Bologna is the capital and largest city of the Emilia-Romagna province in northern Italy. It is an easy city to get around, and many visitors find it one of Italy’s most appealing. Those who enjoy good food certainly do; it has the reputation as Italy’s gastronomic capital. Along with visiting Bologna’s tourist attractions, we recommend you to spend time absorbing the city’s unique character: take a walk beneath its long arcades, peek inside the old craft shops, pay attention to its architectural quirks and impressive brickwork, relax and enjoy your time in one of the numerous cafés. Find the best things to do in the city with our list of the top attractions.
Top Things to do in Bologna
Magical piazzas are a must when you are in Italy. Piazza Maggiore is the main piazza in Bologna, and it is definitely worth a visit – whether you go during the day to admire the architecture or at night for the sunset, it is a must when in Bologna.
Take a stroll in the medieval market and try all the local delicacies. A great place to stock up on authentic Italian spices and of course, the all-time favorite; pasta. Bologna is particularly famous for its tortellini: a type of stuffed pasta, give it a try!
A beautiful basilica on top of the hill; great for the view and for a scenery walk. The hike includes the longest portico in the world. Porticos are a unique feature of Bologna and an architectural phenomenon worth noticing.
This is the first seat of the University of Bologna, which happens to be the oldest one in the Western World. Explore the Teatro Anatomico, where some of the first scientific dissections occurred, and make sure to take a peek in the library.
Oratory of Battuti
Climb the stairs to the room above the church to find one of Bologna’s hidden treasures, a small oratorio decorated in Baroque paintings, frescoes, and gilded carvings. Around the room stand a group of 15 terracotta statues, created in the early 16th century.
Bologna has a pair of towers that appear to tilt even more alarmingly than the famous one in Pisa because of their narrow shape. They are the best-known of the 20 towers that remain of the more than 100 that formed Bologna’s 12th-century skyline.
Getting Around Like a Local in Bologna
Bologna is quite a compact city to walk around in. Getting from the south Porta Santo Stefano to the north wall by the train station will take you about 40min. Because of its narrow streets, Bologna might be confusing at the beginning, but you will quickly become familiar with it as most major roads lead to Piazza Maggiore. You can never get lost if you look up at the Two Towers.
If you wish to use public transport, many options are available, including buses, taxis, car and bike rentals. TPER is the public transport company for the Emilia-Romagna region. It is very reliable and can get you to most places. Mind that taxis are difficult to pick up on the street, and it is advisable to hire one from the taxi ranks at the train station and at Piazza Maggiore.