A welcoming city with the taste of good living and good food
A tourist’s first discovery on visiting Bologna is the extraordinary warmth of the people and their instant friendly hospitality. The people from this city are well known for their cordiality and friendliness, and their enjoyment of the good life and good food.
The towers of Bologna
Bologna also greets visitors with two tall, leaning towers: the Torre degli Asinelli, built in 1119 by the Ghibelline family of the same name and the highest leaning tower in Italy, and the Torre della Garisenda. Both towers were admired by Dante, who mentioned them in his Divine Comedy.
Built during the Middle Ages as residences, but also as watchtowers and for defence and as a symbol of the wealth of these ancient families, they still are a prominent feature of the city today. Approximately 25 towers remain of the almost 200 constructed during the Middle Ages.
Torre degli Asinelli and Torre Garisenda in Bologna Photo: Copyright © / Shutterstock
The city of Bologna is also has an extremely rich history, which is well worth investigating. Bologna has its roots in the Roman era when it was known as Bononia, and there are many relics of the ancient ‘civitas’ remaining today. Some of these ruins can be admired through the glass floor of the Sala Borsa, which was once the heart of economic life and, with its vast and innovative multimedia library, is now one of the cultural highlights of the city. Culture is way of life in the city and Bologna boasts the record of having the oldest university in the world.
Neptune's Fountain
The Fontana del Nettuno of Bologna (Neptune’s Fountain), a monumental sixteenth-century bronze sculpture, the work of the Flemish artist Giambologna, is one of the most symbolic monuments of the city. Due to its great size, the people of Bologna affectionately call it Il Gigante (The Giant), or Zigant in dialect.
Neptune's Fountain in Bologna Photo: Copyright © / Shutterstock
This sculpture marks the entrance to Piazza Maggiore, a square surrounded by buildings that are representative of Bologna’s past, including Palazzo di Re Enzo (King Enzo’s Palace), where the unlucky son of the Emperor Frederick II of Swabia was kept prisoner and died after being captured in nearby Fossalta.
The palaces of Bologna
The architectural solemnity is expressed in the Palazzo d'Accursio, now the Town Hall, where both the Morandi Museum and the rich municipal art collections are housed; in the Palazzo dei Notai and especially in the spectacular Palazzo dei Banchi, the work of the famous Renaissance architect Jacopo Barozzi, called Il Vignola, a palace that in the seventeenth century was also home to the famous Bolognese painter Guido Reni.
The buildings in the historic center of Bologna Photo: Copyright © / Shutterstock
Basilica of St. Petronius
It takes its name from the ‘banchi’ (counters) where, during the Middle Ages, exchange activities took place, and is located near to the Basilica of San Petronio in Bologna. The Basilica houses the largest sundial in the world and is the sixth largest church in Europe. It is dedicated to the patron saint of the city of Bologna, St. Petronius, who was bishop in the mid-fifteenth century and who reorganised the church in Bologna.
Starting from here is the city’s most famous portico, known as the Il Pavaglione, which once meant pavilion and was named after the tents that protected the stalls of the silkworm market, for which the city was famous.
Basilica of St. Petronius in Bologna. Photo: Copyright © / Shutterstock
Bologna is also considered the city of trekking and walking; its calm and relaxing atmosphere is ideal for discovering interesting corners and sights and provides the people of Bologna, and others, with an opportunity for celebrating and socialising. The season culminates in an urban trekking event in October.
The Bologna Trade Fair Centre is one of the busiest in Italy. Some very important Fairs take place here, such as Cosmopharma, with products for wellness, health and beauty, Sana, for organic and natural products, Cosmoprof, for perfumes and cosmetics, Lineapelle for leather goods ranging from bags to clothing, and the eagerly awaited Motor Show, the international trade show of automobiles and motor bikes: all events that contribute greatly to bringing life to the city thanks to the presence of thousands of professionals and enthusiasts.
The Bologna’s tortelliniPhoto: Copyright © / Shutterstock
Bologna's cuisine
Bologna’s cuisine is internationally renowned. Some of the best known dishes and products include egg pasta served with delicious meat sauces, the famous tortellinimortadella, also known as ‘bologna’ (a cured meat), and the sweets, in particular panspeziale (spice bread), which is made according to a very ancient recipe and almost impossible to find elsewhere.  
Text by Anna Glik
Avion Tourism Magazine
Photos:, Shutterstock
All rights reserved. Copyright ©
Tourism Board



Where to sleep in Bologna
Bologna. Photo: Copyright © / Shutterstock

Bologna is a welcoming city and offers different possibilities for accommodation.

To find the ideal hotel and the best offers you can do a search for the stars but also for districts or landmarks.


WHERE TO GO in bologna
Monuments of Bologna
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Piazza Galvani, 1

The building of the Palace of Archiginnasio of Bologna was commissioned by Cardinal Carlo Borromeo between 1562 and 1563 to house the lecture halls for the University Study; up to 1803 it was the location of the University. Since 1838 it has housed the Civic Library. The room walls, the vaults of staircases and open galleries are decorated with commemorative inscriptions and monuments dedicated to the teachers of the Studio and thousand coats-of-arms and names of students. In front of the entrance there is the Chapel of S. Maria dei Bulgari.

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Piazza di Porta Ravegnana

The Asinelli Tower of Bologna was built in 1109-1119 by the Asinelli family but, by the following century, it had already passed under the control of the Municipality.

It is 97.20 metre-high with a drop of 2.23 metres and an inner staircase of 498 steps completed in 1684. The plinth is surrounded by a small 'stronghold' built in 1488 to house the soldiers of the watch. Its arcade is occupied by a few craft shops and ateliers, as a memento of the merchants' trade of the Medieval 'mercato di mezzo'. 

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The Palazzo del Re Enzo of Bologna was built between 1244-46 as an extension of the municipal buildings and became the 'residence' of the prisoner king of the battle of Fossalta: King Enzo of Sardinia, son of Frederick II who spent the next twenty-three years in the palace until to death. On the right of the building there is the access to the Chapel of S. Maria dei Carcerati.

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Piazza Maggiore

Piazza Maggiore of Bologna, in the heart of the city and surrounded by important buildings: the Basilica di San Petronio, and on the right side of the church, Palazzo dei Notai, Palazzo d'Accursio, Palazzo del Podestà and the spectacular façade of Palazzo dei Banchi. The Basilica of St. Petronio, honoring the patron saint, is the most most important church in Bologna.


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Piazza di Porta Ravegnana

The Garisenda Tower of Bologna, built around the same time of the Asinelli Tower, is much smaller: 47 metres with a steeper drop of 3.22 metres due to an early and more marked subsidence of soil and foundation. The poet Dante, who saw the tower before the process had started, compared it to a leaning Anteo in the 31st Canto of his 'Inferno'. The ashlar covering in selenite stone of the base of the tower dates back to the late 19th century.

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Piazza del Nettuno

The Fountain of Neptune in Bologna was built in marble and bronze, between 1563 and 1566 by the Flemish sculptor Giambologna. The monument is a symbol of the power of the Pope: he ruled the world like Neptune ruled the seas. At the feet of the statue of Neptune there are four little angels. They represent the rivers of the four discovered continents at that historical period: Ganges, Nile, Amazon River and Danube.

Museums of Bologna

Via delle Belle Arti, 56

The National Gallery of Bologna is located in the university area, in the same historic building that houses the Academy of Fine Arts and the Superintendence for the Historical, Artistic and Ethno-Anthropological Heritage of Bologna. Inside: thirty exhibition halls and a space dedicated to temporary exhibitions and the teaching activity. It was renewed and adapted to European standards and is considered the most important national galleries known and appreciated abroad.


Piazza Maggiore, 6

The Archaeological City Museum of Bologna is located in fifteenth-century Palazzo Galvani since its official opening on September 25, 1881. The museum houses the rich archaeological collections from the ancient University Museum by the donation of the painter Pelagio Palagi and the excavations carried out in Bologna and territory in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The Museum is the most important Italian archaeological collections and is representative of the local history.


Via Don Minzoni, 14

The Modern Art Museum of Bologna, with its 9,500 square metres devoted to visual culture and experimentation, is a factory of creativity and a centre of the most advanced present. Is the main head office of the Istituzione Galleria d'Arte Moderna di Bologna, which also includes Museo Morandi and Casa MorandiMuseo per la Memoria di UsticaVilla delle Rose and Residenza per artisti Sandra Natali.

Excursions and tours in Bologna
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Via F.lli Rosselli, 2 - Imola

The Autodromo Internazionale Enzo and Dino Ferrari in Imola, born in 1950, is a location for the most important Italian motor sport events: the Grand Prix of San Marino Formula One, Grand Prix of Italy's World Championship Superbike, World Championship in Formula 3000 and to Endurance. However, in addition to competitions, offers events take place, renowned as the Show Scambio, concerts and presentations of new models of cars and motorcycles.

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The layout of Bologna's ghetto can still be precisely traced amid the narrow streets in the Medieval heart of the city: here, a maze of alleys, covered bridges and small windows tells the story of a whole community forced to live in a specific area of the town by order of the Papal State beginning from 1556. The ghetto is one of the most charming areas in town, enlivened with artisan workshops and encircled by palaces which belonged to rich Jewish merchants and bankers.

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