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Top 15 Amazing Things To Do in Bologna Italy (2023) | Attractions & Activities.

things-to-do-in-Bologna

Bologna is the capital of the Emilia-Romagna region in Northern Italy and has a current population of roughly 387,000 people, with a wider metropolitan population of somewhat more than one million people. Bologna is located in central Italy, to the north of Florence, to the south of Venice, and the southeast of Milan. Throughout history, Bologna has been an important cultural and commercial powerhouse in Italy, governed by the Etruscans, Celts, and Romans, in that order. Today, we’ll discuss the top amazing tourist attractions and the things to do in Bologna Italy.

From the 18th century until the time of Napoleon in the 1700s, this city was a part of the Papal States. A robust banking sector and the manufacturing sector are two of Bologna’s key economies. The city additionally functions as a significant transportation hub as a result of its position. Bologna, a significant university city with a rich history, boasts a remarkable selection of cultural attractions, fantastic architecture, and top-notch museums.

Where is Bologna, Italy?

Bologna is the capital of Italy’s Emilia Romagna region, which is located in northern Italy. It is Italy’s seventh-largest city, with a population of almost 400,000 people.

When to Visit Bologna?

Bologna, like most European towns, comes alive during the warmer months of May to October, when the weather is mild and there is little rain. The typical temperature in July and August is around 30 degrees Fahrenheit, which may be a little too hot to enjoy visiting the city. As a result, the best time to visit Bologna is in June or September, when the days are long and warm but not oppressive!

Where to Stay in Bologna, Italy?

The finest place to stay in Bologna is within the city walls, where you’ll be able to walk to everything. It would be great to stay somewhere within a 10-minute walk of Piazza Maggiore. If you intend to go on day trips, it’s also a good idea to examine the distance from the railway station.

Apartment

In Italy, we frequently rent flats because they are less expensive than hotels. We appreciate having extra space and a kitchen for healthier breakfasts than the standard croissant. The apartment in which we stayed is no longer available. It was located directly across from the Mercato dell’Erbe, a five-minute walk from Piazza Maggiore and a fifteen-minute walk from the train station.

Bologna Hotels

If you want to stay in a hotel, Hotel Centrale was repeatedly suggested in my study due to its central location near Piazza Maggiore and its historic building. Consider Hotel Corona d’Oro or the lavish five-star Grand Hotel Majestic “Gia’ Baglioni” for more luxury.

How Long Should You Stay in Bologna?

The city, on the other hand, rewards a longer stay. Bologna is becoming a popular weekend destination for residents of the United Kingdom and other European cities. You may explore all of the ancient attractions in two or three days, plus time for a culinary tour, the climb up to San Luca, shopping, and many more great dinners.

How to Get to Bologna?

Bologna Airport is located 6 km north of the city and is served by low-cost airlines Ryanair and Easyjet. You might possibly take a flight to Florence or Parma. Look for inexpensive flights on Kiwi.

The train is the finest method to go around Italy. Train timings to Bologna can be found on the Trenitalia website. You must use Italian place names (for example, Torino, not Turin).

  • Florence to Bologna – 35 minutes
  • Venice to Bologna – 1.5 hours
  • Rome to Bologna – 2 hours
  • Milan to Bologna – 1 hour

In this post, we’ve compiled a list of the top 15 things to do in Bologna Italy, so you may cross them off your travel itinerary.

Piazza Maggiore

The Piazza Maggiore, a vibrant hub of activity, offers a myriad of things to do in Bologna. The Piazza Maggiore, Bologna’s principal square, is located in the heart of the city and is a significant historical site. This piazza is surrounded by significant structures like the Pallazo d’Accursio, the Palazzo del Podesta, the Basilica di San Petronio, and the Palazzo Comunale.

In addition, to the northwest of the area is the Piazza del Nettuno, which houses the famed Fountain of Neptune. Admire the magnificent architecture, see the palaces and church, or dine at one of the restaurants hidden among the Porticos. The Piazza has terrific energy and ambiance, and open-air films and concerts are sometimes presented here.

Walk Bologna’s Endless Porticoes at Night

Bologna’s porticoes produce the most amazing urban panoramas, which we couldn’t help but fall in love with. They feature light and shadow, unusual architectural angles, columns, capitals, and frescoes.

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The Bologna porticoes, which are on the UNESCO World Heritage List, were constructed between the city’s affluent Middle Ages and the early 20th century when the expansion of the University necessitated additional space.

The city of Bologna has about 40 kilometers of porticoes, each with a distinctive design and layout. We had the impression that we were learning about the city and its past as we simply strolled the porticoes of the city. Taking a guided city walking tour is another fantastic opportunity to explore and learn about the porticoes; this will help you appreciate their significance and beauty. Doing a walk at night is truly one of the must-do things to do in Bologna Italy.

The Asinelli Tower, Climb to the top of Bologna

Bologna’s twin towers also referred to as Le Due Torri, are the top tourist destination and a well-known representation of the city. The towers were built by the wealthy Asinelli and Garisenda families beginning in the 11th century as status symbols and defensive fortifications. They were positioned in a strategic location along the Via Emilia (Aemilian Way) access point into the city to ward off any prospective attackers.

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Bologna is visible from every angle amid the spectacular panoramic vistas of the red city. The magnificent Piazza Maggiore and Basilica of San Luca are to the west, and the route Emilia, an old Roman road, is to the southwest.

And if you’re feeling strong, dangle your head over the railing and gaze down at the Piazza of Porta Ravegana and the smaller, sagging Garisenda Tower below. A must-do activity that highlights Bologna’s rich legacy is exploring the towers, which need to be on every traveler’s list of Things To Do in Bologna Itlay.

San Petronio

There are plenty of things to do in Bologna and one of them is to visit San Petronio. This enormous building, which has a commanding presence in the middle of Piazza Maggiore, is the tenth-largest church in the world by volume. The Gothic-style church, which is dedicated to Saint Petronius, who is the patron saint of Bologna, is renowned for both its immense size and its incomplete front facade.

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The church, which was first built between the years of 1388 and 1479, has never been completely finished, and its front face is extremely peculiar: the lower half has stonework made of colored marble, while the top half is left bare and has exposed brown brickwork. There are plenty of things to do in Bologna and exploring this iconic landmark is one of them.

Archiginnasio

The Archiginnasio, one of Bologna’s most significant structures, previously served as the heart of the university and is now home to the renowned Anatomical Theatre. This magnificent structure is situated on the Piazza Galvani and was built in the 16th century.

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The Anatomical Theatre is unquestionably the centerpiece of the Achiginnasio, which is fantastic in and of itself as a piece of medieval architecture. This tiny space was entirely made of wood, and it features an enormous amount of wood paneling and carved statues of notable medical professionals. Students at the university would have studied human anatomy here and observed dissections, surgical demonstrations, etc.

Take A Bologna Food Tour

Indeed, one of the nicest things to do in Bologna is to eat, and the city is Italy’s gourmet capital, reigning supreme in a nation known for its cuisine.

The first thing to know is that bolognese, or tagliatelle al ragù, originated in Bologna. Second, the Emilia Romagna region is the origin of many delicious foods, like the renowned Parmigiano Reggiano, or parmesan, tortellini, tortelloni, mortadella, Parma ham, balsamic vinegar, and many others.  Thirdly, it won’t break the pocketbook to eat all this fantastic food.

We advise trying these necessary dishes while visiting Bologna:

  • Tagliatelle al ragù
  • Tortellini in broth
  • Pumpkin Tortelli with parmesan
  • Butter and sage Tortelloni

The Via della Moline provides a wide range of traditional restaurants serving Bolognese cuisine, all of which include sizable terrace areas ideal for summer dining. But if you’re looking for a more cutting-edge, contemporary take on Bologna’s well-known cuisine, the streets off Mercato delle Erbe are teeming with ultra-hip Italian trattoria serving truly delectable fare.

The Bologna National Gallery features works that are somehow connected to the Emilian area and the city, unlike several galleries that exhibit works from several nations. These paintings date from as far back as the thirteenth century and as recently as the eighteenth century.

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The museum is conveniently close to both the city’s main Piazza Maggiore and the perimeter of the former university complex. The museum is divided into two main areas: the Accademia Clementina and the Gallery of the Academy of Fine Arts. The former houses a wide variety of amazing Byzantine paintings from the 13th century, while the latter houses subsequent pieces.

Ferrari Museum In Bologna’s Motor Valley

Did you know that the Motor Valley, which is located just outside of Bologna, is home to Maserati, Pagani, Ducati, and Ferrari? Each of these companies offers factory and/or museum tours and even offers expensive test drives for certain of their vehicles.

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The 12-cylinder sports automobile that made Enzo Ferrari famous is commemorated in two Ferrari museums. Enzo Ferrari, the man behind the legendary Ferrari brand, is a native of Modena.

On a Ferrari and Pavarotti Land Tour, combine it with a trip to the residence of Luciano Pavarotti, one of Modena’s illustrious sons. To see all in this area of Bologna, take a brief overnight car trip to the Valley. This must be on the list of things to do in Bologna for every traveler who enjoys driving.

Monte della Guardia

The Monte della Guardia’s summit is reached via the world’s longest portico. This 300-meter-high hill that is covered in trees offers a great getaway from the city. The hill is near the Reno River and is to the southwest of Bologna.

To get to the summit of this magnificent hill, walk the length of the portico and climb the slopes. Unparalleled panoramic views of Bologna and the surroundings await you at the summit. On top of the hill, there sits the lovely Sanctuary of the Madonna of San Luca, which is a wonderful church in and of itself. and every tourist must have this on their list of things to do in Bologna.

Museum of Modern Art (MAMBO)

MAMbo, a creative and experimental hub with permanent and loaned collections spread across 9,500 square meters of contemporary, architecturally flowing floor space, is housed in a former bread bakery. Nine distinct topics, spanning the 20th century to the present, make up the permanent collection.

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Our favorite exhibit was that of Giorgio Morandi, a well-known still-life painter from Bologna. The exhibition examines the themes and periods that defined Morandi’s work and includes some of his most well-known and noteworthy pieces.

Mast Museum of Technology

A modernist museum highlighting business and technology that seems out of place in a city with such a rich history should also be on the list of things to do in Bologna.

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The Coesia Group, which creates industrial and packaging solutions for major brands, is one of the world’s leading corporations that has its headquarters in the city and the surrounding area of Emilia Romagna.

Coesia founded the MAST Foundation, an international cultural and charitable organization centered on art, technology, and innovation, to create a bridge between business and the city (and its residents). There are two sizable galleries and shows at the modernist MAST Gallery. For both children and adults, the extremely interactive Innovation Gallery highlights business and work through exhibitions and art.

Torre Prendiparte

Only a small number of the Middle Ages’ numerous tall, slender stone towers that originally dotted Bologna remain today in their original configurations, one of which is the Torre Prendiparte.

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This specific tower is 59.50 meters tall and was built in the 12th century. The tower is near the two leaning towers and the Piazza Maggiore because it is situated on the Piazza Prendiparte. It’s one of the top things to do in Bologna for a memorable experience.

Although it now houses a bed and breakfast that provides a distinctive experience, the tower’s levels are still accessible, allowing you to ascend to the top and explore this magnificent structure.

Museo per la Memoria di Ustica

The Museum for the Memory of Ustica is a sad and dismal attraction that honors the tragic Ustica Disaster and is nonetheless a significant piece of Bologna’s history; it remains a meaningful and informative attraction among the things to do in Bologna. In 1980, a Douglas DC-9 with 81 passengers traveling to Palermo was torn apart, crashed, and all those on board perished.

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The cause of the crash is still a topic of intense debate and ongoing research in this catastrophe. You may find the rebuilt DC-9 site inside this museum, along with a selection of photos and personal belongings from the terrible victims. This thoughtfully built museum honors those who perished in the Ustica disaster and allows you to pay your respects.

Oratory of Battuti

Obratory of Battuti ranked second to last in our list of things to do in Bologna Italy. One of the little-known discoveries in Bologna, this tiny chapel inside the Santa Maria della Vita church has a remarkable amount of design and decoration. Floriano Ambrosini was the architect who oversaw the construction of the Oratory in 1604.

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Many sculptures, including statues of St. Proculus and St. Petronius, as well as lovely frescos, can be found inside the Oratory. The magnificent image of the Madonna ascending to heaven is visible on the ceiling if you lean your head back, and there is other religious artwork on the walls.

La Finestrela

On our list of things to do in Bologna, last but not least is visiting La Finestrela. Although this undiscovered small gem may be somewhat overrated, it’s worth the search to locate it by avoiding busy streets and going to quieter ones. Another reason to explore Bologna on foot is that it never ceases to surprise you.

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This charming little window, known as la Finestrela alla piccola Venezia (the window to the small Venice), can be seen near Via Piella. Along with the unexpected and lovely canal view, this area is home to some of Bologna’s top dining establishments.

Wrapping Up

Find the top things to do in Bologna, Italy. There is something for everyone in the city, from discovering historical sites like Piazza Maggiore and the Basilica of San Petronio to indulging in culinary delights. Immerse yourself in Bologna’s thriving culture and extensive past. Discover hidden gems, visit galleries, and indulge in local food. Make your unforgettable trip plans right away.

FAQ’s

How long does it take to visit Bologna?

100 years would not be sufficient to truly understand it. However, spending a day in the old town will be sufficient to appreciate some of its charm.
In particular, we advise that you:
Take a stroll around the Quadrilatero and Piazza Maggiore.
Think about the Two Towers from the Via Rizzoli book.
Investigate the Seven Churches complex.

What to do in Bologna for free?

You can engage in some activities for nothing by traveling to the Emilia Romagna Region. Here are a few events you shouldn’t miss:
Irnerio Street’s Botanical Garden is worth a visit.
On the first Sunday of every month, visit one of the city’s public museums.
The “Little Venice” can be seen if you look out of the Piella Street window.

What to see in Bologna in one day on foot?

The best way to appreciate the city’s alleys is probably on foot. The walk to the Central Station from Central Square takes about 15 minutes. You can use our 1-day itinerary after arriving.

What to see in Bologna in three days?

If you spend at least 3 days in the city, you can visit all the top sights, including:
 
1. Garisenda and Asinelli towers
2. Church in San Petronio
3. The region of Quadrilatero
4. Multiple Seven Churches
5. The Maggiore Plaza
6. Building Archiginnasio
7. The Fountain of Neptune
8. Sanctuary of the Madonna of San Luca
9. Piella Street’s little window and “The Little Venice”
10. The Museum of Modern Art of Bologna (MAMBO)

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