Bologna (Emilian: Bulåggna) is a historical city, with around 380,000 inhabitants. Although it is well known by Italians, it is less so among foreign visitors. Little English is spoken by its residents. It is the capital and largest city of Emilia-Romagna (a region in northern Italy). Bologna is famed for the oldest university in the Western world, lively student population, exquisite food, typical brick terracotta-roofed architecture and porticos, theatre and nightlife.
Bologna is famous for its cuisine (la cucina Bolognese). It is also viewed as a progressive and well-administered city. It is considered second only to Venice in beauty by many Italians and certainly has one of the largest and best preserved historic centers among Italian cities. Its architecture is noted for its palette of terracotta reds, burnt oranges, and warm yellows, hence the name of Bologna la rossa (Bologna the red). The extensive town center, characterized by miles of attractive covered walkways, known as "porticos," is one of the best-preserved in Europe.
Bologna is the seat of the oldest university in continental Europe, founded in 1088. A significant portion of its population consists of away-from-home university students. In common with other Italian university towns, it is in parts marred by excessive graffiti on its historic palaces.
The strategic location of the city molded its history. Inhabited since the 10th century BC during the Iron Age, it was fortified by the Celts and became a municipality under the Romans. The presence through the centuries of the Huns, Goths, Lombards, Franks, Austrians and French, have each left traces which are still visible on the city today.
Bologna struggled for autonomy, having been dominated by emperors, kings, and the Church. It was ruled by the Pepoli and Bentivoglio families, and was a papal fiefdom. The papal power made it a city of the Guelphs, while many of its residents supported the anti-Papal Ghibellines. Bologna had the first city council in Italy, and was, with the Liber Paradisus law in 1256, one of the first cities in the world to abolish slavery. This political activity was rooted in the lively environment surrounding the Alma Mater, as the university was known.
Bologna was the home of such personalities as Father Martini, a collector, composer and master of counterpoint who was a notable and complex protagonist of European music of the thirteenth century. Among his students were Johann Christian Bach (son of J.S Bach) and the young W.A Mozart. During the 19th century the Philharmonic Academy drew important personalities such as Rossini, Verdi, Brahms, Wagner, Puccini and Liszt.
Bologna was named a Creative City of Music by UNESCO in 2006. Music is performed throughout the city: in the Teatro Comunale (the Opera Theatre), by the Orchestra Mozart youth orchestra, founded and directed by Claudio Abbado, and in clubs and inns where jazz is regularly played. There are open-air concerts and music can be heard at the Conservatory, the Opera School, and hundreds of music associations operating within the territory.
Bologna's scientists have included Galvani and Marconi. Native or visiting painters and artists have included Morandi, Guido Reni, Guercino, the Carraccis, Leonardo (one of the legends about the Mona Lisa tells that this was where he painted his famous masterpiece), Giotto (there was a chapel in Piazza XX Settembre entirely painted a fresco by Giotto which was destroyed when Bologna was fighting against the Pope), Cassini (who made the world’s longest sundial, now located inside Basilica S. Petronio), and Michelangelo (on the arc in Basilica S. Domenico can be found his sculpture of an angel holding a candelabra). Napoleon re-arranged the urban plan of the city and Carlo V was crowned emperor in Bologna's Basilica S. Petronio.
When to visit
Bologna is at its best from March/April to October, when it is warm and there is much outdoor sipping and dining, or just sitting in squares such as Piazza Santo Stefano and Piazza Maggiore. However, during July and August it can be very hot and sticky. In August, as is the case in much of Italy in the summer, many shops and restaurants are closed for the summer vacation.
Winter can be cold, but Bologna is beautiful the two weeks before Christmas. January and February often feature cloudless blue skies, but the clear weather is often the coldest: you will need a coat, scarf, hat and gloves.
- 1 Bologna Welcome (Convention & Visitor Bureau of Bologna), Piazza Maggiore 1/e, ☏ . M-Sa 09:00-19:00, Su 10:00-17:00.
Bologna's airport is approximately 6 km NW from the centre of the city:
- 1 Guglielmo Marconi (Bologna) International Airport (BLQ IATA), Via Triumvirato, 84, ☏ . The airport has international connections available, including nonstop flights to Amsterdam Schiphol, Brussels (National), Charleroi ("Brussels" South), Copenhagen Airport, Dublin, Edinburgh, Istanbul, Lisbon, London, Madrid Barajas, Manchester Airport, Moscow, Paris, Prague, Vienna Airport, and Zagreb (seasonal).
- WiFI – free, registration required.
- Left luggage (1st floor of the main terminal). 24/7. € 6 per item.
- Bologna Welcome - Airport (Tourist Information Office) (ground floor at the Arrivals Area), ☏ . M-Sa 09:00-19:00, Su 10:00-17:00.
Connections to the city:
- Aerobus (the stop is just outside the main terminal building). 05:30-00:15 (from the airport); 05:00-23:35 (from the railway station). This service connects the airport with the Bologna Centrale railway station. A full journey takes about 20 minutes. On its way from the airport to Centrale it makes a stop close to the city centre (Mille). €6 tickets also can be used with 75 min to travel around the city..
- Bus #54 goes towards the west suburbs of Bologna, and will get you on to the other routes.
- Buses #81 and #91 could be taken form a bus stop Birra on other side of the elevated motorway, which is within 10 min. walk distance from the airport. The both buses terminate at the Bologna Centrale. Bus tickets are valid for 75 minutes travel and cost €1.5.
- Taxi – a journey to the city centre could cost approx. €15.
Due to its central location and geography, Bologna has been developed into one of the major railway transport hub of northern Italy, making it very well-connected with other major Italian centers. Bologna is in 37 minutes from Florence, 2hr 20min from Rome, 2 hours from Venice, 1 hour from Ferrara, etc. A modern high speed railway line allows to reach Milan in approximately 65 minutes. The other branch of this line connects Bologna with Rome.
There are Eurocity trains to Munich (Germany) and Wien (Austria)
There is also an overnight sleeper service from Paris Bercy to Bologna. Departs Paris 18:52, and arrives Bologna at 06:00. Return departs Bologna 22:30 arrives Paris 09:06.
Side note: While taking the train south from Milan, don't forget to catch a glimpse of the Duomo perched above Bologna in the south. It is especially interesting at sunset.
Flixbus, Baltour and Marino are the main bus companies.
The city is at the junction of the A1, A14 and A13 highways, and so is easily accessible from anywhere in Italy. Most traffic from Milan would exit the A1 and take the Tangenziale, but beware this road at rush hour because it is horrendously packed. Expect to use 2 hours from the A1 exit to the Tangenziale to the center at certain peak times over summer busy weekends, especially at the beginning and end of August.
TPER manages public transport in Bologna. Their information and ticket centres are available at some central locations in the city, including the railway station Bologna Centrale and Autostazione di Bologna, the intercity bus station. Bus maps are available there (also at the web site). Single tickets and some other types of bus tickets can be also purchased at many other resellers around the city (newspaper sellers, tobacconists, cafés, etc.).
- 2 TPER Via Marconi, Via Marconi 4 (at the corner with Via Lame), ☏ . M-Sa 07:00-19:00, Su 13:00-19:00.
A single journey ticket costs €1.3 (valid 75 min) or €1.5 if bought on board, a day-pass costs €5, 10-journey pass — €12 (2016). A 10-journey pass can be used by multiple travellers. See also Mi Muovo Multibus for a region wide bus ticket carnet.
Single journey tickets may be purchased prior to boarding the bus or on board at a ticket machine. There are 2 types of such machines on a bus, usually painted in red and yellow: red ones sell plain tickets, while yellow ones are used to validate multi-trip or season tickets.
Bikes are most popular among the people of Bologna. They are available for rent on various location around the city (Dynamo, the bicycle parking station, can be found nearby the train station). You can ride on the many bike trails and on the side of the road. Be sure to lock them safely with a good lock, as they get stolen all around town, especially around the University.
Bologna is a great place around which to travel on foot, as getting around the city is quite easy: the streets are well marked. It is also a great way to find hidden gems which are frequented by locals. Some care has to be taken crossing roads: the city centre swarms with scooters and small motorcycles (cars banned during the day) and they ride them everywhere.
Layout of the city
The iconic leaning towers (Due Torri) provide a useful central landmark. They are marked in the centre of the free map available from the Tourist Information Centre in the main square, Piazza Maggiore. The central area around Piazza Maggiore (including the Due Torri and Piazza Santo Stefano can be thought of as the hub of a wheel, with other roads leading out like spokes to the old city gates (Porte) that stud the Viali—a heavily trafficked beltway that surrounds the historical centre of the town. The northeast quadrant of the map is the university district (an integral part of the town rather than a separate campus). The two southern quadrants of your map are residential sections of the city, and not common tourist areas. However, Bologna's main park, the Giardini Margherita, is just outside the center (across the Viali from Porta Santo Stefano or Porta Castiglione), beneath the surrounding hills. Also to the south, an extended portico (with 666 arches and almost 4 km long) leads out from the Viali (at Porta Saragozza) up to the baroque Sanctuary of San Luca, which provides another iconic landmark.
Around Piazza Maggiore
Large pedestrian square located in the monumental center of the old part of the city, surrounded by a number of grand buildings.
- 1 Basilica di San Petronio, Piazza Maggiore, ☏ . M-Sa 09:30-12:30, 14:30-17:30; Su 14:30-17:00. It had to be the largest church in the world and in the shape of a huge Latin cross, but was only completed the long arm and with the unfinished facade. The basilica is still one of the most beautiful examples of Italian Gothic style and is one of the greatest monuments in the city. The Basilica houses an invaluable number of treasures such as the sundial by Cassini and Guglielmini, which indicates the exact period of the current year at all times, the "S. Rocco" by Parmigianino and the marvelous Bolognini Chapel. From the left nave of the basilica, the visitor can gain access to the Museum where many bas-reliefs are collected.
- 2 Palazzo del Podestà, Piazza Maggiore, 1. The first seat of the city government.
- 3 Palazzo Re Enzo, Piazza del Nettuno 1/c. The palace was built between 1244-1246 as an extension of the nearby Palazzo del Podestà. It takes its name from Enzio of Sardinia, Frederick II's son, who was prisoner here from 1249 until his death in 1272. The current Gothic appearance dates from the restoration of 1905 due to Alfonso Rubbiani.
- 4 Fontana di Nettuno (Fountain of Neptune). A fountain built in 1563 by Tommaso Laureti of Palermo later embellished by Jean de Boulogne (called Giambologna). It is considered to be one of Bologna’s symbols, and renovated in 2017.
- 5 Palazzo dei Banchi. The last palace to be built in Piazza Maggiore. Its current Renaissance-style palace façade dates to the 16th century.
- 6 Palazzo d'Accursio (Palazzo Comunale), Piazza Maggiore 6, ☏ . Tu-Su 10:00-18:00. Bologna's city hall, with a very rich collection of Renaissance paintings, sculptures and antique furniture, is a 14th-century palace. Don't miss its enormous main staircase, which was designed to be used by horse drawn carriages. children under 14 – free.
- 7 Palazzo dei Notai. The old seat of the Notary's guild. It was built in 1381 and completely restored in 1908 by Alfonso Rubbiani. Inside there are some frescoes 15th century.
- 8 Palazzo dell'Archiginnasio (Archiginnasio of Bologna), Piazza Galvani, 1 (just south of Piazza Maggiore), ☏ . Teatro Anatomico & Sala dello Stabat Mater: M-F 10:00-18:00, Sa 10:00-19:00, Su 10:00-14:00. Once the main building of the University of Bologna, it houses the Biblioteca comunale dell'Archiginnasio (Archiginnasio Municipal Library). The major attractions of the palace which can be visited are the amazing Teatro Anatomico (Anatomical Theatre) and the Sala dello Stabat Mater (Stabat Mater Hall). The both are well worth visiting. €3.
- 9 Corte de' Galluzzi (through a vault from Piazza Galvani, across the Archiginnasio). The medieval Torre Galluzzi (Galluzzi Tower) dominates this tiny square.
- 10 Via Rizzoli. One of the main streets of Bologna. It is a meeting point and strolling area. It opens up to Piazza di porta Ravegnana, where the two towers rise.
- 11 Palazzo della Mercanzia (Loggia dei Mercanti), Piazza Della Mercanzia,5.
- 12 Tombe dei Glossatori (Tombe dei Glossatori), Piazza San Domenico e Piazza Malpighi. Named for the lawyers who used to add glosses (notes) to documents. The tombs, which date from the end of the 13th century, are home to many of Bologna's famous scholars.
- 13 Basilica di San Domenico (Basilica of San Domenico), Piazza di San Dominico,, ☏ . Daily 07:30 to 13:00, 15:30-19:30.
- 14 Via Santa Caterina. With small houses built in the 16th century.
Towers of the Asinelli are Garisenda the iconic symbols of Bologna.
- 15 Torre degli Asinelli (Tower of the Asinelli), Piazza di Porta Ravegnana. daily, 09:00-18:00. The tower (built between 1109 and 1119) is 97.20 metres tall (330 feet), with 498 steps and an incline of 1.3 meters (4 feet). €3.
- 16 Torre dei Garisenda (Tower of Garisenda), Piazza di Porta Ravegnana. closed to the public. Torre dei Garisenda is 47 m (162 feet) tall and has a lean of over 3m (10 feet). It was built in the 12th century.
- 17 Torre Prendiparte (Coronata). 60m tower, the second largest in the city. Presumably it used to be higher than its current height. It's a B＆B and room for events, also hosts shows and presentations.
- 18 Torre Azzoguidi (Altabella). 47m, built in the 13th century. It's built into the Palazzo del Podestà.
I Portici (arcades) – visitors can walk under the typical arcades of Bologna for a total of 38 km. The arcades were built by order of the town authorities to house temporary visitors. They had to be wide enough that a man could lie down under them to sleep.
- 19 Portico Walk to San Luca. Walk through the historic 666 porticos – the longest portico passage in the world, leaving from the Porta Saragozza at the end of Via Saragozza.
- 20 Santuario della Madonna di San Luca (St. Luke's Basilica), Colle della Guardia. Built in mid-18th century, it offers a panoramic view of the City, although offering only a glimpse of the old historic city. It can be reached by walking along the 666 arches of its unique portico. It has a peculiar layout, being of a round shape. A widely city-known icon, the Madonna di San Luca, is held there.
- 21 Finestrella di Via Piella. A little window on the Moline Canal — the Little Venice of Bologna.
Museums and galleries
Istituzione Bologna Musei is a circle civic museums in the city.
- 22 Museo Civico Archeologico (Archaeological Museum), Via dell'Archiginnasio 2, ☏ . Tu-F 09:00-15:00, Sa-Su and holidays 10:00-18:30. Located at the Palazzo Galvani – a 14th-century building. This building, an old hospital, houses a comprehensive collection of antiquities including Egyptian civilization (mummies and sarcophagi), Iron Age Villanova culture, artifacts from Etruscan Velzna, funerary art, terracotta urns, ancient vases and items from Roman times. Do not miss the bronze Certosa jar which is over 1,500 years old. Free.
- 23 Collezioni Comunali d'Arte (City Art Collections), Piazza Maggiore 6 (in the city hall), ☏ . Tu-F 09:00-15:00; Sa Su and holidays 10:00-18:30. he painting collection offers works belonging to various historical periods. Special attention should be given to the paintings by Giuseppe Maria Crespi (Ritratto del cardinale Lambertini- Portrait of Cardinal Lambertini), Ludovico Carracci (S. Caterina in Carcere – S. Catherine in Prison), Guido Cagnacci (Cleopatra e Lucrezia), Francesco Hayez (Ruth).
- 24 Museo Civico Medievale (Civic Museum of the Middle Ages), via Alessandro Manzoni, 4, ☏ . Part of Musei Civici d'Arte Antica
- 25 Museo Davia Bargellini (Davia Bargellini Museum), Strada Maggiore, 44. A collection of paintings in 17th century palazzo Davia.
- 26 Museo d'Arte Moderna di Bologna (MAMbo), Via Don Giovanni Minzoni 14, ☏ . Tu-Su 10:00-18:00; Th 10:00-22:00. A nice collection of modern art, if you want a break from the more classical pieces that abound in Italy.
- 27 Museo Morandi (Museum of Giorgio Morandi), Piazza Maggiore 6 (in the city hall). Tu-F 09:00-15:00, Sa Su 10:00-18:30. Opened in 1993, the museum houses most of the works by the Bolognese painter Giorgio Morandi. Full price entrance €4, discounts available.
- 28 International museum and library of music (Museo Internazionale e Biblioteca della Musica di Bologna), Strada Maggiore, 34 - Palazzo Aldini Sanguinetti, ☏ . From Jan 1 to May 31: Tu-Su 10:00-17:00; from June 1 to July 14: Tu-Th 10:00-13:30, F-Su 10AM-5PM; from July 15 to September 15: M-W F 09:30-16:00, Th 09:30-22:00, Sa Su 10:00-18:30; From Sept 16 to Dec 31: Tu-Th 10:00-13:30, F-Su 10:00-17:00; closed Mondays, Jan 1, May 1, Dec 25.. The international museum and library of music of Bologna
- 29 Museo del Patrimonio Industriale (Museum of Industrial Heritage), Via della Beverara, 123, ☏ .
Sistema Museale di Ateneo (SMA) is a museum system of the University of Bologna. It consists of a number of small but interesting museums which are located at the 30 University quarter around via Zamboni. The University of Bologna is the Europe's oldest university, founded over 900 years ago. Plethora of bars and cafés around.
- 31 Palazzo Poggi (Museo di Palazzo Pogg), Via Zamboni 33 (bus C, T2; stop Teatro Comunale), ☏ . Winter Tu-F 10:00-16:00, Sa Su 10:30-17:30. The building houses the headquarters of the University of Bologna. The interior is decorated with frescoes by Pellegrino Tibaldi, on the ground floor is the Hall of Hercules with a statue by Angelo Piò (1730). On the northern side of the Palace is the monumental Aula Magna (1756). Also Palazzo Poggi hosts numerous University Museums. In the University Library of Bologna it has preserved the "Picture Gallery" with over 600 fine portraits of an iconographic collection began in 1754. The museum's collections are organised into sections: Natural History, Anatomy and obstetrics, Physics and chemistry, Military architecture, The Library, Geography and Nautical Science, East Asian Art. Adults €5, aged 19-26 or over 65 €3.
- Museo della Specola, Via Zamboni, 33, ☏ . guided tours only for groups of 15 people max. Tu-F at 10:45, 12:15, 15:00, booking by phone; Sa Su at 11:00, at 15:00, booking online. At the Specola, an astronomical tower built in the beginning of 18th century over Palazzo Poggi. The material exposed illustrates the evolution of the astronomic instrumentation through the centuries. €5.
- Museo Europeo degli Studenti (MeuS), Via Zamboni, 33, ☏ . Tu-F 10:00-13:00, 14:00-16:00; Sa Su 10:30-13:30, 14:30-17:30. The Museum of European Students is about the history and culture of university students from the thirteenth to the twentieth century. Closed on Monday; Admission free. Don't miss this when you are interested in student life. It's unique. Free.
- Museo Geologico e Paleontologico "Giovanni Capellini" (Geological and Palaeontological Museum), Via Zamboni, 63. M-F 09:00-12:30; Sa 9:00-12:30,15:00-19:00; Su 10:00-18:00. Free.
- 32 Museo Di Fisica (Museum of Physics), Via Irnerio, 46, ☏ . during renovation works visits are only by guided tours by appointment. Free.
- 33 Museo di Mineralogia "Luigi Bombicci" (Mineralogy Museum), Piazza di Porta S. Donato 1, (near Piazza di Porta San Donato). M-Sa 09:00-13:00. Rocks, precious stones, rare minerals and meteorites Free.
- Collezione di Chimica "G. Ciamician" (Chemistry Collection "G. Ciamician"), Via Selmi, 2, ☏ . 09:00-18:00. Free.
- Museo delle Cere anatomiche "Luigi Cattaneo" (Anatomical waxworks museum "Luigi Cattaneo"), Via Irnerio, 48, ☏ . M-Th 10:00-13:00, 14:00-16:30; F 10:00-13:00. If you think Bologna's towers are crooked, then you'll want to see the deformed spines and diseased oddities at this gross-out Wax Museum. Although dedicated to the history of the art of medical anatomical models of the 19th century, the real fun are the conjoined twins and tumor-laden lepers on which showcases the art. Free.
- 34 Museo di Antropologia (Museum of Anthropology), Via Francesco Selme 3, B, ☏ . M-F 09:00-18:00; Sa Su 10:00-18:00. Bones, and artefacts of prehistoric Italians. Free.
- Museo di Anatomia Comparata (Museum of Comparative Anatomy), Via Selmi, 3. M-F 09:00 to 18:00; Sa Su 10:00-18:00. Free.
- Museo di Zoologia (Museum of Zoology), Via Selmi, 3. M-F 09:00-18:00; Sa Su 10:00-18:00.
- Museo di Anatomia degli Animali Domestici (Museum of Anatomy of Domestic Animals), Via Tolara di Sopra, 50 (Ozzano dell'Emilia). only by appointment. Free.
- Museo di Anatomia Patologica e Teratologia Veterinaria (Museum of Veterinary Pathology and Teratology), Via Tolara di Sopra, 50 (Ozzano dell'Emilia), ☏ . M-F 09:30-12:30, by appointment only, booking by phone. Free.
- 35 Orto Botanico ed Erbario (Botanical Garden and Herbarium), Via Irnerio, 42, ☏ . M-F 08:30-15:30; Sa 08:00-13:00. Created in the mid-16th century for medicinal herbs. The Botanical gardens are home to over 5,000 plant species. Some of the highlights include a full-grown sequoia, and a greenhouse for cacti and carnivorous plants. Free.
Genus Bononiae museums
Genus Bononiae is yet another circle of museums in the city. It is operated by the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio.
- 36 Palazzo Fava Ghisilieri, Via Manzoni, 2, ☏ . 16th-century building decorated by frescoes by Carracci. It hosts temporary exhibitions.
- 37 Palazzo Pepoli Vecchio (Museo della Storia di Bologna), via Castiglione 8, ☏ . Tu Su 10:00-19:00. The Museum of the history of Bologna is located there.
- 38 Oratorio di San Colombano. It hosts the Tagliavini Collection.
- 39 Santuario di Santa Maria della Vita (Sancturary of Saint Maria), via Clavature, 10, ☏ . M-Sa 07:30-19:30, Su 16:30-19:00. This church contains "The Lamentation", a life-size terracotta group sculpture, Renaissance masterpiece by Niccolò Dell'Arca.
- 40 Casa Saraceni. 16th-century building which hosts temporary exhibitions.
- 41 San Giorgio in Poggiale. A former 16th-century church. It hosts the Biblioteca di Arte e di Storia di San Giorgio in Poggiale (Art and History Library).
- 42 Santa Cristina. A former church contains works of Carracci and Guido Reni. It is used for concert performances.
- 43 Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna (National Picture Gallery), Via Belle Arti 56, ☏ . Tu-Su 09:00 to 19:00. Containing the city's most important art, it offers an interesting panorama of the Emilian and Venetian painting from the XIII to the XVIII century. A must: the works by Giotto, Raffaello, Parmigianino (Madonna col Bambino/Virgin Mary with Baby and the Saints Margaret, Girolamo and Petronio), Perugino, Tiziano and Tintoretto (Visitazione/Visitation and Saints Joseph and Zacharias). Free for children under 18..
- 44 Museo Ebraico (Jewish Museum), via Valdonica 1/5, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. Su-Th 10:00-18:00, F 10:00-16:00. Tickets sold until 17:15 (15:15 Friday). Closed Saturdays and on Jewish holidays. Located in the area of the former ghetto, this museum covers the history of Bologna's Jewish population. €5.
- 45 Accademia Filarmonica (Philharmonic Academy), via Guerrazzi 13, ☏ . The Philarmonic Academy of Bologna was established in 1666. Since then it has become a reference point for the city musical life and its fame has spread throughout Europe. Here are preserved the works of many illustrious students, including Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s (1770) and autographed documents by Puccini, Verdi and Beethoven
- 46 Galleria d'Arte Moderna “Raccolta Lercaro” (Modern Art Gallery), via Riva di Reno 57, ☏ . W-Sa 16:00-19:00; Su 10:00-13:00, 16:00-19:00. Houses about 2000 works by Italian and foreign artists with special attention to the sculptures by Manzù, Messina, Rodin and Giacometti.
- 47 Museo Ducati, Via Antonio Cavalieri Ducati, 3, ☏ . M-F guided tours at 11:00 and 16:00; Sa 9:00-13:00. Closed during Easter and Christmas holidays and in August. Represents the evolution of the Bolognese motorcycle firm. An exposition of motorcycles, period materials, projects, mechanical components, pictures and videos.
- 48 Museo Lamborghini, Via Modena, 12, Sant'agata Bolognese (50 min by bus #576 from the Bologna bus station towards Crevalcore, take off at the “S. Agata Bolognese Chiesa Frati”, then 5 min on foot). This famous car maker in Italy has been producing some of the most sought-after luxury sports cars in the world for decades
Parks and Gardens
Many parks were former private gardens of nobility.
- 49 Giardini Margherita (Margherita Gardens), Viale Gozzadini (buses # 32, 33, 38, 39, 17 (stops on the outer ring road), 13, 90, 96 (stop V. Santo Stefano) and 30 (stop Porta Castiglione).). Daily 06:00 to 00:00. Bologna's main park created in 1875. The chalet converts to a nightclub in the summer evenings.
- 50 Giardino della Montagnola (Parco della Montagnola), Piazza VIII Agosto. Daily 07:00 to 00:00. The oldest park in the city. A public park since the 17th century. Much of the current landscaping dates from the early 19th century. The pond in the center of the park was added in 1888.
- 51 Villa delle Rose (Parco di Villa Spada), Via Saragozza, 228/230 (A bit out of the city centre), ☏ . Tu-Su 15:00-19:00. Donated to the city in 1916, the gardens were originally owned by the Cella family. The 18th-century Villa delle Rose, which was the Cella's residence, hosts art exhibitions throughout the year
- 52 Villa Spada, Via Casaglia, 1 (Bus #20 and minibus D), ☏ . Apr-Sep T-Su 07:30-22:00; Oct-Mar Tu-Su 07:30-18:00. On the grounds of the Palazzo Ravone an 18th-century villa, it was opened to the public in 1970.
- 53 Villa Guastavillani, Via degli Scalini, 18 (Bus #59), ☏ . M-Sa 08:00-14:00. Designed and built by Tomasso Martelli in the 16th century.
- 54 Parco Cavaioni, Via di Casaglia (Bus #52 from P.zza Cavour). Apr-Sep 06:00-24:00; Oct-Mar 07:00-18:00. A large park featuring meadows, fields, wooded areas, and a lake
- 55 Certosa, Via della Certosa, 18, ☏ . 07:00-18:00. Bologna's main cemetery, with beautifully carved tombstones, built over the ruins of an ancient Etrusan necropolis.
Events and festivals
There's a great film festival with restored silent and sound films throughout July in Piazza Maggiore. In the past, these have included especially Italian and French film, animation shorts from Annecy, archive footage of Bologna (e.g. of its liberation by British and American troops) and modern classics such as The Third Man, Raging Bull, Apocalypse Now and The Pianist. In November there's a chocolate festival in Piazza Maggiore or Piazza XX Settembre.
Motor Show Bologna & the car museums
- Bologna Fiere, Via della Fiera, 20, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. An Exhibition Centre near Bologna, that among other things has an International Automobile Exhibition every year.
There are many exciting events that are worth taking part of during your stay in lively Bologna. If you plan on spending the onset of the winter holidays in Bologna, you can complete your vacation with a visit to the Motorshow Bologna and to the museums that showcase the automobile masterpieces of Italy.
And just nearby lies the three museums you must visit in order to do this. These are the Ducati Museum, the Lamborghini Museum, and the Ferrari Museum or Galleria Ferrari. To fully appreciate the Ducati Museum you can join guided tours by obtaining advanced reservations. The museum is open daily except on Sundays and holidays. To enter, you will need to join a tour, you can choose from the 11:00 or the 16:00 schedule. The tour of the museum and factory costs €10. Next, you can make your way to the Lamborghini Museum, which is in the area that connects Bologna with neighboring city Modena. It lies at about 21 miles from Bologna and can be easily driven to. The museum was established in 2001 and aims to celebrate one of the most expensive Italian cars in the world. To complete your unique museum-hopping, head over to Ferrari Museum or Galleria Ferrari. The museum is in Maranello, a town just outside Modena and around 55 km (34 miles) from Bologna. Although the museum is part of Ferrari’s headquarters, it has its own building separate from the Ferrari factory. Of the three museums in your itinerary, the Ferrari Museum is the oldest, dating back to 1990. The museum spans an amazing 2,500 m² and is divided into four sections, namely the Formula One collection, the special exhibits, the technological innovation exhibit, and the photo exhibits.
The Formula One collection displays the extraordinary race cars that have played a monumental role in making Ferrari the most famous automobile maker in the world. One of the most remarkable cars is the first Ferrari 125 S that was built in 1947 and won a race in the same year. And to give you a glimpse of what F1I racing is all about, you can check out the Fiorano test track next to the museum where you might even see a Ferrari racing past.
Bologna is an Italian hub for rock, electronic and alternative music. There are almost a hundred concerts every year by international bands. Unfortunately many of these locations have moved outside the city center. The main places to check out are Covo Club, Estragon and Link .
- Estragon, Parco Nord. a big ex-industrial hangar, features dj-sets and concerts by international rock bands almost every night.
- Livello 57 (just under the bridge of Via Stalingrado). Now only seldom open. It mainly features raves and techno gigs in an industrial, darkish atmosphere.
- TPO, Via Camillo Casarini, 17/5. Another occupied location that mostly features experimental music festivals and rock concerts.
- XM24, Via Fioravanti 24. an occupied ex-agricultural market where Punk-hc, rock and electronic concerts are often featured. A very cheap place, great if you don't mind the punk atmosphere. Every Thursday from 17:30, it is an organic market. The place also has plenty of free and self-managed workshops: bike repair (Wednesdays and Sundays from 18:00 to 22:00), a school of Italian (Monday and Tuesday from 18:00 to 21:00), a hacklab (Wednesday 21 to 24), yoga, silk-screening, boxing and others.
- VAG61, Via Paolo Fabbri, 110. An historical occupied location that host a wide variety of activities. Every Tuesday from the late afternoon there's an organic market.
- The Link. recently moved outside the city, is a large, 2-floor club that features mostly avant garde electronic, techno and hip-hop gigs and dj-sets. A little book shop, mainly on "alternative" subjects, can be found inside
- Covo Club, Viale Zagabria 1. 22:00-04:00. "storied and legendary Italian indie-punk venue" (Pitchfork), Covo Club is the most renowned indie rock club, features rock djsets and concerts by a number of interesting international bands. Born in 1980, open on Fridays and Saturdays only, Covo Club has hosted in its life more than 1000 concerts including bands like Franz Ferdinand, The Libertines, Mumford & Sons, The Gossip, Animal Collective, Black Lips, Wild Nothing, The Undertones, Refused, Godspeed You Black Emperor, Jay Reatard, Beach House and Teenage Fanclub
- Kindergarten, Via Calzoni. Next to the "Fiera", is a club that features techno, and sometimes punk and new wave concerts.
- Locomotiv. Another indie rock club.
The key to shopping in Italy is to look in every little shop as you walk around, paying attention to price tags. Please take note that the hours listed usually specify a closure in the afternoons. There is no one place to get the perfect pair of shoes or the perfect ties or the perfect anything: you have to look all over, but this is half the fun. If you can't find what you want at the price you want to pay for it, keep looking, chances are you will find something somewhere else that will work perfectly.
Don't miss the chance to buy local food, such as hand-made pastas, gorgeous cheeses and sausages, from any of the hundreds of small vendors and shops to be found in the city. At least half the experience of visiting Bologna is the gastronomic pleasure! The Quadrilatero district, the old market located immediately to the west of Piazza Maggiore, is a good place to buy food, or sit down to eat and drink something. Quadrilatero consists of several streets and alleys lined with small stores and eating spots.
If you have money to spend (a lot perhaps ...) you have to go in 'Galleria Cavour', near 'Via Farini' with a lot of chic high fashion shops and trendy outlets (Armani, Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Versace, etc.)
Another "shop street" is "via San Felice" near "via Ugo Bassi" with a lot of small shops that made artigianal dresses (sugarbabe), artshop (elzapoppin), art galleries and (as usual) shoes and dresses shop.
- 1 Eataly Bologna, Via Degli Orefici, 19, ☏ . M-Sa 08:00-23:30, Su 10:00-23:30. Eataly is a gourmet grocery store associated with Slow movement. It styles itself as a place to "savor high quality traditional Italian food products and beverages along with local produce and artisanal products." Many different products are for sale, including not only produce but cheese, wine, olive oil, and sweets, and there are also a few smaller restaurants. Anyone who enjoys shopping or window-shopping for food-related products is likely to enjoy walking through.
There are many choices for where to eat, as Bologna is generally considered to be the gastronomic centre of Italy, the Food Capital. It is difficult to find a truly poor meal as the Bolognese, like most Italians, use fabulous quality local produce with sparkling ingenuity.
- 1 Osteria del Sole, Vicolo Ranocchi 1d. M-Sa 10:30-21:30. If you feel like picnicking on some of the cold cuts (salumi), cheeses and other fresh foods on display in the delicatessens and market stalls off Piazza Maggiore, then Osteria del Sole at a tiny street could be a perfect venue. This traditional wine-drinkers' osteria (something of a rarity nowadays) invites you to bring along your own food. Popular with locals and travelers alike, it can get full, especially on Saturday (and don't expect to find soft drinks).
- Gamberini, Via Ugo Bassi 12. Closed Thursday afternoon and Sunday evenings.. Some of the finest appetizers in town; great pastries (paste) too.
- Gilberto, via Drapperie 5. This enoteca/gastronomia does a good aperitivo on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays between 19:00 and 21:00.
- 2 Trattoria Del Rosso, Via Augusto Righi 30. Traditional Bolognese dishes seven days a week at very reasonable prices. Owned and operated by chef Stefano Curvucci.
- 3 Da Leonida, Vicolo Alemagna. This trattoria is hard to fault, with its excellent food and service at fair prices. But service can be slow: it could take you a while to get your bill.
- 4 Tamburini, Via Caprarie, 1 (on the corner with Via Drapperie). A reasonably priced self-service lunch. Tamburini is renowned locally as one of Bologna's historic delicatessens, and it also provides a good variety of traditional fare at lunchtime for local employees and other visitors. Queues can get long during the peak lunch hour.
- Via Oberdan has the excellent restaurant Teresina which has both fish and meat menus. Also located on Via Oberdan: the unique Cafè, Terzi with single estate coffees, and La Salumeria Bruno e Franco, which is another of Bologna's best delis.
- Enoteca Italiana, Via Marsala 2b. It has twice been voted best in Italy. Great for a stand up sandwich ( Pancetta with Balsamic or a Mortadella Panino) and an excellent glass of the wine of your choice.
- For down to earth home style cooking try: Da Gianni in Via Clavature, Mariposa in Via Bertiera, Meloncello in Via Sargozza.
- For good service, good wine list and fine food at a price try Camminetto D'Oro in Via de Falegnami or Cesarina in Piazza Santo Stefano.
- For more contemporary stylish dining try the excellent and good value Marco Fadiga Bistro in Via Rialto or Casa Monica in Via San Felice.
- Via del Pratello has lots of bars and restaurants/osterie for young people. There's lots to choose from here. Walk past, look at the menus. It is located towards the middle of the 'western' part of the map. Fantoni with its checkered red and white table clothes and scribbled menus, is much frequented by students and serves fantastic fish secondi and an excellent ragu'. Via Mascarella/Largo Respighi is another zone with a lot of Osterie.
- Diana, Via dell'Indipendenza 24. It is probably the most famous restaurant in the city but now it is a pale shadow of what it once was, though still high on old world atmosphere. Elderly Bolognese, tourists and businessmen dine here. The traditional regional cuisine like Lasagne Bolognese, Tortellini in Brodo and Tagliatelle with Ragu are the best choice here and the service is top notch. The daunting bolito misto is still a favorite and 35 Euros will add heaps of shaved white truffle to any dish. Diana is a favorite of Mario Batali but has fallen out of favour with many locals.
- Al Pappagallo (at the top of the street leading into Piazza Santo Stefano). It was a famous haunt of the stars during the '60s and '70s and still attracts an exclusive clientele. Its mix of traditional Bolognese fare and nouvelle cuisine gives the Diana a run for its money. Many other restaurants offer the same food for a lot less, but you get a lot of space between the tables here and the historic building is impressive if that is what you want.
- Once upon a time good ice cream (gelato) could only be found at Antica sorbetteria (La Sorbetteria) in Via Castiglione. Among current contenders for the Bologna's Best Gelato title is Stefino Via San Vitale 37/a (Facebook-Gelateria Stefino), not far from the railway station. Try the wonderful pistachio ice cream and try almond "granita", though this is better at the recently opened Grom on Via D'Azeglio. The other place for superb pistachio and chocolate and many unique ice cream flavors, like Parmigiano with Pears or Fig and Almond or Watermelon and Jasmine, is Il Gelatauro, in Via San Vitale, considered one of the best gelaterie in all Italy. The newly opened Cremeria in Piazza Cavour is giving everyone else a run for their money with many excellent flavor combinations.
- L'Antica Bologna, Via San Vitale 88. A smart but not particularly expensive bar and patisserie which also does an excellent pre-dinner aperitivo. Good coffee.
- Matusel, Via Bertoloni 2 (in the university zone, north-east of the center, next to Via Zamboni). A good and tasty meal for as cheap as €10, coffee included. Matusel is renowned for good fish dishes.
- Trattoria Tony, Via Augusto Righi, 1b (just 1/2 block off Via Independenza). A down to earth, reasonably-priced place with simple Bolognese food—truly excellent.
- 5 L'Antica Trattoria Spiga, Via Broccaindosso 21a. A bit hard to find, but make the effort; it has a very good risotto and wonderful traditional Cucina Bolognese (which does not include risotto). If you are blessed to visit on a Wednesday,don't miss out on the day's special, a platter with crescente bread served with cold cured meats and cheeses for savory and nutella and jams for dessert. As with most places in Bologna, be prepared to know a little Italian.
- 6 L'Antica Osteria Romagnola, Via Rialto 13. It is very pretty and does good food but refuse the abundant (and expensive) antipasto or have that and just one other course.
- Zanarini, Piazza Galvani, 1. Go here for a lunch. Best Terrace in town. Stylish waiters serve quality food. A 0.75 l bottle San Pelligrini costs €2.50. Good value for your money.
- 7 Osteria La Matta, Via Zucchini 9. This place is a hidden gem quite close to the university quartet. The name means the crazy woman. The staff and menu are 100% local, with dishes like tortellini, tortelloni and tagliatelle al ragù, all strictly handmade and delicious. The staff is friendly and funny, prices are good for value, it's a great place to enjoy a quiet dinner or mingle with the busy office people who are regulars to La Matta at lunchtime.
- Mercato di Mezzo, Via Clavature, 12, ☏ . 09:00-00:00. Great place to have lunch or dinner for a good price. There are different local options for food and tables where you can sit down and enjoy your meal. There are many people at all times of day.
- 8 Da Vito, Via Mario Musolesi, 9, ☏ . 12:00–14:45 and 19:30–00:00. Genuine Bolognese fare, from antipasto to dessert, served (occasionally somewhat abruptly) in a down-to-earth trattoria setting popular with locals and visitors alike. Pictures of singer-songwriters such as Lucio Dalla and other local legends performing and soaking up the atmosphere. (Just don't expect anything too ritzy!)
Consider visiting the many pubs and clubs of Via Zamboni (university zone); some, such as "The Irish Pub", popular with students and foreigners, give happy hours on Tuesday/Wednesday. "Al Piccolo" down the road in Piazza Verdi is another famous student haunt, a live DJ playing techno into the early mornings. Otherwise, the Via Pratello has many bars and is the center of the city's alternative scene. Worth a look in particular is "Mutanye", whose owner is reputed to have been part of the Red Brigade in his youth, hence the many soviet posters. Via Mascarella, in the northeast area of the city, has plenty of nightspots, among them two jazz clubs. And, finally, check out the many bars and pubs hosting music contests and concerts, from rock to jazz to "liscio", the traditional folk songs in Emilia-Romagna.
- Ai Vini Scelti, Via Andrea Costa 36/B. A good enoteca (winery), just outside the center in Via Andrea Costa and only a few moments from Via Pratello, is considered one of the best in Bologna, though there are many others in the center, providing everything from a quick aperitivo to proper wine-tasting. Another good winery is "Vini d'Italia" in Emilia Levante street (Viale Lenin corner), which is one of the oldest on in the city.
- Enoteca Italiana (see above, in EAT) has excellent and non pretentious Sommeliers on hand to advise and guide you. Great place for a lovely glass of wine.
Bologna has always been famous for its hospitality: its welcoming service is very effective and makes Bologna a perfect place for tourists. Bologna cultural heritage as well as its wine and food makes it an ideal destination to spend a weekend or a holiday different times of the year.
- Alberta D Bed & Breakfast, Via Sant'Isaia 58. Charming rooms (2), renovated, comfortably furnished, free WiFi, central and close to public transportation and shops. €50-160.
- Collegio Universitario S. Tommaso d'Aquino a Bologna, Via San Domenico, 1, ☏ , fax: . A part of San Tommaso's college but available for booking to everyone. Good location, cheap, free and high-speed Wi-Fi. Reception is not 24 hours! It is closed from 01:00-07:00 (08:00 during weekends), you will not be able to enter the hotel after 01:00 - it is possible to extend it for €20-30 till 02:00-03:00 respectively, but only in advance. €50 for 1 person; parking is €10 (extremely hard to find a parking place on the nearby streets) but you're not allowed to enter the city center, including the area where hotel is located, by car before 8PM.
- Il Nosadillo, via Nosadella 19, ☏ , , ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: 2PM-8PM, check-out: 11AM. Beds in shared rooms with a private locker for each guest, access to kitchen & public computer, breakfast, free WiFi and map of the city. Has 1 mixed 4 bed dorm and 1 mixed 5 bed dorm. Two bathrooms. In the heart of historical city center. Easy access to public transport. €24-30 per night.
- Ospiti da Fabrizio (Guest House), Via Sant'Anna 20. Charming flat (60 m²) with Italian characteristic style, comfortably furnished in every detail, including free WiFi, placed in an old Bolognese courtyard. Close to public transports and shops. Nice and cheap alternative to hotels and B&B. €30/50/60 for 1/2/3 persons.
- Amadeus Hotel, Via Marco Lepido 39, ☏ . The Amadeus Hotel is near the Bologna airport, in the city's nearest suburban area. 99 rooms. About 15 minutes by car or bus from the central station.
- B&B Bologna nel Cuore, Via Cesare Battisti 29, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 17:00-20:00, check-out: 10:30. Two bedrooms and two studios. An intimate and stylish bed & breakfast located in an ancient building in the historic center of Bologna. Doubles from €90, singles from €60.
- Room&Breakfast Le Stanze del Carro, Via del carro 11, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: 15:00-19:30, check-out: 11:00. Cosy and family run bed and breakfast in the heart of Bologna (few metres from the 2 towers). Historical building, 3 Rooms, 2 apartments, terrace. Breakfast, Elevator, Free WiFi and Maps. Homey atmospere and friendly staff. Doubles from €79, singles from €59.
- Beatrice B&B Bologna, Via Indipendenza 56, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Three rooms each with a private bathroom. B&B is in an elegant apartment attic with elevator in the Center of Bologna, next to the railway station, university, and all bus lines. A rich breakfast is served by friendly owners. Doubles from €70, singles from €50.
- Hotel Fiera, Via Stalingrado 82. A very nice hotel in the Merchant district with 99 rooms. If you are lucky enough to get a room with a balcony, you will be rewarded with an outstanding view of the Apennines in the distance. Friendly staff, and a very nice little restaurant. Breakfast here is lovely. If you want a place on the outskirts from which to plan your stay, you could do much worse, but at a significant distance from the center, public transport is a must. All rooms have a minibar at very reasonable prices. Very clean rooms. Prices vary widely based on date: €38-240.
- Hotel HC3 Bologna, Via dell'Arcoveggio 46/4, ☏ , fax: . Check-in: 16:00, check-out: 12:00. Located near the City Fair and a few minutes from downtown. 37 rooms, four stars. Free wi-fi internet connection, modern gym and a comfortable meeting room. Peculiar to the hotel is courtesy coffee around the clock available for free on every floor. Summer €55-155, fall €70-200; winter €60-130. Internet discounts available.
- Hotel Imperial, Via del Gomito, 16 40127, ☏ , fax: . Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 10:00. Hotel with meeting rooms, wellness center and gym, a good choice for business travelers or for a relaxing holiday. Located near a bus no.25 stop, which takes you straight to the railway station. 49 rooms, three stars. €50 and up.
- Mercure Bologna Centro. The Mercure is a rather conspicuously aged former Sofitel, with inoperative trouser presses and bathrooms straight out of the early 1980s. It remains very popular, however, due to its location right in front on the Bologna Centrale railway station.
- NH Bologna de la Gare. Within a few steps of Bologna Centrale and right at the grand stairs of Parco Montagnola. The more expensive rooms have been refitted to current NH standards, the cheapest ones retain their Italiante looks and fixtures from the times this used to be a Jolly Hotel.
- NH Bologna Villanova, Via Villanova, 29/8. 40055 Villanova di Castenaso. Bologna, ☏ . The other NH in Bologna is a modern hotel is located within a commercial estate to the west of the city, with limited access by public transportation. Relatively attractive prices offset its remote location. It is best suited for business travellers with interest in the immediate vicinity or those arriving by car. €59 and up.
- Hotel Porta San Mamolo, Vicolo del Falcone 6-8, ☏ . Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 11:00. A much-loved small hotel, lauded for its lovely staff, comfortable and prettily decorated rooms, and central but quiet location. 43 rooms, three stars. Summer €85-115, fall €95-220; winter €85-95.
- Hotel University Bologna, Via Mentana, ☏ . The University Hotel is located close to the “Universitá degli Studi”. 22 rooms, three stars. A breakfast buffet is inclusive in the price. Jan €60-78; Feb €70-78; Mar €92-250, June €59, Jul €65, Aug €65, Sep €65-92, Oct €70-92; Nov €70-170, Dec €64-105.
- Residence alle Scuole, Via Scuole, 3-40057 Granarolo nell'Emilia, ☏ , fax: . Relaxing country hotel near Bologna. All rooms have satellite TV, telephone, air conditioning, private bath and free internet connection. 14 rooms, three stars. Double €70, breakfast included.
- Residence Porta Saragozza, Via Turati 100, ☏ . Elegant suite and apartments comfortably furnished in every detail, placed in quiet Bologna zone. Close to public transports and shops. Apartments to rent in Bologna and Pontecchio Marconi Sasso Marconi. €90 1-2 persons, €110-130 3-4 persons, €200 5-6 persons.
- Residenza Ariosto, Via Marsala 11, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Elegant residence in the center of Bologna. Close to public transports, shops, university and hospital. €80 1-2 persons, €90-130 3-4 persons, €150 5-6 persons.
- Grand Hotel Baglioni, 8 Via Indipendenza, ☏ , fax: . A grand large fairly elegant hotel doubles from €565.
- 1 I Portici Hotel Bologna, Via Indipendenza 69, Bologna, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 16:00, check-out: 10:00. A luxury property in the heart of town, walking distance from the main train station, the city centre shopping area and nearby to Bologna fair exposition area. Four stars.
- Il Convento dei Fiori di Seta, Via Orfeo 34/4. A stylish little hotel that has been fitted into a small restored church. Four stars.
- Relais Villa Valfiore, Via Imelda Lambertini 20, San Lazzaro di Savena, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. In a park of century-old trees in an enchanting corner of the hills in the Municipality of San Lazzaro di Savena, just a few kilometres from Bologna.
- Day trips by car or train - Head out for the day to Ferrara, Rimini, Ravenna, Faenza, Cesena, Reggio Emilia or Modena.