Bologna, the capital of the Emilia Romagna region of Italy is a leading university city and one of the country’s most beautiful – together with ancient buildings the city is driven by a modern energy and dynamic cultural life.
Apart from the top five attractions recommended below be sure to try the famous Bologna cuisine.
Things To Do In Bologna Italy
Sip coffee in the Piazza Maggiore
With a stop at this central square you can see a number of attractions all in one go – the ancient square is surrounded on all sides by historic medieval buildings and features the beautiful Fontana di nettuno (Neptune’s Fountain).
In the square are the City Hall Building (Palazzo Communale); Basilica of San Petronio which is one of the world’s largest churches, holds the relics of the city’s patron saint and Charles V was coronated here in 1530 also Napoleon’s sister Elisa Bonaparte is buried here; Portico of Banchi and the 1200 Palazzo del Podesta (Palace of the Podesta) where shops line the double open arcade on the ground level.
Relax in one of the outdoor cafes and enjoy doing some people watching while you sip your coffee.
Climb to the top of one of the Twin Towers
The two towers of Bologna are an iconic landmark in the Piazza di Ravegnana dating back to the 12th century when there were many more towers in the city.
The two towers were used for military and civil purposes.
The Asinelli family funded the construction of the tower where there is a 498 step staircase which can be climbed to get breathtaking views over the city and its red roofs. The staircase is made of wood and takes you 97, 20 meters above ground level.
A the base of the towers you can see the remains of barracks built in 1448, today there are workshops in these strongholds.
Basilica of San Domenico
Apart from the stunning architecture this church is home to some exquisite art work. Here you can see work by Giuseppe Pedretti, Vittorio Bigari, Ludovico Carracci and many more artists. But the church is best known as the place where Mozart played the organ while studying with Giovanni Battista Martini (1769).
In the pebble paved square in front of the church parishioners used to stand and listen to the sermons given by the priest from the pulpit at the churches corner. Note the beautiful brick column in the square which holds a bronze statue of St. Dominic.
Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna (National Art Gallery)
This is one of Italy’s leading museums and is home to an impressive collection of regional art spanning the history of art from the 14th to 21st century. There are thirty rooms displaying the permanent collection which includes work by Reni, Carracci and Raffaello and regular temporary exhibitions as well.
The museum focuses on artists with some association with the city and they strive to preserve the region and city’s artistic history.
Basilica di Santo Stefano
This used to be a medieval complex of seven churches, today only four churches remain. The relics of San Petronio are kept in Chiesa del Crocefisso and Chiesa del Santo Sepolcro is an octagonal church.
In the next courtyard Cortile di Pilato takes its name from the basin where Pontius Pilate washed his hands after sentencing Christ. Chiesa della Trinita is next to a small museum and Santi Vitale e Agricola is the oldest church in the city.
(photo credit: 1)