Bologna may not have the canals of Venice or the cliffside colorful villages of Cinque Terre, but that has not held Bologna back from being one of the most unique and underrated cities Italy has to offer. It is often overlooked as a tourist destination as people would rather Italy’s heavy tourism hitters such as Rome. Bologna is the capital of the northern Emilia Romagna region and is where you will find some of the country’s best architecture and food! If you’re looking for a truly immersive local experience while in Italy, then you need to visit Bologna. Here are some of the reasons why you need to visit this amazing city!
In a country famed for its cuisine, and is the birthplace of bolognese, or tagliatelle al ragù, the delightful flat-ribboned pasta with subtle meat-sauce. Markets in the centre are great for fresh fruit and pastries, and you can’t go wrong with where you decide to eat in this city! If you decide to visit Bologna, why not take a dedicated food tour? It’s a great way to get to the heart of Bologna and explore the historic city centre while you’re at it!
During the middle ages the University growth caused an urgent need for extra space, and rather than narrow down already narrow streets, the decision was made to build porticoes over existing walkways to allow the footprint of the university to be extended on top of them. At this time, many of Europe’s developed cities had porticoes, but due to population booms and the invasion of ‘public’ space, authorities put an end to porticoes. Many were demolished, but Bologna’s were spared. Now, Bologna’s porticoes take pride of place on UNESCO’s world heritage list, so you have to visit them!
Visit Piazza Maggiore, Bologna’s main square
Visit the heart of Bologna and the centre of all action, Piazza Maggiore, this huge piazza is a public space facing centuries-old medieval buildings. Here you can find the main cathedral. Basilica di San Petronio and City Hall. Grab a morning espresso, and hang out with the crowds. Head northeast on the corner of Piazza Maggiore and you’ll find the Fountain of Neptune. one of the symbols of the city and the Biblioteca Salabrosa.
Click here for a complete guide for everything you need to see in Bologna!
Climb the Asinelli Tower
When you visit Bologna, you have to visit the two towers located at the end of the Via Rizzoli, Torri degli Asinelli and Torri Garisenda, the striking symbols of the city! During medieval times, rich families used to demonstrate their power by constructing their own towers within the city, all striving to be the tallest. At that time there were around 125 towers, but now there are only 25 left. These two towers are the tallest ones that remain, and Asinelli is the one you climb to get the best possible views of Bologna!
Visit the best university, EVER!
We aren’t talking about a visit to the University of Bologna (although it is very interesting with an eerie ancient anatomical theatre to visit), we’re talking about a visit to the Carpigiani Gelato University. You guessed it, you can actually take professional gelato-making classes here. Find it attached to the Gelato Museum where you can take a basic tour through the history of gelato workshops and make your own, and you even get free ice cream!