Bologna is a historical city, with around 380,000 inhabitants. Although it is well known by Italians, it is less so among foreign visitors.

125 things to do

All Places Italy

Palazzo Poggi

The building houses the headquarters of the University of Bologna. The interior is decorated with frescoes by Pellegrino Tibaldi, on the ground floor is situated 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''.

SEE   —  +39 0512099398 —  Via Zamboni 33

Basilica di San Petronio

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.


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.

Covo Club

"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

DO   —  Viale Zagabria 1

Hotel Fiera

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.

SLEEP   —  Via Stalingrado 82

Osteria del Sole

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).

EAT   —  Vicolo Ranocchi 1d

Eataly Bologna

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.

Osteria La Matta

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.

EAT   —  Via Zucchini 9

L'Antica Trattoria Spiga

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.

Ai Vini Scelti

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.

DRINK   —  Via Andrea Costa 36/B

Museo Civico Archeologico

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.

Cook Italy

Get behind one of those huge Bologna doorways and spend a day cooking with Carmelita of Cook Italy, the longest established Bologna cooking-school. Carmelita also customises the menu. The full-day class includes a very informative and entertaining tour of Bologna's markets, where you'll learn about the city's centuries of history as a culinary capital while shopping for fresh ingredients.

Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna

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).

Al Pappagallo

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.

EAT   —  Map

Palazzo dell'Archiginnasio

Once the main building of the University of Bologna, it currently 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.

Collezioni Comunali d'Arte

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).

Collegio Universitario S. Tommaso d'Aquino a Bologna

A part of San Tommaso's college but available for booking to everyone. Pros: Good location, cheap, free and high-speed Wi-Fi. Cons: Reception is not 24 hours! It is closed from 1AM-7AM (8AM during weekends), you will not be able to enter the hotel after 1AM - it is possible to extend it for €20-30 till 2AM-3AM respectively, but only in advance.

Accademia Filarmonica

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

Santuario della Madonna di San Luca

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.

SEE   —  Colle della Guardia

Museo delle Cere anatomiche "Luigi Cattaneo"

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.


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 is the organic market. There is also self-managed workshop to repair bikes. it's open on Wednesdays and Sundays from 18 to 22.

DO   —  Via Fioravanti 24

NH Bologna Villanova

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.

Palazzo Re Enzo

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.

Il Nosadillo

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.

Guglielmo Marconi (Bologna) International Airport

The airport has numerous international connections available, including nonstop flights to Amsterdam, Brussels (National), Charleroi ("Brussels" South), Copenhagen, Dublin, Edinburgh, Istanbul, Lisbon, London, Madrid, Moscow, Paris, Prague, Vienna, and Zagreb (seasonal).

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''.

SLEEP   —  Map

Hotel HC3 Bologna

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.

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.

SLEEP   —  Map

Museo Europeo degli Studenti

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.

Ospiti da Fabrizio

Charming flat (60 mq) 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.

SLEEP   —  Via Sant'Anna 20

Palazzo d'Accursio

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.

Orto Botanico ed Erbario

Created in the mid-16th century for medicinal herbs. Currently 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.

Beatrice B&B Bologna

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.

Room&Breakfast Le Stanze del Carro

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.

SLEEP   —  +39 051 7162926 —  Via del carro 11

Hotel Imperial

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.

Museo della Specola

Located at the ''Specola'', an astronomical tower built in the beginning of XVIII-century over Palazzo Poggi. The material exposed illustrates the evolution of the astronomic instrumentation through the centuries.


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'').

OTHER   —  Map

Italian Days

A small-group guided culinary tour of the Bologna region's famous traditional delicacies - a Parmigiano-Reggiano factory, a balsamic vinegar house, and a prosciutto di Modena ham factory - followed by a big lunch.

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

DO   —  Map

Residence Porta Saragozza

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.

SLEEP   —  +39 051 6141411 —  Via Turati 100

Villa delle Rose

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

Taste Bologna

Walking food tour in Bologna city centre to discover Bologna's food culture. Small groups (max 8p) visit the historical markets and unique places not on the tourist route to eat like a local.

DO   —  +39 3489346282 —  Map

Giardino della Montagnola

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.

SEE   —  Piazza VIII Agosto

Torre Prendiparte

60m tower, the second largest in the city. Presumably it used to be higher than its current height. Currently it's B&B and room for events, also hosts shows and presentations.

SEE   —  Map

I Portici Hotel Bologna

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.

Tombe dei Glossatori

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.

Enoteca Italiana

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.

EAT   —  Via Marsala 2b

Fontana di Nettuno

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.

SEE   —  Map

Residence alle Scuole

Relaxing country hotel near Bologna. All rooms have satellite TV, telephone, air conditioning, private bath and free internet connection. 14 rooms, three stars.

Museo Ducati

Represents the evolution of the Bolognese motorcycle firm. An exposition of motorcycles, period materials, projects, mechanical components, pictures and videos.

Da Leonida

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...

EAT   —  Vicolo Alemagna


Go here for a lunch. Best Terrace in town. Stylish waiters serve quality food. A 0,75 l bottle San Pelligrini only costs 2,50 EUR. Good value for your money.

EAT   —  Piazza Galvani, 1

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''.

SEE   —  Map

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.

SEE   —  Map

Hotel Porta San Mamolo

A much-loved small hotel, lauded for its lovely staff, comfortable and prettily decorated rooms, and central but quiet location. 43 rooms, three stars.

Amadeus Hotel

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.

Relais Villa Valfiore

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.

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.

SEE   —  Map

San Giorgio in Poggiale

A former 16th century church. It currently hosts the ''Biblioteca di Arte e di Storia di San Giorgio in Poggiale'' (Art and History Library).

SEE   —  Map

Hotel University Bologna

The University Hotel is located close to the “Universitá degli Studi”. 22 rooms, three stars. A breakfast buffet is inclusive in the price.

SLEEP   —  +39 051 229713 —  Via Mentana

Alberta D Bed & Breakfast

Charming rooms (2) recently renovated, comfortably furnished, free WiFi, centrally located and close to public transportation and shops.

SLEEP   —  Via Sant'Isaia 58

Galleria d'Arte Moderna “Raccolta Lercaro”

Houses about 2000 works by Italian and foreign artists with special attention to the sculptures by Manzù, Messina, Rodin and Giacometti.


an historical occupied location that host a wide variety of activities. Every Tuesday from the late afternoon there's an organic market.

B&B Bologna nel Cuore

Two bedrooms and two studios. An intimate and stylish bed & breakfast located in an ancient building in the historic center of Bologna.

Torre degli Asinelli

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).

L'Antica Osteria Romagnola

It is very pretty and does good food but refuse the abundant (and expensive) antipasto or have that and just one other course.

EAT   —  Via Rialto 13

Santuario di Santa Maria della Vita

This Church contains "The Lamentation", a life-size terracotta group sculpture, Renaissance masterpiece by Niccolò Dell'Arca.

L'Antica Bologna

A smart but not particularly expensive bar and patisserie which also does an excellent pre-dinner ''aperitivo''. Good coffee.

EAT   —  Via San Vitale 88

Museo Lamborghini

This famous car maker in Italy has been producing some of the most sought-after luxury sports cars in the world for decades

Palazzo dei Banchi

The last palace to be built in Piazza Maggiore. Its current Renaissance-style palace façade dates to the 16th century.

SEE   —  Map

Trattoria Del Rosso

Traditional Bolognese dishes seven days a week at very reasonable prices. Owned and operated by chef Stefano Curvucci.

EAT   —  Via Augusto Righi 30


Bologna's main cemetery, with beautifully carved tombstones, built over the ruins of an ancient Etrusan necropolis.

Torre dei Garisenda

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.

Bologna Fiere

an Exhibition Centre near Bologna, that among other things has an International Automobile Exhibition every year.


A good and tasty meal for as cheap as 10 euros, coffee included. '''Matusel''' is renowned for good fish dishes.

EAT   —  Via Bertoloni 2


next to the "Fiera", is a recently opened club that features techno, and sometimes punk and new wave concerts.

DO   —  Via Calzoni

Santa Cristina

A former church contains works of ''Carracci'' and ''Guido Reni''. It currently used for concert perfomances.

SEE   —  Map


This enoteca/gastronomia does a good ''aperitivo'' on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays between 7 and 9PM.

EAT   —  via Drapperie 5

Museo d'Arte Moderna di Bologna

A nice collection of modern art, if you want a break from the more classical pieces that abound in Italy.


a big ex-industrial hangar, features dj-sets and concerts by international rock bands almost every night.

DO   —  Parco Nord

Museo Ebraico

Located in the area of the former ghetto, this museum covers the history of Bologna's Jewish population.

Residenza Ariosto

Elegant residence in the center of Bologna. Close to public transports, shops, University and hospital.

SLEEP   —  +39 051 0952779 —  Via Marsala 11

Palazzo Fava Ghisilieri

16th century building decorated by frescoes by ''Carracci''. It currently hosts temporary exhibitions.

Livello 57

Now only seldom open. It mainly features raves and techno gigs in an industrial, darkish atmosphere.

DO   —  Map

Villa Spada

On the grounds of the Palazzo Ravone an 18th-century villa, it was opened to the public in 1970.

Giardini Margherita

Bologna's main park created in 1875. The chalet converts to a nightclub in the summer evenings.

SEE   —  Viale Gozzadini


Another occupied location that mostly features experimental music festivals and rock concerts.

Museo Morandi

Opened in 1993, the museum houses most of the works by the Bolognese painter Giorgio Morandi.

SEE   —  Piazza Maggiore 6

Il Convento dei Fiori di Seta

A stylish little hotel that has been fitted into a small restored church. Four stars.

SLEEP   —  Via Orfeo 34/4

Trattoria Tony

A down to earth, reasonably-priced place with simple Bolognese food—truly excellent.

Corte de' Galluzzi

The medieval ''Torre Galluzzi'' (Galluzzi Tower) dominates this tiny square.

SEE   —  Map

Torre Azzoguidi

47m, built in the 13th century. It's built into the ''Palazzo del Podestà''.

SEE   —  Map


Some of the finest appetizers in town; great pastries (''paste'') too.

EAT   —  Via Ugo Bassi 12

Finestrella di Via Piella

A little window on the Moline Canal — the Little Venice of Bologna.

SEE   —  Map

Casa Saraceni

16th century building which currently hosts temporary exhibitions.

SEE   —  Map

Parco Cavaioni

A large park featuring meadows, fields, wooded areas, and a lake

SEE   —  Via di Casaglia

Museo Davia Bargellini

A collection of paintings in 17th century ''palazzo Davia''.

SEE   —  Strada Maggiore, 44

Villa Guastavillani

Designed and built by Tomasso Martelli in the 16th century.

Palazzo Pepoli Vecchio

The ''Museum of the history of Bologna'' is located there.

International museum and library of music

The international museum and library of music of Bologna

Museo di Mineralogia "Luigi Bombicci"

Rocks, precious stones, rare minerals and meteorites

Museo di Antropologia

Bones, and artefacts of prehistoric Italians.

Via Santa Caterina

With small houses built in the 16th century.

SEE   —  Map

Oratorio di San Colombano

Currently hosts ''Tagliavini Collection''

SEE   —  Map

Palazzo del Podestà

The first seat of the city government.

SEE   —  Piazza Maggiore, 1

Grand Hotel Baglioni

A grand large fairly elegant hotel

Museo Civico Medievale

Part of Musei Civici d'Arte Antica

Culinary Institute of Bologna

A great place for cooking lessons.

DO   —  Map


another indie rock club.

DRINK   —  Map

Left luggage

OTHER   —  Map

About Bologna

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.

Source: wikivoyage