These two leaning towers, built in the 12th century, are together one of the main symbols of Bologna. The tallest tower is the Torre degli Asinelli, with its 98 metres. It is worth making an effort to climb this tower because of the magnificent views from the top.
Stands on Bologna’s main square, (Piazza Maggiore), Basilica of San Petronio is one of the largest medieval churches in Italy and an important symbol of the city. The inside is full of Gothic archways, stained glass windows and doors from the 15th and 16th centuries.
This extraordinary religious site consists of four medieval churches, originally there were seven churches, and therefore it is known by the name of Sette Chiese (Seven Churches). Beside churches, this peaceful complex contains of cloisters, tombs and courtyards, a great place to browse religious art and artifacts too. The most interesting is the church of the Sepolcro, which preserves a representation of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.
Built in 1238, this is the birthplace of the Dominican order and the resting place of the remains of its founder. It is one of the richest churches in Bologna when it comes to history and art. The small museum houses art and precious relics like the relic of Louis IX of France. Also, come and see the beautiful Romanesque façade and Gothic chapels.
The National Gallery, Pinacoteca Nazionale, is the most important art gallery in Bologna and boasts one of the richest collections in Northern Italy. Art from major Italian artists, including local artists are housed here. Here you will find works of art, dating back from the 14th and 15th century (Vitale da Bologna etc.), to the Renaissance period (Raffaello, Perugino, Tintoretto etc. ) and art from the 16th-century.
Terme San Luca provides baths, hydro-massage, thermal pools and a wellness centre. With more than 25 years of history this is one of the oldest spas in Bologna, even if the spa-culture dates further back in time than that. The first “calidarium” in Bologna was built by Emperor Augustus more than 2000 years ago.
If you want to learn how to cook a perfect pasta Bolognese you should do it in Bologna, the home of the world’s famous sauce. Agriturismo San Giuliano organizes classes in pasta making and cooking traditional Italian food. The courses can be held in Italian, English, French or Spanish.
The city of Bologna is famous for its university, which was the first university in the world. Some of the famous people who have been teaching here include Nicolaus Copernicus and Francesco Petrarca. Today the university has more than 100,000 students and that makes it the largest in Italy.
Opposed to all the old history of Bologna, MAMbo shows art from World War II up to the present day combined with well-known Italian and foreign artists. The museum is housed in a former industrial space that was built in 1915 and served as a bakery for many years. Today it is a premier contemporary art gallery where you can easily spend a couple of hours.
The Italians see their luxury car brand Ferrari as a religion and their beautiful cars as saints. In the city of Maranello just outside Bologna you can find the factory. In a separate building next to it, a 2,500 square meter museum welcomes guests to discover the history of the brand and to be fascinated by the fast cars.
Teatro Comunale di Bologna was designed by the architect Antonio Galli Bibiena and was inaugurated in 1763. Today it is the heart of Bolognas culture life and considered to be one of the most important opera venues in Italy. Opera, ballet, symphonic concerts or contemporary music, regardless you choose, it will be a cultural high point to remember.
If you want to play a game of golf you can go to the historical 50-year old Golf Club Bologna. This is a good place to go for experiencing the beautiful Bolognese countryside. The last three holes are claimed to be a real challenge. When the hunger kicks in, there is a restaurant and bar in the club house where to relish culinary delicacy in a relaxed ambiance.
Also known as, Stadio Littorialeis, Stadio Renato Dall'Ara is a multi-purpose stadium. If you like soccer, this is the main soccer stadium of Bologna. It was established in 1927 and has a capacity of over 38,000 people and even though the stadium is old, the condition and facilities are good. Concerts are also held at this stadium.
In a crowded square in the middle of Bologna you can find the fountain Fontana del Nettuno, a work that was designed by the Palermitan architect Tommaso Laureti and the life-size bronze statue of the god Neptune on the top was done by sculptor Giambologna. Here you can grab a gelato or coffee, just relax and enjoy people watching by the fountain.
Rodrigo, situated in an old building in the city centre, is claimed to be one of the most elegant restaurants of the city. The menu contains both traditional dishes and creative ones based on fish, meat and mushrooms. The fresh pasta is very good. If you go there late in the evening, you can sometimes spot famous Italian actors.
Born in the 1920's, this restaurant is known as the temple of the Bolognese cuisine. Recommended dishes include fresh pasta (tortellini, tortelloni, lasagne, tagliatelle), roasts, mushrooms and dessert ’Diana’ with hot chocolate and ice cream. The furniture and atmosphere give you a ticket back to the 1950's.
Donatello is a well-known restaurant frequently visited by famous artists and singers. The walls are covered with photographs and the restaurant is renowned for its excellent food. Choose between dishes like tortellini with cream and walnuts or tagliatelle with meat sauce and grilled meat. The wine is also claimed to be really good.
Here you can try all sorts of piadinas (a sort of pizza bread with fillings) and you will definitely find something you like. Choose between everything from the thick piadina of Bertinoro to the thin kind from Riccione. They also have a kind of vegetarian piadina and flavours such as Nerella with walnuts.
Do what the celebrities do when they visit Bologna and eat your dinner at Al Montegrappa da Nello. Elvis Costello, Lou Reed and Rupert Everett are just a few of the famous people who have eaten here and on the walls you will find more photos of their celebrity guests. The restaurant is located right in the heart of the historical centre and they serve traditional Bolognese dishes.
Inside the marvellous hotel Portici Hotel Bologna you can find the Michelin starred restaurant. This gourmet restaurant will satisfy all your senses by carefully preparing a dish with top quality ingredients, all led by a highly skilled and passionate chef. Everything here is done with perfection, the service, the food and drinks; this will definitely be a wow experience to remember.
Popular among the locals, Caffe Terzi is a very elegant and refined café, located in the city centre. They really know their coffee here and they do it well. This kind of passion is hard to find elsewhere, just as the wide choice of infusions and teas, perfect for a relaxing break.
In a quiet courtyard off Piazza Maggiore lies this picturesque café. The Duca D'Amalfi's large outdoor area is perfect for a relaxing or energizing cup of coffee. Indeed here you will often see students and teachers taking their break all together or simply reading a book.
At Le Petit Cafè you can find a wide selection of natural products, which will energize you and will bring a smile in your hectic day. If you want to relax, have an authentic Italian café experience at the Le Petit Cafè and enjoy a cup of strong coffee combined with freshly baked pastry.
Come to Gamberini and have a Bolognese breakfast and lunch served in a sophisticated manner. You can order a fascinating dish like for example cannellini bean cream and shrimps skewer and scrumptious patisserie for dessert. The happy hour is also of great importance for the locals, that is why it is recommended to attend it and taste the selection of cocktails and international wines.
Located within close proximity of fancy shopping centers, Caffè Zanarini invites you to try Italian coffee in a modern atmosphere. The establishment offers outdoor sitting, which is a great option for the perfect start of your day. Take a glass of aromatic coffee, select among the rich assortment of sandwiches and pastries and enjoy the idyllic setting.
Le Stanze is a very charming bar on campus. It is located in an 18th century house and the walls are covered with beautiful frescoes. This is a good bar to go after dinner. They have exceptional cocktails such as caipiroska with vanilla or liquorice. The music is varied with everything from classical and jazz to house and acid.
Right in the city centre, Hobby One might be the best places to be on a Friday or Saturday night. Here you can find fantastic cocktails, glamorous people and inspiring music. Although the queue can get long, it is worth a try since they are hosing some of the best parties in the town.
If you are in the mood for Irish, this could be a good place to go. The Irish Pub Celtic Druid originated as a small beer house in the 1980’s, and today they boast a wide selection of beer on tap including whiskeys. Friendly staff, good drink selection and vibrant atmosphere...what's not to like?
Right next to the Bologna central station, you can find the Locomotiv Club, a live music club that hosts some of the most influential artists within the world music scene including local artists. If you are into rock music, cultural events, concerts and good beer, then this is the place to head for.
Kinki is located near the Two Towers and considered as the oldest party-place in town (started in 1958). It is a well-renowned club and has been described as the best club in Italy. A mixed clientele are drawn to this club, especially on Saturdays when DJs are playing. This place has also hosted artists like Jimi Hendrix and Marcella Bella. Pop in and see what the fuss is all about!
Barberino Designer Outlet is the perfect shopping destination just 30 minutes from Florence. Here you can find 200 of the most luxurious designer fashion brands up to 70% less. With cafés, restaurants and tax free shopping available, there’s everything the discerning shopper could ever desire.
At sixty minutes' driving from Milan and Bologna, Fidenza Village is home to more than 100 outlet boutiques offering savings of up to 70% on the ordinary retail price for previous seasons’ collections from leading Italian and international brands. Style affordable for everyone.
Fashion shops are located all around the centre of Bologna, but boutiques and international brands can mostly be found in Via Farini, Via Ugo Bassi, Via Indipendenza and under the Portico del Pavaglione. In this city you will find all the greatest designers' shops.
Italy can be visited visa-free for up to 90 days by citizens of Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Israel, UAE and most countries in America. If you are unsure whether or not you need to apply for a visa, we recommend contacting the embassy or consulate in your country. International (non-Schengen) travelers need a passport that is valid for at least 3 months after the end of their intended trip in order to enter the Schengen zone. Citizens of Schengen countries can travel without a passport, but must have a valid ID with them during their stay.
The Bologna Airport is located 9 kilometres from the city centre. You can reach the city by taxi or shuttle. Taxi stand is just outside the arrival hall. Aerobus is a shuttle service run by TPER and it leaves every 11 minutes from the airport from 5:30am to 12.15am and from the central station to the airport from 5am to 11.35pm. The trip takes almost 30 minutes. Tickets can be bought directly online (aerobus.bo.it) or at the automatic machines next to the shuttle stops.
In Bologna, you can enjoy favourable weather almost all year round. Between the months of May and August is considered the pick of the season and the climate is predominantly humid. On the other hand the winter season is another great option as you can feel the Christmas spirit in the capital of the Emilia-Romagna Region.
TPER is the company that operates Bologna’s local transport system. You can buy tickets in every newsstand, tobacconist, automatic machines (near to the main bus stops) and in TPER offices. Once you are on the bus remember to stamp your ticket, it will be valid for 75 minutes. For tourists various passes are available: daily passes, carnet with 10 or 20 tickets. For additional information, visit the TPER office, (contacts below are referred to the main TPER office).