Things to do in Bologna: Road map with a pin on Bologna city
Emilia-Romagna,  Italy destinations

The Best Things to Do in Bologna: A Top 13 List

Bologna boasts a charming old-world charm with its beautiful redbrick buildings and skyline of towers.

Meandering along its iconic porticos, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time.

But don’t let the ancient exteriors fool you – inside is a bustling city with terrific eateries, shops, and nightlife.

As a foodie traveller, there’s truly no place I love more.

Of course, the real star is “la cucina Bolognese.

From “tortellini in brodo” to “fettuccine al ragù,” the local specialties will have your tastebuds dancing!

Be sure to stop by one of the city’s many markets too.

You’ll find all the finest regional ingredients like aged balsamic vinegar and “parmigiano reggiano” cheese that the restaurants use.

If you’re a history and culture lover you will adore exploring the medieval centre packed with architectural gems.

Don’t miss the “Due Torri” (Two Towers) that have watched over the city for centuries.

You can also find art, music, and intellectual pursuits at the prestigious University of Bologna, founded in 1088.

Whether you’re a foodie, architecture buff, or just looking for a charming Italian escape, Bologna delivers.

The locals are some of the friendliest you’ll find and are always happy to share their city with visitors.

I hope you’ll come experience its delights for yourself soon – you won’t be disappointed!

Here are the top reasons why you should visit Bologna: 

Historical Landmarks: Bologna’s medieval architecture is fascinating, like the Two Towers and Bologna Cathedral.

Did you know the taller tower, Torre degli Asinelli, is 97.2 meters tall with 498 steps to reach the top?

The shorter Torre Garisenda leans at an angle of 3.2 degrees. 

Delectable Cuisine: As the gastronomic capital of Italy, Bologna’s cuisine uniquely blends traditional and modern flavours.

Specialties include “fettuccine al ragù,” “pasta with meat-based sauce” and “mortadella sausage” similar to bologna.

Be sure to visit local markets to find aged balsamic vinegar and parmigiano reggiano used in restaurants.

Charming Local Experiences: Explore Bologna’s markets, walk along the iconic portico-lined streets, and visit the prestigious University of Bologna, founded in 1088 as the oldest in the Western world. 

Gateway to Emilia-Romagna: Located in Northern Italy, Bologna is the perfect base to discover the surrounding region renowned for cured meats, Parmigiano Reggiano, and balsamic vinegar. 

Authentic Culture: Bologna offers museums, art galleries, and cultural events like music performances to immerse yourself in Italian culture.

Walkable City: Most landmarks are easily accessible on foot along Bologna’s pedestrian-friendly streets.

Away from Crowds: Compared to other popular Italian cities, Bologna sees fewer tourists which some visitors prefer. 

I hope these details help give you a better idea of everything wonderful waiting to be discovered in Bologna.

Things to do in Bologna: climb the Asinelli Tower for a memorable top view over the city's red roofs
View over Bologna city centre from the top of Asinelli Tower

Best Things to do in Bologna

Bologna is such a richly cultural city with lots of history to discover.

Whether you want arts and culture, delicious food, or beautiful architecture – Bologna has it all!

Here are some of the top things to do in Bologna:

Walk along Bologna’s Porticoes

Things to do in Bologna: walk along the decorated porticoes
Decorated portico in Bologna

Bologna’s arcaded walkways or porticoes are truly remarkable.

Spanning over 40 kilometers throughout the historic centre, they vary in age and style. 

Such as the medieval-style porticoes of Casa Isolani along Strada Maggiore, or, Renaissance style porticoes that grace the Basilica di San Giacomo Maggiore on Via Zamboni, their elegance hinting at the artistic flourishing of that period.

The record-breaking Portico di San Luca is a must-see – at nearly 4 kilometers long, it’s the world’s longest!

Connecting Bologna to the Sanctuary of Madonna di San Luca, its 666 arches seem to represent the devil in serpent form, crushed beneath the Madonna’s protection.

Interestingly, Bologna’s porticoes served not only to shelter from weather, but also to expand living spaces as the university brought growing student populations.

I find it fascinating to picture generations of scholars ambling between lectures under graceful arcades, perhaps pausing in cafes along the way.

Today, the porticoes remain charming places for a stroll.

These distinctive arcades lining the streets provide lovely shade and ambiance.

It’s easy to get lost wandering for hours!

I recommend exploring the historic centre of Bologna on this private walking tour led by a knowledgeable guide around the city centre streets and visiting the city’s key cultural attractions.

You’ll visit lovely squares and historic buildings.

Taking a private tour with a knowledgeable local guide will be some of the most enjoyable experiences you’ll have in Bologna.

Climb the “Asinelli Tower” (Two Towers)

Things to do in Bologna: climb the Asinelli Tower, the taller of the Due Torri in Bologna
Bologna’s Two Towers (Due Torri), Asinelli and Garisenda

Bologna was town of towers with about one hundred constructed to show off their family wealth and power during the medieval period.

Though many are now extinct, about twenty survive today as evidences of Bologna’s past.

You may be familiar with two towers in particular – the Asinelli and nearby Garisenda.

Both bear the names of influential families from Bologna’s past. 

At 97 meters tall, the Asinelli tower offers an impressive view from the top after climbing its 498 steps.

I’m sure the climb is worthwhile but can understand why the long ascent might discourage some.

Still, for those with an adventurous spirit or interest in Bologna’s past, it’s a small price to pay.

The 48-meter Garisenda tower has a noticeable lean due to ground subsidence over the centuries.

It is simply an outstanding landmark because of its form.

A story exists about students of University of Bologna not climbing Asinelli tower before obtaining degrees; perhaps it is a ritual to celebrate gaining fresh outlooks upon completion of studies.

The broken vase on top, as per others, symbolizes Bologna’s capability in settling disputes.

On the whole, the towers present themselves as monuments commemorating past events that people can admire at their discretion.

The view from the top of the famous tall tower is incredible.

It’s necessary to climb up if you want to get an understanding of the surroundings!

Online booking required, you can book it here or you can combine the climb to the Asinelli Tower panoramic view with a tasting of local foods with this excellent tour!

Stroll along Via Dell’Indipendenza

Via dell’Indipendenza provides a grand entrance into Bologna’s historic center from the train station.

Stretching over a kilometer, its arcaded sidewalks, or porticoes, now bustle with boutiques, cafes and hotels. 

Near the intersection with Via Rizzoli, the towering Scappi tower marks the spot of Bologna’s oldest shop, Coroncina.

Gazing up at the portico here, you’ll notice an inscription in Latin that once praised the processing of hemp and silk, industries integral to Bologna’s prosperity.

Panis vita, canabis protectio, vinum laetitia” (Bread is life, cannabis is protection, wine is joy) it reads – a nod to the materials that sustained locals for centuries.

Hang out in Piazza Maggiore

Things to do in Bologna: Piazza Maggiore the heart of the city
Piazza Maggiore

I’m sure Piazza Maggiore is a wonderful place to spend an evening, especially during the film festivals in July.

Tens of thousands of seats are set up right in the square for free screenings that celebrate the city’s rich cinematic history.

You’ll also find some of Bologna’s most historically and architecturally significant buildings surrounding the piazza.

The unfinished facade of the Basilica of San Petronio is quite a sight, with its construction beginning in the 14th century.

Pope Pius IV halted work on what was intended to be larger than St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

Whether due to lack of funds or other reasons, its facade remains incomplete today.

Inside San Petronio, you can appreciate treasures like the oldest organ still in use and the world’s largest sun dial, spanning an impressive 66 meters.

Things to do in Bologna: Explore San Petronio Church
San Petronio church with its unfinished facade

The sundial’s precise measurements must have been quite an engineering feat for its time.

I imagine scholars and visitors alike find much to admire within its walls.

At the piazza’s center stands the magnificent Fountain of Neptune statue, towering over 3 meters tall.

The sculptor Giambologna initially intended realistic proportions for Neptune’s anatomy.

However, constraints from the Church required modification.

While adhering to Cardinal Cesi’s wishes, the sculptor is said to have cleverly positioned Neptune’s left hand to achieve a certain impression from one angle. Climbing the steps of “Palazzo della Borsa” allows you to spot this detail and appreciate the sculptor’s wit within the limits he faced.

The area of Piazza Maggiore is where I would go for an enchanted exploration into the essence of Bologna that encompasses its present vitality and past history in its building and spaces.

Stroll in its enchanting center square which is encircled by magnificent structures and feel the vibrant air.

Explore Basilica Di Santo Stefano

Things to do in Bologna: Explore the basilica di Santo Stefano, part of the Seven Churches complex
Basilica di Santo Stefano

If you happen to visit St. Stephen’s Basilica located in Bologna, then you should be aware of the fact that it forms the Seven Churches complex or cluster.

The square itself too happens to be called the same beautiful name complex.

I know it can be easy to assume there are seven actual churches here based on the name, but you will discover upon exploring that there are four churches with a central courtyard, cloister, and museum also included in this spiritual site.

The original design actually dates back over fifteen hundred years to the fifth century.

Bishop Petronius, who had been deeply moved by his travels to the Holy Land, sought to recreate aspects of the incredible Holy Sepulcher he encountered there. In his compassion for pilgrims who could not make the long journey east, he attempted through his design to give you a sense of being in the holy city itself.

I know the history of St. Stephen’s Basilica can seem complex, with its long legacy spanning over fifteen centuries.

My recommendation is to join a guided tour to feel fully supported in discovering its rich past.

Visit Bologna Museums

Art and history buffs will be in heaven at museums showcasing Bologna’s treasures through the ages.

Here are some top spots to learn about the city’s rich history and heritage:

The Archaeological Museum will transport you through time – from ancient Egypt to Roman ruins, over 150 exhibitions showcase local history.

It’s one of the city’s best-known and most-visited museums, as well as one of Italy’s most prominent archaeological institutions.

It is located on Via dell’Archiginnasio, near to the Basilica of San Petronio, in the renowned Palazzo Galvani. More information here!

If you’re an art lovers, the Pinacoteca Nazionale is a must-see.

Wander rooms of masterpieces from the 13th-19th centuries in a stunning palazzo.

Back in 1808, the “Pinacoteca Nazionale” (picture gallery) was established as part of the Academy of Fine Arts, taking over from the 18th-century Clementine Academy, which had served as the art section of the Institute of Sciences.

This was a very crucial turning point for the gallery.

Significantly, in 1882, the Pinacoteca separated as an independent museum.

This enabled the picture gallery to exhibit its treasure of arts in the right perspective and provided an opportunity to increase its collection and interact with tourists.

Today, the Pinacoteca Nazionale can be found in two locations.

Its main site is situated in Via delle Belle Arti, where you can immerse yourself in the rich artistic heritage it offers.

Furthermore, it also has a second place in Palazzo Pepoli Campogrande located at via Castiglione, where one can even enjoy visiting many interesting and various works of art.

Find more on opening hours and tickets here (scroll down for English)

Things to do in Bologna: Visit the Archiginnasio Palace with its Anatomical Theatre
Decorated portico in Archiginnasio library

Contemporary art is represented by leading Italian and international artists with MAMbo (Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna).

It’s located in the Porto neighbourhood, at the former bread oven on Via Don Minzoni, inside the Manifattura delle Arti, a cultural district in Bologna’s historic centre.

There is also a library, a bookshop and a restaurant.

A fun alternative to Bologna’s old structures. More info here!

While exploring the many treasures in Bologna, I think you’ll find that the Salaborsa Library is a real gem.

Housed within the historic Palazzo d’Accursio, the former seat of Bologna’s city leadership overlooking the beautiful Piazza Nettuno, the library first opened its doors in 2001.

Stepping inside its walls, you’ll be transported back through the centuries to when this palazzo was first erected.

During the library’s restoration, archaeologists made a thrilling discovery – ruins of the original structure lying intact beneath the current one.

Rather than hide these remains, architects designed the flooring with glass, so you can peer down and glimpse Bologna’s past preserved for your eyes.

I hope you’ll also spend time exploring the historic Archiginnasio.

As the original home to Bologna’s esteemed university, this beautiful palazzo remains one of the city’s most distinctive buildings.

Some believe its construction was commissioned in part to redirect funds away from expanding the majestic Basilica of San Petronio.

In a sensitive move to preserve balance, the Archiginnasio was also erected in an area initially intended for the basilica.

I know limiting such an iconic church was a complex situation, but out of it came this palace treasured today.

You’ll find its courtyard, with its beautifully decorated double loggia, to be a true delight.

But perhaps most fascinating is the Anatomical Theater inside.

Its amphitheater design allowed for the respectful study of the human form, which advanced medical knowledge.

A Bologna private tour will even share the poignant history of this place, when its original marble table for autopsies was retired out of sensitivity for those disturbed by such real reminders.

You can also visit the entire palace with this audio-guided tour that also include food tasting at the end!

If you love music, head to the International Museum and Library of Music to explore the roots of instruments, scores and recordings.

It is based in Palazzo Sanguinetti, a prestigious 16th-century palace overlooking the central Strada Maggiore. More information here!

And for something sweet – the Gelato Museum Carpigiani explores the evolution of gelato-making.

Explore Bologna’s market

And foodies will definitely enjoy the Bologna markets.

The Quadrilatero district just outside Piazza Maggiore sounds divine for foodies like us.

Bordered by Via Rizzoli, Via dell’Archiginnasio, Via Farini and Via Castiglione, this warren of pedestrian streets traces the city’s ancient market heart.

Wandering its narrow streets, you’ll find countless cafes and bustling markets perfect for people watching over aperitivo. 

At nearby Mercato di Mezzo, I’m sure the selection of cured meats, artisanal cheeses and fresh seasonal produce will spark your culinary imagination.

Whether browsing for ingredients to cook up a feast back at home or sampling treats directly from producers, the market is a sensory delight.

Find La Finestrella (the little window) on Via Piella

Things to do in Bologna: La Finestrella (little window) in Via Piella

When gazing upon modern Bologna, it’s hard to imagine the waterways that once flowed through its very foundations.

While no rivers naturally cut through the city, the ingenious residents of mediaeval times constructed an intricate network of artificial canals.

These channels weren’t just for transportation, though they certainly moved both people and provisions across the burgeoning metropolis.

Their industrious waters also provided the power that drove Bologna’s economy. Countless mills depended on steady currents to spin the fine yarns produced in the textile workshops, clothing the city in woven wealth.

Though few traces remain today, one such relic can still be found if you look closely enough.

As you wander the quiet alleyways parallel to Via dell’Indipendenza, keep your eyes peeled between Via Bertiera and Via Righi. There, along Via Piella, lies a hidden glimpse into Bologna’s past—La Finestrella, the little window.

Though small and easily missed, I encourage you to slow your pace and discover this surprise for yourself.

What awaits behind that tiny opening is a picturesque canal scene that will transport you back centuries.

Can you picture the bustling commerce that once flowed through these watery thoroughfares?

While some dismiss La Finestrella as insignificant, I believe its charm lies in its ability to ignite our imagination.

In an instant, it breathes life back into the mediaeval city hidden beneath today’s streets.

Stop by Lucio Dalla house

As you wander Bologna’s storied streets, have you considered paying tribute to one of its most celebrated sons?

Lucio Dalla (famous Italian artist) poured his heart and soul into this city through his music, and his legacy is woven into the very fabric of its neighborhoods.

Walk to Piazza dei Celestini and look up at the terrace of his former home.

There, amidst the wire mesh, you’ll find his likeness gazing eternally over this place he loved so much.

Take a moment there to appreciate the profound bond between artist and muse—between Dalla and his Bologna.

Within those walls, he found endless inspiration, from the grass and benches in Piazza Cavour to every corner that shaped him.

His lyrics brought the city’s places to vibrant life for all to enjoy.

While tours may share precious anecdotes, you need not enter to feel the warmth and spirit that emanated from here.

Lift your eyes and senses, and you too can pay tribute to the man who gave Bologna’s soul a soundtrack for the ages.

In that simple gesture, you continue the cycle of love between a town and its son.

Relax at Parco Giardini Margherita (Margherita’s Gardens)

Looking for a lush oasis in the heart of the city?

Then Margherita Gardens should be your destination.

As the largest urban park in town, it’s the perfect place to escape the bustle and immerse yourself in nature.

Just head south from the historic city centre, and you’ll come across the park entrance.

Wander past the stunning cast iron gates, and you’ll be immersed in an entirely different realm of existence.

The sprawling gardens, which cover about 26 hectares, provide an extensive network of walking and running trails to wander.

Wander the paved paths surrounding the picturesque lake or find a shady spot to relax.

In the warmer months, be sure to visit the Greenhouse Bar.

Nestled among beautifully restored Victorian glasshouses filled with blooming flowers, it’s the prime spot to unwind over food and drinks.

Order a glass of local wine and take in the romantic atmosphere.

You are sure to have a good time on most nights, as there is live music, poetry reading, or a lecture.

It’s definitely the best way to enjoy a night’s exposure to culture and nature.

Taste local cuisine

Tigelle typical Emilia Romagna bread usually served with cold cuts, cheese or pesto - Italy off the beaten path
Tigelle typical Emilia Romagna bread usually served with cold cuts, cheese or pesto.

When visiting Bologna, you simply must indulge in the city’s famous cuisine.

Two dishes I always make sure to try are “fettuccine alla bolognese” and “tortellini” – the rich meat sauce and hand-folded pasta never disappoint.

And don’t even get me started on the cured meats!

Prosciutto, salami and mortadella are divine.

To really experience the heart and soul of Bologna, I recommend signing up for a food tour.

I highly recommend these two, which will show you different sides of the local culinary scene.

Taste Bologna is a wonderful walking tour around the historic center led by a knowledgeable local guide.

If you walk through these narrow streets, you will taste the city’s delicious food. Tagliatelle, tortellini, salumi – it’s pure foodie heaven.

You can book directly with Taste Bologna.

The second tour I recommend is with Bologna Tour, which ventures out into the Emilia Romagna countryside.

First, you’ll go on a trip to farms and factories to familiarize yourself with production techniques, followed by extensive tasting.

It will be interesting to know where in Bologna famous dishes come from.

Explore the surroundings: Day trips from Bologna

Take day trips to explore beautiful nearby territory.

While Bologna and the Emilia Romagna region have plenty to keep you busy, what many visitors don’t realize is just how close they are to two of Italy’s most iconic cities – Venice and Florence.

Both are under an hour away by train, making day trips incredibly easy from Bologna. 

This is a huge advantage as it allows you to experience multiple destinations without the hassle of moving accommodation.

When you need a change of scenery, hop on a train and immerse yourself in the magic of Venice or the Renaissance charm of Florence for the day. 

If you’d prefer a more adventurous road trip, renting a car opens up endless possibilities for exploration.

Weaving through the Apennine Mountains, you’ll discover tiny hilltop towns and medieval castles hiding incredible Michelin-starred restaurants.

The region also pays poignant tribute to its history through WWII memorials.

For a lower-key excursion, consider day trips to the culinary powerhouses of Modena or Parma where you can sample world-famous balsamic vinegar and prosciutto.

If you’re passionate about food, wine, culture and travel you may want to consider this 7 days tour to savour the flavours of Emilia Romagna region, with cultural and culinary tour in Parma.

Visit Bologna’s Motor Valley

You simply must visit the incredible Motor Valley just outside Bologna.

As one who loves anything that runs on wheels, I could not underscore the profound effect of this special place on me anymore.

Several iconic brands that you and many others admire are based right there: Ferrari, Lamborghini, Ducati, Pagani, and Maserati.

Here is an opportunity for you to visit the origin of their dreams and appreciate the hands behind the making of every single car and motorcycle.

In particular, the Ducati museum is quite interesting and reflective of the firm’s history.

Through a detailed account of the motorcycles, including their story as well as that of their masters, you will have a fresh insight into the commitment required to excel in cycling.

Take the bestselling “BOLOGNA BEST: Lamborghini Museum, Ducati Factory & Museum, Balsamic & lunch” This tour includes a guided factory visit and museum tour by Ducati, a skip-the-line access ticket to the Lamborghini Museum, a food tour of a local balsamic vinegar producer, and a wonderful and relaxing lunch at the balsamic producer’s private villa.

The museums in Modena at Ferrari honour another native son, Enzo Ferrari, who contributed to the auto revival in the Valley.

You can book you tickets here or you may want to take the bestselling “Ferrari Vip Day Tour with Test Drive!
You’ll enjoy a full-day tour of the Ferrari Headquarter in Maranello, where you can learn about the Prancing Horse’s history and try out the Ferrari F1 Simulator.

The tour also includes a guided shuttle tour of the Ferrari Citadel, where you can learn about the company’s history and test drive a Ferrari around Maranello’s streets.
To cap off your day, enjoy a full lunch at the renowned chef Massimo Bottura’s “Cavallino” restaurant, where you can enjoy an excellent lunch based on typical products at the Cavallino Restaurant, a favourite of Ferrari drivers, with the menu of the world’s best chef Massimo Bottura.

You might also enjoy combining it with a tour that honours another of Modena’s legends, opera singer Luciano Pavarotti.

Standing in awe of the perfect specimens from Ferrari‘s glorious racing history or Ducati‘s parade of championship-winning bikes is a spine-tingling experience.

To see the trophies and leathers of legends up close is to be in the presence of greatness.

But more than just admiring vehicles from afar, this region will give you newfound kinship with the craftspeople behind them.

A trip to Motor Valley has the power to reinvigorate your love and appreciation for the art of the automobile like nothing else.

Do not deny your passions; this is a pilgrimage you must make.

The soul-stirring sights and stories will stay with you forever.

What to Eat in Bologna

Bologna is truly the foodie capital of Italy – you’ll be amazed by the unique flavours!

The cuisine blends tradition with modern twists.

A few bites of the local specialties are sure to win you over for a visit. 

Fettuccine alla bolognese are to die for — made with fresh egg pasta and a proper meat sauce (the real deal Bolognese sauce), this is absolutely worth ordering.

It’s so comforting on a chilly day.
To get the real Bologna experience, try tortellini in brodo, small stuffed pastas in a light soup.

This classic winter warmer will warm your soul.
Lasagna Bolognese layers pasta with that incredible meat sauce and melty cheese – the ultimate comfort food. 

Cured meats like mortadella and prosciutto take sandwiches to new heights. They’re perfect for antipasti too.

The nutty parmigiano reggiano adds unbeatable flavour, especially grated over pasta. 

For something sweet, the almond-studded certosino di Bologna cake is a Christmas treat. 

And don’t miss tasting aged balsamic vinegar from Modena or noshing tigelle breads with cured meats.

Get the full Emilia Romagna experience with this “7 days Italian culinary adventure in Emilia Romagna region“. 

With flavours this irresistible, you’ll be dreaming of Bologna long after your visit! Let me know if any dishes especially intrigue you.

A food walking tour is a wonderful way to experience the city.

You’ll get to try some of the delicious foods Bologna is famous for, like pasta and cured meats, while your local guide shows you around the historic streets.

This tour by “Taste Bologna” is a fantastic Bologna food walking tour given by a local Bolognese guide. Your guide will take you on a stroll through the city while you stop to nibble on specialties like mortadella and tortellini.

You can book this food tasting and walking tour here!

Where to stay in Bologna

Wondering where to lay your head in Bologna?

I’ve got you covered with some great accommodation options in the different districts of the city.

The historic center of Bologna is surrounded by a ring of old walls that form a perfect circle around the downtown area.

Inside the circle, there are a few distinct neighborhoods.

The oldest and most prestigious area is right in the centre, between Piazza Maggiore and the intersections of Via Rizzoli, Via Ugo Bassi, and Via Indipendenza.

This area has all the high-end accommodation options, so it’s best if you’re not on a tight budget.

Look for accommodation in Bologna’s historic centre

Just outside the old walls, Via Pratello and Via San Vitale are vibrant streets filled with bars, cafes, and young people.

Staying in this area is incredibly convenient for sightseeing – you really can’t beat the location. All the top attractions are just a short stroll away.

Piazza Maggiore, the beautiful main square and heart of Bologna, is a mere 10 minute walk.

And you’re only 20 minutes from Bologna Centrale station if arriving by train.

Everything is so close that you don’t need to rely on public transport.

Just set out exploring on foot and you’ll quickly find yourself in the midst of the historic center.

Lodging is a bit cheaper in this area, making it a great option for students or those watching their euros.

Look for the best lodging options here!

You’ll also want to check out the historic Jewish Ghetto and the university area, centred around Via Zamboni.

There’s lots of energy and nightlife there since it’s populated by students, but it’s very reasonably priced.

Look for the best lodging options here!

Moving past the ring road, the Fiera district near San Donato is worth a visit if you’re in town for one of the many trade shows or conferences.

There are numerous business hotels in the area.

Look for the best lodging options here!

And if you have a car, I’d recommend driving out to the Colli Bolognesi hills for beautiful scenery and agritourism farms.

Perfect for families who want to escape the city for a day.

Look for the best lodging options here!

As for areas to avoid at night, stick to the well-lit and busy streets in the city center.

Montagnola Gardens and Piazza Verdi can attract some unsavoury characters after dark. Also, use caution in the outer neighbourhoods of Bolognina, Borgo Panigale, Navile, and Savena when walking alone at night.

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When is the best time to visit Bologna?

Here are some insights on the seasonal weather:

Bologna enjoys a warm climate much of the year.

Spring through early fall tend to offer the most reliably nice conditions. 

April through June are lovely – the weather is mild as flowers burst into colour.

It’s a perfect time to stroll landmarks.

Summers can be hot but July and August still work well.

Catch outdoor events like films in Piazza Maggiore too.

Just be ready for 30°C (86°F) heat!

September through October continue the warm trend before a more variable fall sets in. 

Winter does see rain and chillier temperatures, making it a less active time to visit. But you may find smaller crowds!

Overall, spring and late spring through early fall tend to provide the most stable weather to comfortably explore.

But don’t let a little rain deter – just come prepared with an umbrella.

Bologna’s charms are worth experiencing any time of year.

How to get to and around Bologna

Traveling to and around charming Bologna is a breeze!

Here are some top transportation options:

Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport is super convenient, just a short taxi/bus ride from downtown.

Many European airlines fly direct.

Bologna Centrale station puts you right in the heart of the action whether arriving by high-speed train from cities like Rome, Florence or Venice.

The local bus system TPER is extremely reliable and efficient for zipping all around town.

Great for sightseeing!

Driving and parking can be tricky in the city centre.

Consider renting a car for day trips outside Bologna instead. 

Best of all, Bologna is very walkable.

Strolling cobblestone streets under porticoes is a delight.

You’ll discover hidden piazzas at every turn!

However you travel, getting to and around this lovely city is a breeze.

Is Bologna worth a visit? 

100% yes!

This city has so much to offer to any traveler.

Foodies will be in heaven with the incredible cuisine – you may never eat again after trying all the pasta and cured meats! 

History and art buffs won’t want to miss exploring … the museums, landmarks and UNESCO porticoes.

The cultural scene is vibrant.

And Bologna is just so easy to explore.

Whether you’re walking cobblestone streets, taking the efficient buses or arriving by high-speed train – getting around is simple. 

You’ll find charming piazzas, friendly locals and an energy that draws you in at every turn.

No wonder it’s nicknamed “La Dotta, La Rossa, La Grassa” which translates to “The Learned, The Red, The Plump.”

“The Learned” honours the prestigious University of Bologna, founded way back in 1088 making it the oldest in the West.

What a history of education! 

The Red” comes from the terra cotta rooftops that dot the city, giving it a warm glow.

So picturesque!

And “The Plump” refers to Bologna’s incredible food scene – the rich sauces, cheeses and cured meats will leave you feeling satisfied indeed.

It’s a true gastronomic capital.

So whether it’s a long weekend or extended stay, I promise Bologna will leave you with unforgettable memories and wanting to return time and again.

If you’re planning a trip to Italy, you may want to read this curated guide on “How to plan a trip to Italy.

Ciao and Happy travels!

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I'm a freelance travel writer and SEO copywriter, and I absolutely love what I do. Writing has always been a passion of mine, and traveling is the ultimate source of inspiration for me. In fact, I became particularly drawn to planning travel experiences in Italy back in 2015, and I've been hooked ever since! I'm what you might call a "slow traveler" - someone who likes to take their time exploring new places and soaking up different cultures. And when I started writing about my travels a few years ago, I was blown away by the incredible opportunity it gave me to share my experiences with others and learn from them in turn. It's truly an amazing thing!

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