Last Updated on March 30, 2020
Bologna may be famed for the sauce that shares its name but there is a lot more to this city than just cuisine (not that there isn’t plenty of that here.) The city is the capital of the Emilia Romagna region of Italy and is the seventh largest city in the country, in terms of population.
There are a staggering one million people that call this place home and many visitors gather in the city, which is famed for its towers, which you will find dotted all around the city. Bologna is also famous for its beautiful churches, which are one of the main attractions to those paying a visit to the city.
Bologna is also home to the oldest university in the whole world! The university was built in 1100 and has since educated millions. The placement of this university means that many young people live in the city, giving it a youthful vibrancy that can be felt when staying here.
The city is also famous for its beautiful architecture as well as being a hub for various things such as finance and transport. Bologna has a rich industrial history and is home to the largest permanent trade fair on the entire continent of Europe.
If you are planning to visit this wonderful city, you are surely excited about all the things you might be able to see and do whilst staying here. In this article, we are going to look at some of the best things to do whilst in the city of Bologna, ensuring that your trip will be one that you never forget.
1. Piazza Maggiore
The Piazza Maggiore is world famous and is the main square within the city making it a social hub for locals and tourists alike. There are a wealth of cafes here where you can enjoy a beautiful Italian coffee and watch the world go by or you might choose to take in the breath taking architecture which surrounds the square.
The architecture here is of a classic design and compliments the square with its well kept beauty. The square is hundreds of years old but has retained the same layout today as it has in the 15th century, giving the place a real historical feel.
2. Two Towers
As we mentioned earlier, Bologna is famed for its towers which are believed to have been erected by rich people hundreds of years ago to be used as a form of defence. The towers were built in the 1100s and many still stand, in good condition to this day. They make for one of the best tourist attractions in the city and the two towers are some of the most well loved.
3. Fountain of Neptune
This beautifully artistic fountain which sits in the center of the Piazza del Nettuno draws in locals and tourists with its stunning design. As fountains go, this is one of the more intricate ones in the city and a great meeting place as well as being a place to sit and take in the surroundings.
The fountain was originally built in the 16th century and is of a typical Italian design.
5. Pinacoteca Nazionale
This art gallery proudly displays works of art from between the 13th and 18th centuries all from local artists or those who have had a close connection with Bologna. The fine art collection certainly is impressive at this national gallery and art lovers are sure to find many pieces to enjoy here.
6. F.I.C.O World Eataly
For food lovers, a trip to the World Eataly is essential when visiting Bologna. It centers completely around food and is one of the main attractions of the city.
There are a whole host of great foods to taste here as well as a great selection of store to purchase a variety of different foods. There are live demos throughout the day giving you new inspiration when it comes to your cooking.
7. Bologna Cathedral
Known locally as the Cattedrale metropolitana di San Pietro, this beautiful cathedral is a must see. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Bologna and features some stunning architecture.
The building was erected between the 16th and 17th centuries and draws in many visitors with its magnificent design. Services are held here for those who wish to attend and you can expect a formal yet warm welcome.
8. Biblioteca Salabrosa
This is the main library for the city of Bologna and is now housed near the Piazza del Nettuno. However, previously the library was in another location but was moved back in 2001.
The building features an impressive crystal floor through which you can view an archaeological site which is something pretty unique and unusual in terms of this type of building. Of course, the vast amount of literature kept here is also of great interest to visitors.
9. Via dell’Indipendenza
If you fancy treating yourself to a spot of retail therapy during you Bologna stay then the Via dell’Indipendenza is that place to be. This is the main street which runs through the city and is famous for its array of shops and places to eat.
The street was finished in 1890 and has since become an extremely popular haunt for the locals as well as one of the main attractions for tourists. There are a variety of designer and high street names making shopping accessible for all budgets and when you have finished you will find many sandwich bars and fast food restaurants.
9. Giardini Margherita
When the noise of the city becomes to much and you want somewhere to relax, the Giardini Margherita is a beautiful green space in Bologna to escape the hustle and bustle for a while. The garden was built in 1879 and features some beautiful plant life.
The site used to be an old convent and you can take in the beauty or sit by the water and relax. There is an observatory in the center of the garden which has been used for many years and this is a great place for an afternoon picnic.
10. Teatro Anatomico
This is certainly an unusual attraction and one that is very interesting. The Teatro Anatomico is a relevant historical site which used to be used in the training of medieval doctors. There are a whole host of things to see here including a room where public dissections used to be performed.
There is a wealth of information on the development of the study of anatomy and makes for an educational trip for the whole family. The Teatro Anatomico can be found at the university.
11. Museum of Modern Art
If you are an art lover, a visit to the museum of modern art is sure to please. This is a purpose built museum which houses a remarkable collection of pieces. Within the museum visitors will find another museum – the Museo Morandi which is dedicated to the work of artist Giorgio Morandi.
12. Mercato delle Erbe
If you truly want to feel the culture of this city, then you must visit the mercato delle erbe. This colorful and vibrant market offers an excellent selection of beautiful Italian foods such as cheeses and meats. There is a small restaurant here where you can have a bite to eat and rest your legs.
13. International Museum and Library of Music
Italy has given us many musical geniuses over the years such as Puccini and Vivaldi and so a museum of music is pretty apt. There are a selection of instruments which you can look at here as well as being a historical center that provides a wealth of information surrounding the subject of music. This is certainly something a little different that cannot be found in many cities and is definitely worth a visit.
Bologna is a city steeped in a rich history and is well known for the towers which have been built here over the years. The city is closely linked with food and therefore has many interesting places to eat and discover more about cuisine. Whatever your interests, you are sure to find something to take your fancy whilst visiting this beautiful Italian city.