We hope this travel guide helps you discover the best tourist attractions in Bologna, a city full of sights, landmarks and culture. Whether you are looking for tips and ideas on things to do in Bologna, free tours to explore the city, or information on the best museums, nightlife, pubs, restaurants and clubs, this guide has it all. You will also find out about the famous food of Bologna, and how to enjoy a football match at one of the stadiums. Bologna is a destination that will surprise and delight you with its history, art and charm.
Here is a list of some of the top attractions and sights in Bologna:
- Santuario di Madonna di San Luca: A beautiful basilica on a hilltop that offers stunning views of the city and the surrounding countryside. You can reach it by walking along a 3.8 km portico or by taking a bus or a funicular.
- Piazza Maggiore: The main square of Bologna, where you can admire the medieval buildings, the fountain of Neptune, and the Basilica of San Petronio. It is also a lively spot for events, markets, and people-watching.
- Le Due Torri Torre degli Asinelli: The iconic symbol of Bologna, these two leaning towers date back to the 12th century and offer a panoramic view of the city from the top of the taller one, if you are brave enough to climb the 498 steps.
- Basilica – Santuario di Santo Stefano: A complex of seven churches that are connected by courtyards and cloisters. It is also known as the «Seven Churches» and has a rich history and architecture that spans from the 5th to the 13th century.
- Archiginnasio di Bologna: The former seat of the University of Bologna, the oldest university in the world, founded in 1088. It houses a stunning anatomical theater, where dissections were performed, and a library with thousands of ancient books and manuscripts.
- Museo per la Memoria di Ustica: A moving museum that commemorates the victims of the Ustica massacre, a plane crash that occurred in 1980 and was caused by a missile attack. The museum displays the remains of the plane, personal belongings of the passengers, and artworks inspired by the tragedy.
- Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna: The national art gallery of Bologna, where you can admire paintings from the 13th to the 18th century, mostly by local artists such as Giotto, Raphael, Carracci, Reni, and Guercino.
- Mercato di Mezzo: A historic market in the heart of Bologna, where you can find a variety of local products, such as cheese, ham, pasta, bread, wine, and more. You can also taste some of the typical dishes of Bolognese cuisine, such as tortellini, lasagna, and tagliatelle al ragù.
- Museo Ducati: A must-see for motorcycle enthusiasts, this museum showcases the history and achievements of Ducati, one of the most famous Italian brands. You can see some of the legendary models that won races and championships, as well as learn about the technology and design behind them.
- Basilica di San Domenico: A majestic church that contains the tomb of Saint Dominic, the founder of the Dominican order. The tomb is decorated with sculptures by Michelangelo, Nicola Pisano, and others. The church also hosts a rich collection of artworks by local artists.
- Palazzo Poggi Museum: A museum that displays the collections of the Institute of Sciences of Bologna, founded in 1711. You can explore various fields of knowledge, such as astronomy, natural history, physics, chemistry, anatomy, and more. The museum also features some frescoes by Pellegrino Tibaldi.
- Finestrella di Via Piella: A charming window that reveals a hidden canal in Bologna. It is also known as «the little Venice» and offers a picturesque view of the water and the colorful buildings along it. You can find it on Via Piella, near Via Riva di Reno.