Bologna has a strategic location as its surrounded by some major cities of Italy which aren’t too far from Bologna, this makes it a great base if you want to do day trips around the nearby cities like Florence, Venice, or Parma. Being the capital of the Emilia-Romagna region, Bologna has an interesting past.
Today, many tourists from around the world visit it for its history, food, shopping and to understand its culture and tradition. The food here is amazing and that’s what it’s got the tag of ‘food valley’ of Italy. The city is constantly growing and that makes it even more appealing. Bologna is still not on many people’s bucket list and that’s quite surprising as it’s a place much under the radar.
Did you know Bologna has three name tags La Dotta which is ‘the learned’ as its home to the oldest university in the world, La Grassa which is ‘the fat’ as it’s known for its delicious food and lastly La Rossa which is ‘the red’ as you can see the colour on most of the buildings and is a dominant colour used here.
Some of the major attractions here are the:-
Piazza Maggiore Square – The heart of the old town and the place you should start your journey of seeing Bologna. Here you can see the largest cathedral of the city which is San Petronio, a famous Neptune fountain and the city hall building which is now a museum called Palazzo d’Accursio where you can see a collection of paintings and learn about the history of Bologna. Just a few steps away from the basilica is the palace called Palazzo del Podesta and it’s extension Palazzo de Enzo with the distinguished bell towers (Torre dell’Arengo) which were used to warn people of an emergency, this is also a part of the UNESCO World Heritage site.
If you want to truly take in the atmosphere of the square, sit down with a coffee and enjoy people passing by around the square.
Leaning Tower of Bologna– The leaning tower of Bologna is taller than the one at Pisa but unfortunately not many know about it. There are two leaning towers right next to each other called Asinelli and Garisenda, you can visit both and admire at the unbelievable view of the city.
Palazzo dell’Archiginnasio and Anatomical Theatre – Belonging to Bologna university which is the oldest university this is by far one of the most beautiful attractions of Bologna. The collection of the municipal library goes back to 1801 and has over one million pieces. Another marvellous piece of this palace is the 17th-century Anatomical Theatre where anatomy lessons were held in the past, its made entirely out of wooden sculptures and is quite intriguing.
Situated in the Galvani square this place is highly recommended.
Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca – Want to reward yourself with some fantastic views of the city? Head up to the sanctuary which is covered along the way with a four km portico for which the city is famous for. The porticos are a unique feature to the city and are quite pleasing to walk under it. Inside the basilica, the frescos depict important religious affairs of that time.
Stefano Square – Italy sure has an abundance of churches and religious institutions and many of them are worth a visit and one such place is this square. Initially, there were seven churches but today there are only three. Each church here has its own unique characteristic and story behind it, the buildings are interconnected and entry is free.
Mercato Delle Erbe – As you know Bologna is known for its food scene and there are plenty of places you can grab amazing cheese and pasta but one place which is highly recommended to pay a visit is this food market. They have a lot of local produce and has a food court too where you can munch on pizzas, pasta and cheese!
Quadrilatero – The soul to Bologna’s food scene is this popular street market flooded with food vendors selling bread, cheese, seafood and pasta’s. Your food journey to in Bologna starts from here. Around the area, there are plenty of restaurants and cafes, as you will feel hungry after touring this foodie paradise.
If you have some more time to spend in this charming city then you can either take day trips to the nearby towns like Modena, Ravenna, or Florence. If you decide to spend your time in the city then you can visit MAMbo the modern art museum, or stroll around Bologna’s largest park Giardini. Lastly, back in the day’s Bologna was also famous for its canals just like Venice but now only a few are to be seen so you can go and hunt a few down, it is difficult to navigate your way to the canal’s but a local could help you with the directions.
Bologna is a pretty easy city to navigate and many of the attractions lie close to each other. This city usually goes unnoticed but in reality, it will surprise you, there are heaps of things to see and activities which you enjoy. If you intend to visit many of its tourists attaching it will be a wise option to buy the Bologna Welcome card which helps you save quite a bit of your money. Bologna, you are amazing!