MINI GUIDE: WHAT TO VISIT IN BOLOGNA
Emilia Romagna, home of good food and the unmistakable cheerfulness of its inhabitants, is the perfect destination for a comfortable trip in train. With Italo, you can get to Bologna easily for a stroll through its famous porticos and medieval buildings.
Its cobblestone streets call to mind its great medieval past, which harmonizes with its current modern character, making it one of Italy’s most avant-garde cities.
Bologna is home to one of the oldest universities in the world, which is why it has always been a privileged destination for Italian and international students, who have shaped its cosmopolitan and jovial character. It is thus by no coincidence that Bologna also goes by several affectionate nicknames, which refer to the cornerstones of its unmistakable character. “Bologna la Grassa”, in honor of its renowned culinary tradition; “Bologna la Dotta”, thanks to the university founded there in 1088. “Bologna la Rossa”, a clear reference to the terracotta color of its historic buildings and its porticos.
For a walk among its most beautiful places you’ll be spoilt for choice: whether you are a cultural traveler, a lover of museums and ancient churches, or more devoted to the good life between good food and fun, Bologna is sure not to disappoint you.
Start your itinerary in Piazza Maggiore, seat of the Town Hall since 1336 and object of the lyrics of Lucio Dalla, one of the most famous Bolognese singer-songwriters. Here, you’ll find the Palazzo Comunale and the Municipal Art Collections, which will give you an idea of the history and culture of the city stemming from the 13th to the 19th century. From this piazza, take off along the large covered path of Bologna’s famed porticos, which wind through the old city for 40 kilometers and are candidates for entry as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
If you are in Bologna to appreciate its art, then the second stop you can’t pass up is the Pinacoteca Nazionale, which houses some of the most important works of the Emilian artistic panorama such as Giotto, Parmigianino, the Carracci brothers and Raffaello.
If you’d rather continue exploring the centre and you’re up for some physical activity, what better occasion to climb the famous Bolognese towers? The Torre degli Asinelli and Torre Garisenda, built by the Asinelli family between 1109 and 1119, dominate Piazza Ravegnana and are the symbol of the city. The Torre degli Asinelli, the tallest with its 97 meters and 498 steps, is open to the public. We recommend you visit only if you do not suffer from vertigo or if you have already graduated ... the urban legend says that climbing the tower brings bad luck to students who have not yet graduated!
If you want to get to know the more ecclesiastic side of Bologna, and some of its most magnificent architectural works, start off with the Abbey of Santo Stefano and the Gothic Basilica of San Petronio, which ranks 15th among the largest churches in the world. The artisanal and commercial tradition of Bologna is centuries-old, making it an ideal destination for shopping. The area with the highest concentration of shops is the “Quadrilatero”, which houses numerous historical artisan shops, jewelers, markets and local gastronomy shops. Finding the pulsating commercial heart of the city is easy, you just start from Piazza Maggiore, go down via Rizzoli, piazza della Mercanzia, via Castiglione, via Farini, piazza Galvani and via dell'Archiginnasio.
It’s worth visiting Bologna just to try its renowned gastronomy: you are in the homeland of tortellini, ragù, and mortadella ... you’ll find it difficult not to be tempted by the wide range of typical restaurants and taverns that you’ll find in every corner of the city!
Finally, to appreciate the greener side of Bologna, you can move away from the center and enjoy moments of relaxation in the hills around the city. There are numerous public parks you can visit when taking an excursion outside the city, such as the Villa Spada park, the San Pellegrino park or the Villa delle Rose park.
Now all that’s left to do is buy your train ticket with Italo and leave for Bologna!