Discover the best things to do in Bologna today with our ultimate guide. This beautiful city is known for its rich history, cultural heritage, and delicious cuisine. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, you’ll find plenty of exciting activities to keep you entertained.
And if you’re looking to venture beyond the city’s borders, we’ll also explore some wonderful day trip options from Bologna.
- There are a multitude of things to do in Bologna today, from exploring its historic landmarks to indulging in its culinary delights.
- Bologna is known as the gastronomic capital of Italy, so be sure to try its famous Bolognese cuisine.
- Consider venturing beyond the city’s borders with day trips to Ravenna or Dozza for even more unforgettable experiences.
Visit Piazza Maggiore and Basilica di San Petronio
Start your day in Bologna by visiting the heart of the city, Piazza Maggiore, which is undoubtedly the most famous square in Bologna. With its historical buildings, lively cafes, and street performers, this bustling square is the perfect place to soak up the local atmosphere.
Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the stunning Basilica di San Petronio, located at one end of the square. This impressive church is one of the largest in the world and boasts a magnificent interior adorned with exquisite artwork and frescoes. The sheer scale and grandeur of the basilica will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression on you.
Take your time to explore the square and its surroundings, as there are a variety of shops, cafes, and restaurants to enjoy.
Discover the Two Towers of Bologna
Next on your Bologna itinerary are the iconic Two Towers of Bologna, a symbol of the city’s medieval past. Torre degli Asinelli and Torre Garisenda are both leaning towers that offer breathtaking views of the city. Torre degli Asinelli is the taller of the two, standing at 97.2 meters, while Torre Garisenda is shorter at only 48 meters due to its tilt that made it unsafe for public access.
|Torre degli Asinelli
|Height: 97.2 meters
Number of stairs: 498
|Height: 47 meters
Number of stairs: Not open to public
|Constructed: late 1100s
|Views from top: panoramic vistas of the city
|Views from top: limited due to it being unsafe for public access
Both towers can be climbed, but be prepared for a steep climb up narrow stairs. However, once at the top, the stunning views of Bologna are definitely worth it. If you’re short on time or not comfortable with heights, just admiring these iconic towers from the street below is still a worthwhile experience.
Indulge in Bolognese Cuisine
Bologna is a food lover’s paradise, known for its mouthwatering cuisine and delicious specialties. From sumptuous pasta dishes like tagliatelle al ragù to heavenly mortadella sandwiches, Bologna’s food scene will leave you wanting more.
One must-try dish is the famous Bolognese ragù, made with slow-cooked meat and served over fresh pasta. For a lighter option, try the insalata di rinforzo, a flavorful salad made with pickled vegetables and anchovies.
No trip to Bologna is complete without sampling the local cured meats, such as prosciutto and salame. Wash it all down with a glass of Lambrusco or Pignoletto, two of the region’s famous wines.
Explore the Historic University of Bologna
One of the oldest universities in the world, the University of Bologna is a must-visit destination for history buffs and academic enthusiasts. Founded in 1088, the university has a rich academic history that spans centuries.
Located in the heart of Bologna, the university campus features stunning architecture, including the iconic archway of the Archiginnasio of Bologna, once the main building of the university. The halls of the Archiginnasio are adorned with intricate woodwork and frescoes, transporting visitors back in time to the university’s earliest days.
Another highlight of the university is the Anatomy Theater, where medical students once gathered to study the human body. The room is adorned with detailed anatomical drawings and features a marble dissection slab at its center.
Whether you’re interested in history, architecture, or academia, the University of Bologna is a fascinating destination to explore during your trip to Bologna.
Wander Through the Quadrilatero Market
One of the best things to do in Bologna is to visit the Quadrilatero Market. This lively food market is a feast for the senses, offering a wide variety of fresh produce, local delicacies, and artisanal products. From fresh fruits and vegetables to cured meats and cheeses, you can find just about anything here.
As you wander through the market, take in the colorful sights and sounds of the bustling stalls. Sample some Parmigiano Reggiano cheese or pick up some traditional Italian spices as souvenirs. You’ll also find a variety of fresh seafood, including the famous Italian anchovies, or acciughe, which are a staple of Bolognese cuisine.
“The Quadrilatero Market is a true gem of Bologna, offering a glimpse into the city’s vibrant food culture. Don’t miss the chance to explore this bustling market and try some of the delicious local fare!”
Be sure to stop by the Mercato di Mezzo, located in the heart of the Quadrilatero Market. This indoor market is an excellent place to sample some of Bologna’s most famous dishes, such as tagliatelle al ragù and tortellini in brodo.
Visit the Archiginnasio of Bologna
Step back in time with a visit to the Archiginnasio of Bologna, one of the city’s most fascinating landmarks that was once the main building of the University of Bologna. Admire the intricate woodwork and frescoes that adorn the historic halls, and don’t miss the Anatomical Theatre, a fascinating glimpse into the world of medicine in the past.
Constructed in the 16th century, the Archiginnasio of Bologna was one of the first and most important buildings commissioned by the Papal State. It served as the headquarters of the university and was the center of city life for hundreds of years. The building was restored in the early 20th century and today stands as a testament to the rich cultural heritage of Bologna.
|Piazza Galvani 1, 40124 Bologna BO, Italy
|€5 for adults
€3 for students and seniors
Free for children under 12
Tip: Be sure to check out the coat of arms room, where you can see the emblems of all the students who have graduated from the University of Bologna since the 17th century.
The Archiginnasio of Bologna is a must-visit attraction for history buffs and those who love to marvel at impressive architecture. Don’t miss the chance to explore this stunning landmark and soak up the rich cultural history.
Take a Day Trip to Ravenna
If you’re looking to venture beyond Bologna’s borders, a day trip to Ravenna is a must. This charming city is renowned for its well-preserved Byzantine mosaics and UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Start your day by visiting the Basilica di San Vitale, a stunning example of Byzantine architecture. Admire the intricate mosaics and awe-inspiring domes that have been impressing visitors for centuries.
Next, head to the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, a small but impressive building that features some of the most beautiful mosaics in Ravenna. Don’t miss the opportunity to see the famous night sky ceiling, which depicts stars and constellations in dazzling detail.
After exploring the city’s historic landmarks, take a stroll through Ravenna’s charming streets and soak up the local atmosphere. Grab a bite to eat at one of the many trattorias or cafés, and indulge in some traditional Italian cuisine.
With its rich cultural heritage and stunning architecture, Ravenna is a fantastic day trip destination from Bologna. Don’t miss the chance to explore this fascinating city and its incredible mosaics.
Explore the Medieval Village of Dozza
Take a break from the hustle and bustle of Bologna and venture out to the picturesque medieval village of Dozza. Located just a short day trip away, Dozza is known for its colorful murals and charming fortress.
Stroll along the cobbled streets lined with vibrant artwork, and take in the scenic views of the surrounding countryside. Visit the Rocca Sforzesca, a beautiful fortress that offers panoramic views of the village and surrounding vineyards.
Dozza is also home to a number of wineries, so be sure to sample some of the local wines as you explore the village.
With its rich history, stunning countryside, and unique charm, a day trip to Dozza is a must-do on your Bologna itinerary. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the beauty of this hidden gem.
Unwind in the Bologna Botanical Garden
After a day of exploring the city, take some time to relax and unwind in the Bologna Botanical Garden. This hidden gem is located just a short walk from the city center and offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of the streets.
The Bologna Botanical Garden was founded in 1568 and is one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world, featuring over 5,000 plant species and a stunning greenhouse.
Stroll through the picturesque gardens and marvel at the diverse collection of plants, from exotic flowers to medicinal herbs. Take a moment to sit and enjoy the peaceful surroundings, listen to the rustling of leaves and the chirping of birds.
“The Bologna Botanical Garden is a peaceful oasis in the heart of the city. It’s the perfect place to relax and recharge after a busy day of sightseeing.”
Don’t forget to visit the stunning greenhouse, where you can admire a vast array of tropical and subtropical plants from around the world.
Whether you’re a nature enthusiast or simply looking for a calming retreat, the Bologna Botanical Garden is a must-visit destination during your trip to Bologna.
Bologna is a city that seamlessly blends history, culture, and gastronomy to create a unique Italian experience. From the bustling Piazza Maggiore to the serene Botanical Garden, Bologna offers something for everyone.
If you’re a history buff, don’t miss the chance to explore the University of Bologna or the Archiginnasio of Bologna. And, for foodies, be sure to indulge in the city’s renowned Bolognese cuisine and immerse yourself in the lively Quadrilatero Market.
For those looking to venture beyond the city’s borders, consider a day trip to Ravenna to admire its well-preserved Byzantine mosaics, or visit the picturesque medieval village of Dozza for its colorful murals and charming fortress.
So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your Bologna adventure now and discover all the amazing things this city has to offer!
Q: What are the best things to do in Bologna today?
A: Bologna offers a range of activities for everyone, including exploring historic landmarks, indulging in delicious cuisine, visiting the university, shopping at the local markets, and taking day trips to nearby attractions.
Q: How do I get to Piazza Maggiore and Basilica di San Petronio?
A: Piazza Maggiore is located in the heart of Bologna and can be easily reached by walking or public transportation. The Basilica di San Petronio is located within the square.
Q: What are the Two Towers of Bologna?
A: The Two Towers of Bologna, Torre degli Asinelli and Torre Garisenda, are medieval towers that offer breathtaking views of the city. Visitors can climb the stairs to reach the top and enjoy panoramic vistas.
Q: What kind of cuisine is Bologna known for?
A: Bologna is known for its Bolognese cuisine, which includes dishes such as tagliatelle al ragù, lasagna, mortadella sandwiches, and traditional desserts like torta di riso. Don’t miss the chance to try these delicious local specialties.
Q: What can I explore at the University of Bologna?
A: The University of Bologna is one of the oldest universities in the world and offers a rich academic history. Visitors can explore the stunning architecture, visit the Anatomy Theater, and learn about the university’s heritage.
Q: What can I find at the Quadrilatero Market?
A: The Quadrilatero Market is a vibrant food market where you can find a wide variety of fresh produce, local delicacies, and artisanal products. Sample some Parmigiano Reggiano cheese or pick up traditional Italian spices as souvenirs.
Q: What is the Archiginnasio of Bologna?
A: The Archiginnasio of Bologna was once the main building of the University of Bologna. It features intricate woodwork and frescoes, and visitors can explore the historic halls and the Anatomical Theatre.
Q: Are there any recommended day trips from Bologna?
A: Yes, you can consider taking a day trip to Ravenna, known for its Byzantine mosaics, or visiting the medieval village of Dozza, famous for its colorful murals. Both destinations offer unique experiences beyond Bologna.
Q: Where is the Bologna Botanical Garden located?
A: The Bologna Botanical Garden is located within the city and provides a serene escape from the busy streets. Visitors can enjoy a leisurely walk among diverse plant collections and appreciate the tranquility of nature.