The Very Best Things to do in Bologna, Italy

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Staying in Bologna for an prolonged time frame allowed us to actually expertise Italy like an area. 

It rivals Florence or Pisa and there are such a lot of issues to do in Bologna, you will be shocked!

Located in the guts of the Emilia Romagna area of Italy, Bologna is a perfect metropolis to make a base when touring across the central area of the nation.

20 Things to Do in Bologna

Bologna has that genuine really feel that you could be not discover in locations like Venice or Florence.

What makes Bologna much more interesting is how reasonably priced it’s.

This is a spot that does not cost you extra in case you determine to sit down in your espresso and lodging is way extra affordable than the opposite massive vacationer attracts in Italy.

Bologna welcomes you into its coronary heart and you’ll really feel heat and welcome throughout your whole keep.

Fast Tips: Bologna


Is Bologna Worth Visiting?

Bologna is unquestionably price visiting. It is taken into account the gastronomical capital of Italy, it has a greater leaning tower than Pisa and its porticoes and historic buildings are a must-see.

What is Bologna Famous For?

Bologna is known for its meals. It is likely one of the finest locations to eat in Italy. It additionally homes the oldest college in the world and it has the tallest leaning tower in Italy. The well-known porticoes are a prime attraction as nicely.

Where is Bologna?

Bologna is situated in the Emilia Romagna Region of Northern Italy. It is located between Venice and Florence and is definitely accessed by practice.


Visit Bologna

Did you recognize? Bologna known as the smart the purple and the wealthy.

The Wise – Housing the oldest college in the world.

  • The Red – The metropolis’s well-known medieval purple roofs.
  • The Rich – It is understood for its wealthy meals and flavours.
  • It’s identify comes from having knowledge – Housing the oldest college in the world.

Bologna is a particular place to go to and to make a base in Italy and these are the the reason why.

1. Climb Italy’s Tallest Leaning Tower – Asinelli Tower

Move over Pisa, Bologna has a fantastic leaning tower of its personal.

When you go to Asinelli Tower in the guts of the town, you will not really feel like you have got stepped right into a vacationer lure.

This tower is previous, it is leaning, and whereas strolling up its teetering stairs, you will undoubtedly really feel such as you’re on an journey.

The picket stairs are slender and all that separates you from a tumble beneath is a skinny picket railing.

But the climb is price it since you’ll come out to a unprecedented view of the traditional metropolis’s rooftops.

Cost: €Three

2. Try Traditional Balsamic Vinegar 

things to do in bologna taste balsamic vinegar
Aged Balsamic Vinegar is unimaginable

Traditional balsamic vinegar can promote for €50-€100 a bottle. After studying about the way it’s made and I can perceive why.

It takes a minimal 7-years to age conventional balsamic with most batches sitting in barrels up to 15 years.

Some is even aged for 45 years. This is not the balsamic vinegar that we purchase on the grocery retailer at residence and placed on salads, conventional balsamic is thick and scrumptious.

You solely want a number of drops to drizzle over something you need together with pasta, strawberries, cheese and even ice cream!

Read all about Balsamic Vinegar at our Traditional Balsamic Vinegar, 150 Years in the Making

Cost: Eat balsamic vinegar it at a restaurant or throughout Aperitvo, you then will not really feel the sting of €100 per bottle

Three. Eat Parmigiano Reggiano

what to do in Bologna Parmigiano Regianno
You should attempt the Parmigiano Regianno with Balsamic Vinegar

Speaking of Cheese, Parma is only a quick practice experience away from Bologna and you need to eat Parmesan cheese when visiting.

Italians will inform you it is vitally good for you and you need to eat it day-after-day. (Twist my arm, I am recreation to give it a attempt) We did find yourself consuming parmesan day-after-day, all day.

After a run,  earlier than dinner, after dinner with prosecco…you identify the time of day, we ate the unimaginable Parmesan Reggiano.

Like conventional balsamic, tender loving care goes into making parmesan cheese. It is aged for 2 years and hand rotated each day to evenly distribute the flavour.

It’s a small fortune to purchase right here in Canada, however I’ve received a bottle of balsamic simply itching to be eaten with a bit of Parmigiano Regianno.

You can take guided excursions from Bologna of cheese factories in Parma.

Parma is only a a brief practice experience from Bologna.

Four. The Western World’s Oldest University – Teatro Anatomico

bologna travel guide world's oldest university

Bologna was a progressive city in the Middle Ages and it’s residence to the oldest college in the Western world based in 1088.

The Anatomical Theatre or Teatro Anatomico, was constructed in 1636 changing the unique courting again to 1595.

This was the place autopsies passed off to train college college students about human anatomy.

There weren’t coolers in these days so our bodies have been freshly dissected as college students watched on from the picket tiers.

Our information Nicolas instructed us that the seats have been made to be uncomfortable and erect in order that the scholars could not go to sleep.

They’d be in there for hours on finish because the post-mortem had to be accomplished in one session.

The college is a captivating tour.

Bologna was fashionable and embraced science – a lot to the chagrin of the church.

A bishop had to overlook all autopsies to be sure that the professor did not go towards something that the church believed.

Cost: Free

5. Stroll the Porticoes

bologna sightseeing strolling porticoes
You by no means have to fear about climate strolling underneath the Porticoes

Because Bologna was booming due to its thriving college, additional housing was wanted for college kids.

The college was situated downtown,

Instead of constructing exterior the town, Bologna constructed facades on the entrance of their buildings into the streets.

These scholar housings have been constructed on the entrance of already present buildings with a stipulation that they have to be extensive and excessive sufficient to permit horse carts to go.

Thus, large archways have been constructed all through the town.

Today, there may be 45 km of archways (aka Porticoes) left standing that permit for pedestrians to stroll underneath the gorgeous buildings sheltered from dangerous climate together with rain and sizzling solar.

Getting misplaced in the porticoes makes for a pleasing afternoon of procuring.

Cost: Free

6. Longest Portico to Monte della Guardia

Take a day and stroll from downtown Bologna to the Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca.

This hours’ stroll takes you thru the longest portico in the world. It is definitely a connection of many lined walkways that leads tup to Monte della Guardia, the very best level in Bologna.

At the highest is the Church and great panoramic views of Bologna.

7. Piazza Maggiore

things to see in Bologna Piazza Maggiore
The major sq. of Bologna is the Piazza Maggiore

The major plaza of Bologna is Piazza Maggiore and there’s a lot to see right here together with the Basilica of San Petronio.

This church was meant to be the most important church in the world, however when the Vatican caught wind of the development, they put a halt to that.

Bologna was a metropolis that did not go gaga over the church like different Italian cities and the Basilica of San Petronio was a communal venture as opposed to being run by the Bishops.

This Basilica is not Bologna’s major church opposite to standard perception. The precise major church of Bologna is situated on the principle avenue of dell’Indipendenza, Cattedrale di San Pietro.

It would not stand on a grand sq. like different church buildings in Italy. This Cathedral is definitely missed as it’s situated on the sidewalk of the road!

eight. Neptune’s Fountain

Located subsequent to Piazza Maggiore is Piazza del Nettuno that centres across the sculpture of Neptune’s Fountain.

The fountain is an imposing sight with the God Neptune standing atop a three-tiered fountain consisting of Nereids and Cherubs.

Construction dates again to 1567.

9. Basilica of San Petronio

bologna day tours spessano castle
Spessano Castle

This lovely church situated in Piazza Maggiore is likely one of the largest in the world!

Construction started in 1390 and to at the present time it has but to be completed.

The church is stuffed with artwork and sculptures portraying the previous and new testaments, however essentially the most notable murals is the Meridian Line.

Designed in 1655 by astronomer Giovanni Domenico Cassini to meaure time.

With the college being so distinguished in Bologna, many scholar taught right here and Cassini (who taught on the faculty) created one of many largest astronomical devices in the world!

Each day at midday, the solar falls on the meridian line the place one can decide issues just like the timing of the equinox and solstice.

10. San Petronio’s Terrace

When visiting the church ensure to go to the again for entry to the rooftop.

Access is from exterior the constructing the place an elevator will take you to the highest for the most effective views of Bologna.

The metropolis is gorgeous to view from above and the encircling hills of Emilia Romagna is breathtaking.

11. Eat Gelato 

things to eat in bologna gelato
Gelato is so good in Bologna, they’ve their very own college

Bologna is residence to the foremost Gelato Machine firm in the world. So the retailers that promote Gelato are second to none!

Unlike locations in Rome and Florence the place there are a number of gelato retailers that promote a budget stuff.

You might be sure to all the time have high quality gelato in Bologna.

Carbigiani Gelato University provides programs for a €900 that you’re going to get again after you purchase their €21,000 machine.

Don’t have €21,000 to spare? That’s okay, tasting gelato is rather more enjoyable.

Bologna has many genuine gelato retailers the place you will grow to be addicted to the wealthy and creamy style.

The rule of gelato in Italy…eat it at the very least twice a day.

Cremeria Santo Stefano

The finest spot to go for Gelato in Bologna is Cremeria Santo Stefano. It thought-about to have one of the best gelato in all of Italy!

12. Basilica di Santo Stefano

While you might be trying to find Gelato on the Cremeria Santo Stefano, ensure to peruse the sq. of Piazza Santo Stefano.

It is right here that you can find the Basilica is named the Seven Churches. (Sette Chiese). Today solely 4 stay.

You can go to the 4 church buildings Crocefisso, Santo Sepolcro, Santi Vitale e Agricola, and Chiesa della Trinità to see historic websites courting again to the eighth century.

Check out Gelato vs Ice Cream: A Showdown in Bologna

13. Go to Gelato University

unique things to do in bologna | geltao university

Located simply 30 minutes exterior of Bologna, Carpigiani Gelato not solely provides programs to the individuals who purchase them however there may be additionally a Gelato Museum that runs guests by the historical past of Ice Cream.

We walked by the museum, discovered concerning the origins of ice cream in the hills of Greece and the Roman Empire after which discovered how gelato is made.

When it was all stated and carried out, we have been despatched residence with tubs of gelato of our alternative!

How can we go improper?

14. Have an Aperitivo

what to eat in Bologna aperativo
Apperitivo is standard in Bologna

One of our favorite nightly occasions was discovering a spot to have aperitivo, an Italian Tradition.

Many eating places and bars opened their doorways at 6:00 pm for patrons to order a drink.

Most folks order a Spritz, Prosecco (white glowing wine) or Lambrusco (purple glowing wine)

What makes aperitivo so particular? Well, once you order a drink, you robotically are allowed to eat free of charge.

Bars vary from having a number of snacks like pizza and sliders to full on buffets with pasta, cheese, risottos and meats. As lengthy as you stored a full glass, you could possibly carry on consuming.

15. Museo per la Memoria di Ustica

This museum is a memorial to a flight that was shot down on June 27th, 1980.

There are 81 blinking lights and 81 darkened mirrors representing the 81 those who died in the tragedy.

The flight originated in Bologna and was heading to Palermo. It is believed that the airplane was  focused by mistake by a missile from NATO forces.

Cost: €Four-€eight per drink

16. Meet the Locals

things to do in bologna italy, meet the locals

In Bologna, everyone seems to be pleasant. It was widespread for us to get a hug or two whereas we shopped.

I would by no means consider coming into a retailer simply to say howdy in Rome or in Venice, however in Bologna, we would see folks hanging out in a barber store or shoe restore and as an alternative of strolling by, we would pop in to say howdy.

Everyone all the time had massive smiles on their faces and received a kick out of us taking the time to say “what’s up?”

17. Via Drapperie

things to see in bologna markets
Make positive to browse the native markets

Heading out from Piazza Maggiore, we take you to an previous medieval market of alleyways.

Via Drapperie is a pedestrian avenue stuffed with distributors promoting recent vegetables and fruit, breads and cheeses.

It is the guts of the historic centre of Bologna and is a should to cease in and seize every thing you want for a picnic.

Bologna is a market metropolis and there are completely different ones from clothes, antiques and most undoubtedly meals.

There is a pedestrian avenue stuffed with fruit, meat and cheese markets that we shopped at often.

You’ll discover conventional balsamic, cured meats, Parmigiano Reggiano and recent vegetables and fruit. It’s all high quality meals for a small value.

Other Bologna Markets

Markets pop up throughout Bologna, and we spent many a day looking the color and energetic communities.

  • We observed the clothes market had nice offers too that I can’t bear in mind the identify of, but it surely was close to the practice station.
  • There is Mercato delle Erbe a fantastic place to store for meals and lunch.
  • Mercato Ritrovato – An excellent weekend market to choose up cheese and wine
  • Merctato di Mezzo – it is Bologna’s authentic market and the oldest surviving market

As we stated at first, Bologna is not solely an incredible vacation spot, it is also reasonably priced and a should do metropolis for anybody visiting Italy.

18. Bologna Food Tours

We ate till our coronary heart’s content material in Bologna, and the easiest way to get acquainted with Bologna delicacies is to take a meals tour.

You will discover among the finest Italian meals in Bologna and the best way to expertise it’s with a meals tour.

There are some steered meals excursions to take.

The finest manner to go to Bologna is thru your abdomen. We use Get Your Guide to e-book excursions world wide.

Most excursions have free cancellation inside 24 hours of the exercise they usually take final minute bookings additionally.

Bologna Three- Hour Secret Food Tour – Starting in the Quadrilatero space of Bologna, this tour takes you thru a gastronomy tour of balsamic vinegar, Parmigiano Reggiano, and different cheeses and charcuterie samples. You’ll additionally go to Bologna’s oldest tavern.

Three.5 hour meals and strolling tour – This is an efficient orientation to Bologna with a meals twist. Starting on the Fountain of Neptune close to Piazza Maggiore you’ll proceed on to 5 tasting experiences together with tasting  torta di riso (rice cake) in Bologna’s oldest bakery

Traditional Guided Food Tour – This distinctive meals tour provides you the possibility to be taught of Italian meals in the standard sense.

FICO Eataly Food Tour – FICO Eataly is the most important meals park in the world! Here you’ll find out about Italian agro-food variety.

Start in the fields to be taught concerning the Italian crops after which head to FICO Eataly to discuss to artisans and farmers.

Finally end off  by tasting at Three completely different meals kiosks

What to Eat in Bologna

  • Aged Balsamic Vinegar – Traditional Balsamic Vinegar is made in Emilia Romagna and aged up 24 months!
  • Parmesan Cheese – Parmigiano Reggiano is made to perfection right here and aged up to 7 years!
  • Mortadella – Mortadella is the unique Bologna. Yep, that is the place our luncheon meats got here from as youngsters. Only in Bologna, it’s known as Mortadella.
  • Gelato – one of the best gelaterias in Italy might be discovered right here and the gelato museum and gelato faculty is in Bologna. This is one of the best place to attempt it in the nation.
  • prosciutto di parma – Great care goes into this cured ham. Pigs are fed a particular eating regimen of cheese whey from Parmigiano Reggiano and after slaughter, their legs are despatched the place it’s instantly salted and saved. For cured meats, that is the creme de la creme.
  • Pastas – Bologna is the birthplace of many sorts of pasta together with tagliatelle, cappelletti, taglioni, tortellini, and lasagne.
  • Tortellini – Bologna is known for its handmade pasta and Tortellini full of meat is its specialty.
  • Tagliatelle al Ragu – Bolognese sauce was invented in Bologna. And tagliatelle al Ragu is a elaborate identify for spaghetti bolognese. But in Bologna they do not use spaghetti which is not actually part of their delicacies, as an alternative, they use tagliatelle.

Day Trips from Bologna

Bologna is central to many wonderful locations. Its simple to journey by practice anyplace from Central Train Station.

We took many day journeys from Bologna to close by cities and into the countryside.

Therea re a number of of our favourite day journeys round Bologna.

19. Modena

There are many issues to do in Modena together with the cathedral and museums. Learning of Balsamic vinegar and visiting the birthplace of Luciano Pavoratti.

But its the Ferrari Museums that basically caught our consideration.

Ferrari Museums

things to do bologna | ferrari museum

Modena is known for Ferrari and right here you may go to the Ferrari museums. Ferrari is such an enormous a part of the tradition that there are literally 2 ferrari museums. One in Modena and one in Marinello.

One goes to Enzo Ferraris residence and the futuristic museum subsequent door. And the opposite is a 30 minute shuttle away to view an enormous Formula 1 Museum.

Auto Dromo di Modena

what to do in bologna italy | racetrack ferarri

Once you have had your fill of seeing Ferraris, go to the Auto Dromo di Modena to drive a racing Ferrari across the observe with knowledgeable driver.

It is superior!

  • Read all about our expertise on the museums and on the observe right here.

Maranello Ferrari Museum

Maranello is residence to the Ferrari museum and it is a disgrace that extra folks don’t remain for some time to see the great thing about the area.

Most pop into city, see the museum and head on to the following vacationer cease on the record. But you recognize what?

This is a uncommon gem of Italy that requires a keep of at the very least a few days.

20. Cycling Maranello

day trips from Bologna Italy
Cycling the hills of Maranello

Vineyards are in every single place in Emilia Romagna, it is pure for households to have their very own advantageous wine available.

This is a wonderful place to take a biking tour of The Apennines

Our biking tour took us by the countryside have been we stopped at a vegetable stand to eat recent tomatoes after which made our manner to Spessano Castle.

Spessano Castle

We cycled up and down and up and down till we reached sanctuary on the Spessano Castle.

This fortress is price stopping for and shouldn’t be rushed. We’ve been to lots of castles, however this one was fairly particular.

We have been enthralled with the Sala delle Vedute, a gathering area displaying a panoramic portray of native castles and villages from the Medieval instances.

We have been surrounded by the view of what it was like in these foothills centuries in the past.

The Spezzano Castle dates again to the 1200’s and far of the furnishings, artwork and design is as previous because the constructing itself.

21. Little Venice – Commachio

what to see in bologna italy | commachio canals

Bologna has its personal hidden canals that you would be able to seek for.

They are on everybody’s “things to do in Bologna lists” however we did not’ discover them overly spectacular. Venice has the spectacular Canals, not Bologna.

But, there’s a city known as Commachio that may be a good day journey from Bologna that is named the Venice of Emilia Romagna.

It is a city constructed on 13 completely different islets linked by waterways and canals.

Sophia Loren filmed a film right here, there’s a fishing museum that’s fascinating to go to and the city is known for eel. Try some once you go to!

22. San Marino

san marino | Bologna day trips
View from the Fort of San Marino overlooking Emilia Romagna

San Marino is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is an attractive medieval city that’s its personal nation.

It is a sovereign nation that’s fully surrounded by Italy and it isn’t too removed from Bologna.

San Marino is taken into account to be one of many wealthiest international locations in the world per capita.

It solely has about 30,000 residents inside its small radius of  61 sq. km however all of them do very nicely in tourism, business, and finance.

It is a superb day journey or in a single day journey from Bologna.

  • Read about our journey to San Marino from Bologna right here.

More Information on Bologna Day Trips

For extra info on biking Maranello, go to Trekking Italy
For lodges in Montesa go to Hotel Belvedere
Trains from Bologna to Vignola are one hour and value about 6 Euro reserving might be made at Trenitalia.com

Recommended Bologna Hotels

Grand Hotel Magestic

The solely 5 Star lodge in Bologna situated proper in the guts of downtown free WiFi & breakfast buffet.

Check out Availability & Prices

Metropolitan Hotel 

Modern lodge at reasonably priced costs situated downtown with breakfast included.

Check out Availability & Prices

Bologna Essentials

How to Get to Bologna

You can fly direct into the Bologna Airport from International and European locations.

It can be simply accessible by practice. We travelled to Bologna by practice and took most of our day journeys from Bologna by practice.

More reasonably priced worldwide flights are most likely finest served to Florence, Venice or Pisa the place you may take the practice to Bologna.

Search for flights to Bologna with Skyscanner

Recommended Tours in Bologna

Get your Guide – Great reserving website for excursions and reductions round Bologna. Here are steered excursions by them.
Ferrari Tour – Emilia Romagna is residence to Ferrari, so see it in fashion like an area wit this full day meals and Ferrari.
Airport Transfer – Get to and from the airport with simple for under $57 per group.
Gelato Tasting and Bike Tour – Two of our favorite issues. Gelato and biking. The finest gelato is made in Bologna. See the town and pattern the treats.
Private Guided Walking Tour – The Best manner to see the town is on a guided tour. Customize it your self by yourself personal tour. Bologna is a straightforward metropolis to stroll.

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Things to do in Bologna Italy
The Very Best Things to do in Bologna, Italy

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About Dave And Deb

Dave and Deb are the homeowners and founders of The Planet D. Since launching in 2008 they’ve continued to encourage “Adventure in Everyone” and present that you do not have to be an uber athlete or super-rich in order to be an adventurer.


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