by practice from Bologna.
  • Florence – At only one hour by practice, take pleasure in a few of the great issues to do in Florence on a day journey from Bologna.
  • Pisa – Go to essentially the most well-known structure advanced on the earth. Pisa is lower than 1 hour by practice from Bologna.
  • Siena – A lovely Tuscan metropolis, Siena Italy has probably the greatest medieval previous cities on the earth.
  • Milan – Simply over an hour by practice, spend a day strolling the long-lasting streets of Italy’s vogue capital.
  • Venice – Because of Italy’s quick practice community, Venice is just two hours from Bologna by practice.

OTHER THINGS TO DO IN BOLOGNA

Bologna is a stunning metropolis with a delightfully native vibe, which we completely loved. However not all of the points of interest of the Purple Metropolis might make it onto our record. If in case you have extra time, listed here are another issues to do in Bologna.

CANALE DI RENO

Bologna has a community of canals that had been created within the Center Ages for the transport of products and water. Most our now coated and just a few sections are seen. Canale di Reno is the most effective stretch, however you solely want a few minutes to seize a fast photograph.

MUSEO DELLA STORIA DI BOLOGNA

The Historical past of Bologna Museum is a whistle-stop tour by means of Bologna’s backstory. There isn’t any English on the knowledge boards, however you’ll be able to choose up an audio information to assist clarify what you’re looking at.

There’s little or no to really see within the museum (aside from the knowledge boards) so it’s a bit like studying the Wikipedia entry for Bologna.

MUSEI DI PALAZZO POGGI

There are a number of rooms making up the museums at Palazzo Poggi. Probably the most attention-grabbing is the Human Anatomy Museum which has a group of waxwork fetuses. There’s additionally a Pure Historical past Museum, a Museum of Ships and Geographical Maps. They may all be attention-grabbing; nonetheless, none are arrange nicely for non-Italian audio system.

MUSEO INTERNAZIONALE E BIBLIOTECA DELLA MUSICA

The Worldwide Music Museum and Library has an attention-grabbing assortment of previous devices. It’s additionally situated in a lavishly embellished home. Their key merchandise is the unique rating of Rossini’s Barber of Seville in Room 7 full with the previous leather-based binding.

MAMBO

Like several good fashionable artwork museum, Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna or MAMbo, wrestles with social commentary and political energy. It’s additionally a bit of indecipherable. If you happen to do determine to go to, the Historical past of the twenty first Century by Italian artist, Renato Guttuso is a spotlight.

BOLOGNA, ITALY MAP

Bologna is located in northern Italy, serving because the capital of the Emilia-Romagna area. All of the must-visit locations in Bologna that we talked about on this information are on the beneath map.

Methods to use this map / Click on on the highest left of the map to show the record of areas, then click on on the areas to show additional data. Click on on the highest proper nook of the map to open a bigger model in a brand new tab or the star to avoid wasting to your Google Maps.  


WHERE TO STAY IN BOLOGNA

Bologna is kind of a big metropolis of round 400,000 folks, however virtually all of the sights are in a compact space within the centre of city. If you happen to keep central, you’ll be able to simply discover this golden gem on foot.

Right here’s our choose of the most effective locations to remain to benefit from the metropolis.

GOOD VALUE B&B

TORTE & LINI

This very clear and fashionable redecorated B&B in an previous resident’s block is a brief stroll from Bologna Central and 20 minutes to the principle sq.. It overlooks the practice tracks, however double glazing does its job.


CHIC APARTMENTS

L’8 BOUTIQUE DESIGN APARTMENTS

Tremendous cool flats lovingly embellished in a buzzy a part of city, solely ten minutes from the central sq.. Some rooms include a lounge, others with a terrace.


OUR PICK

QUIRKY & RETRO

ART HOTEL COMMERCIANTI

On a quiet lane simply off the principle sq., this quirky lodge makes an important base for exploring the sights. Set within the former city corridor, individually styled rooms combine unique options with fashionable additions. E book the restricted parking prematurely.



Towers of Bologna between the golden buildings in early morning sunlight

TIPS FOR VISITING BOLOGNA

IS THE BOLOGNA WELCOME CARD WORTH IT?

The Bologna Welcome Card supplies entry to numerous museums, the Asinelli Tower, plus a guided strolling tour for €25 per individual.

You possibly can e-book it on-line earlier than you arrive, or choose it up from the Bologna Vacationer Workplace in Piazza Maggiore.

If you happen to visited the Bologna points of interest we listed on this information, then the Welcome Card shouldn’t be price it.

Nonetheless, should you keep for a bit longer and go to the Historical past Museum, the Worldwide Music Museum and do the strolling tour, it is going to pay for itself.

BOLOGNA ATTRACTIONS OPENING HOURS

Choose up a information with the opening occasions for all Bologna’s points of interest from the Vacationer Data Workplace in Piazza Maggiore if you first arrive as hours fluctuate significantly.

Usually, most museums are closed on Mondays and most church buildings shut over lunchtime for 2 to 3 hours.

GETTING AROUND BOLOGNA

Bologna is a really compact metropolis and strolling all over the place is achievable for most individuals. Attempt to keep as centrally as attainable and also you don’t want a taxi in any respect. The one exception is perhaps the stroll alongside the Portico di San Luca which is 4 kilometres.

View from Asinelli Tower, Bologna

BEST TIME TO GO TO BOLOGNA

The most effective time to go to Bologna is throughout the shoulder seasons of April to June and mid-September to November.

Over these occasions, the temperatures are usually comfy, there are fewer vacationers. Nonetheless, the inhabitants swells by about 100,000 college students however this provides it a enjoyable and buzzing ambiance.

As with most European locations, summer time is the height season when each the temperature and customer numbers are excessive.

In winter it may be moist and chilly with temperatures dropping to close freezing.

FESTIVALS & TRADE FAIRS

Most significantly, maintain your eye out for Bologna’s many commerce gala’s when costs for lodging can double.

We visited over the last day of the Ceramics Commerce Truthful in late September and the lodging costs had been by means of the roof.

HOW LONG DO YOU NEED IN BOLOGNA?

A lot of the greatest issues to do in Bologna may be seen in 2 days. 

Nonetheless a lot of the attraction is savouring the vitality of town so it’s price taking your time if in case you have it.

We suggest staying 3 days in Bologna. Two days to see the sights and one for a day journey of your alternative.

HOW TO GET TO BOLOGNA

Bologna has its personal worldwide airport (Airport G.Marconi) only a brief distance from city.

Taxis to the centre of town value €25 to €30 and take solely 20 minutes.

There’s additionally a practice service from the airport to town known as the Marconi Specific. The journey takes 7 minutes with one cease at Lazzaretto, earlier than terminating at Bologna Centrale. Tickets value €8.70.

BY TRAIN

Bologna Centrale is the most important practice station within the space with direct strains to many different Italian cities within the space. If you’re doing a tour of Italy, it’s very straightforward to attach Bologna together with your different locations.

TRAINS TO BOLOGNA


FLORENCE TO BOLOGNA

From 34 minutes | 76 providers per day

MILAN TO BOLOGNA

from 1 hour, 4 minutes | 71 providers per day

VENICE TO BOLOGNA

from 1 hour, quarter-hour |45 providers per day

ROME TO BOLOGNA

from 2 hours | 93 providers per day

View of the roof terracotta tops top of Bologna from the tower

MORE ITALY GUIDES

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