Bologna is home to one of the most beautiful old cities in Europe. In any weather you can reach the sights thanks to the approximately 40 km of arcades. In the Basilica of San Petronio there is a meridian by the astronomer Giovanni Domenico Cassini, implemented by Giandomenico Cassini.
The University of Bologna is the oldest university in the Western world. It is important to visit the Anatomy Amphitheatre in the university’s Palazzo Archiginnasio. It is not without reason that Bologna bears the nickname “La Dotta,” the scholar.
If you go to Bologna, you want to eat well. Even today, the tortellini, the small stuffed dumplings, are cleverly crafted by hand.
For motorsport fans, Bologna and the surrounding area are a mecca. Along Via Emilia are the main factories and museums dedicated to engines. This is about Ferrari (Maranello), Maserati (Modena), Lamborghini (Sant ‘Agata Bolognese), Ducati (Bologna) and others.
University of Bologna
The Università di Bologna (UNIBO) was founded in 1088, making it the oldest university in the Western world. The university with the anatomy hall can be visited within a guided tour of the city.
Palazzo dell ‘Archiginnasio
The first university building was the Palazzo dell ‘Archiginnasio. On the ceilings and walls of the corridors, the students ‘ coats of arms are immortalized, forming a decorative and historical testimony of the university.
Personalities such as Dante Alighieri, Paracelsius, Erasmo da Rotterdam, Raimundo de Pegñafort, Albrecht Dürer, San Carlo Borromeo, Carlo Goldoni were students of the university. Among the most important professors were Umberto Eco, writer and Luigi Galvani, the discoverer of the galvanic current.
Today, the Palazzo dell ‘Archiginnasio houses the library with its valuable works. The University of Bologna currently has 23 faculties.
The Anatomy Amphitheatre
The anatomical lectures were held in the anatomical theatre of the University of Bologna (established in 1837 in the Palazzo dell ‘Archiginnasio).
In the middle is the marble table, which served to dissect. On the walls and ceilings are wooden statues of Hippocrates and famous surgeons. On the professor’s pulpit sits Anatomia, held by two skeletons wrapped in muscles. These are impressions that must first be allowed to work on you.
Opposite the professor’s pulpit was the seat of the inquisitor. He, as a representative of the Church, was always present to check whether the work was justifiable from a religious point of view.
Mercato di Mezzo
In Bologna, the market “Mercato di Mezzo” is an attraction of the city, where you can enjoy freshly prepared food during a tasting.
The Mercato di Mezzo is a kind of food hall. Open daily. In the market there are various shops where you can buy typical food and drinks and also enjoy them at small tables. You will find the typical flair of an Italian market with specialities from Bologna and the region. Restaurants and specialty shops line up around Via delle Pescherie and Via delle Drapperie, where you can also eat and receive fresh fruit, vegetables, sausage, cheese, fish, pasta, spices, wine and the balsamic vinegar firsthand.
Basilica of San Petronio
The main church of Bologna is San Petronio. It is located in the centre of Piazza Maggiore. It is the fifth largest Catholic church in the world.
The Basilica of San Petronio is built in Gothic brick and was consecrated to the patron saint and bishop of Bologna San Petronio.
In the church there is a meridian embedded in the floor, which dates back to 1655. It is 66.8 m in length. Astronomer Giovanni Domenico Cassini has designed the world’s longest meridian.
In the church roof there is a hole through which the midday ray of the sun comes into the church and shows month, day, zodiac signs and the time to and up to the day-and-night same.
The central square in the centre of Bologna is Piazza Maggiore with the Basilica of San Petronio, Palazzo Comunale and Palazzo del Podestà. The Neptune Fountain from the early Renaissance is particularly beautiful. At Palazzo dei Banchi, now a pretty hotel, money changers and distributors once worked. Around the square you will also find very nice cafes and bars. In August, a big screen will be set up and old films by Fellini will be screened. To experience this, you have to bring some time to stay. It is these uncomplicated self-evident things that make Italy the most beautiful country in the world for us.
Palazzo del Podesta
With the creation of Piazza Maggiore, it was built in the 12th century, the Palazzo del Podestà was built as the seat of domination of the city administration and officials. It was furnished with an elegant Renaissance façade at the request of the Bentivoglio family, a former ruler of Bologna.
In the Middle Ages, every manor house had a tower. As with Trump Tower in New York, it was about presenting itself higher and more nobly. In Bologna, for example, there were 90 to 100 towers, some of which were used as residential towers. The medieval towers of the noble families, the Torri Gentilizie, are the landmark of Bologna. Today there are still 17 towers.
The Asinelli Tower and the smaller Garisenda Tower were built by the families of the same name as a symbol of their wealth. In the 14th century They were taken over by the city and used as a prison.
The Asinelli Tower is the tallest leaning tower in Italy. A climb over the nearly 500 steps and the view over the city are an unforgettable experience.
The arcade corridors are a special feature of Bologna. They can be used as pedestrian passages for more than 40 km. The reason for this construction was a law in the Middle Ages that mandated this construction to create housing for the expanding city.
Today, it is a beautiful experience to discover the extensive city center with its squares, churches, and palaces through the shady arcades. This makes it possible to explore the city beautifully even in the rain.
The arcades of Bologna have been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
What To Do in Bologna
Bologna has an airport, located on the railway line of the high-speed trains Milan – Florence and directly on the A1 motorway. The city centre is traffic-calmed and tourist buses pay an entrance fee. Shuttle buses run from Bologna Airport, the journey takes about 20 minutes to Bologna train station.
From Bologna, the Mortadella has launched its triumphant march around the world. In Italy, instead of the mortadella, people simply demand the “Bologna.” Who doesn’t know the spaghetti bolognese and the green tagliatelle, the pasta made with spinach, as well as the lasagne with ragù alla bolognese? During a tasting tour you will get to know the typical dishes and be pampered by the good cuisine.
For groups, a tortellini demonstration can also be organized within a city tour.
Motor Racing in Bologna and the Surrounding Area
The following museums and racetracks can be visited. We are happy to put together a timed and tailored program, with tastings, transfers, shared food, hotel centrally or in nature.
- Ducati Museum and Works: Motorcycles for champions
- Lamborghini Museum, the luxury cars from Sant ‘Agata Bolognese
- Ferrari: World’s fastest racing cars in Maranello
- Maserati: More than 100 years of tradition in the construction of luxury cars – founded in Bologna, today company headquarters in Modena
- The birthplace of Enzo Ferrari in Modena
- The Ferruccio Lamborghini Museum near Ferrari
- Moto Poggi Collection in Villanova di Castenaso
- Autodrome near Modena
- Autodrome Enzo and Dino Ferrari in Imola
- Ferrari Test track in Maranello
Do it like Luciano Pavarotti and combine stylish cars with music. Visit the Rossini Opera Festival in the summer.
Fairs in Bologna
The most famous fairs in Bologna are the Bologna Motor Show and the Classic Car Exhibition. In addition, pharmaceutical, beauty and construction fairs are part of the fair program.
external link: Bologna Fiere
Surroundings of Bologna and Onward Travel
The visit to Bologna can be integrated into a holiday trip to the Adriatic Sea or combined with a city break to Ravenna, Modena, Ferrara and Parma.
We are happy to make suggestions for a complete programme of visits and tastings to wine producers, producers of balsamic vinegar as well as producers of Parmesan cheese and Parma ham.