Bologna is a city that stirs the heart, just a stone’s throw away from the mesmerizing Tuscany countryside. It’s a place where ancient and modern collide in a glorious, never-ending dance. There are temples and churches that date back to the time of the Roman Empire, and then there are the sleek, ultramodern buildings that house universities and research centers. The narrow streets wind their way through the city, revealing hidden treasures at every turn.
This vibrant metropolis is teeming with attractions that fascinate and delight visitors of all ages. From awe-inspiring cathedrals to fascinating museums, there’s something for everyone in Bologna.
See Piazza Maggiore in all its glory
No visit to Bologna would be complete without a stop at the Piazza Maggiore. This grand square is the heart of the city, and it’s surrounded by some of Bologna’s most important landmarks. The Palazzo Comunale (the town hall), the Basilica of San Petronio (the largest church in Bologna), and the Palazzo d’Accursio (the former residence of the Accursio, the medieval jurist who founded the University of Bologna) are all located in Piazza Maggiore, making it the perfect place to start your exploration of Bologna.
The Palazzo Comunale is a beautiful and impressive building. Construction of the palace began in the 12th century, and it has been used as the city hall ever since. The facade is decorated with intricate carvings, and the interior features a grand staircase and several important artworks. Visitors can also enjoy a view of the city from the top of the tower. Piazza Maggiore is a great place to people watch, grab a bite to eat, or simply take in the sights and sounds of this vibrant city.
Bow in front of the ancient guardians of Bologna
The Due Torri in Bologna are two medieval towers that stand watch over the city. They are a symbol of Bologna and can be seen from almost anywhere in the city. The towers were built in the 12th century by the Asinelli and the Garisendi families and have witnessed centuries of history. The two structures, which give the city its name, were built as part of the city’s fortifications. They are among the oldest examples of this type of architecture in Europe.
The buildings have been through a lot in their nearly 1000 years of existence. They have been used for many purposes over the centuries, including as prisons and as storage for grain. The towers were badly damaged in an earthquake in the 14th century and then again during World War II. Despite all this, they have been meticulously restored and are now a symbol of the city’s resilience. Today, the Due Torri of Bologna are an iconic part of the cityscape that offer stunning views of the city from their top floors.
Listen to the silence inside the Basilica of San Petronio
The Basilica of San Petronio looms over the city of Bologna like a guardian angel. This magnificent structure is the largest church in Italy, and it’s easy to see why it’s such an important part of the cityscape. A truly massive structure, the basilica measures 132 meters long and 66 meters wide and was named after Bologna’s patron saint, Petronius, the city’s bishop in the 5th century.
The Basilica was designed by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger, and construction began in 1481. However, due to lack of funding, the building was not completed until centuries later. The interior of the Basilica is just as impressive as the exterior, with soaring ceilings and beautiful works of art adorning the walls and ceilings. Visitors can climb to the top of the basilica’s bell tower for stunning views of Bologna and the surrounding countryside. If you’re lucky enough to be in Bologna on the 5th of August, you can witness the amazing sight of the sundial on the floor of the basilica, which is said to be the world’s largest.
Savor the appetizing Bologna La Grassa
The city is also known as Bologna la Grassa, which translates to Bologna the Fat. This nickname comes from the abundance of its delicious food and rich and hearty cuisine. Some of the most popular dishes include Bolognese sauce, lasagna, and tagliatelle. Bologna also has a variety of unique cheeses, like balsamic vinegar cheese and mortadella cheese.
The local food of Bologna is world-famous for a reason. From fresh Bolognese sauce to decadent desserts, there’s something for everyone to love. The Bolognese sauce is a classic Italian sauce made with ground beef, tomatoes, garlic, and a variety of spices. It’s the perfect topping for freshly cooked pasta. You should also try tortellini in Brodo. These delicious little pasta nests are typically filled with meat or cheese, and served in a savory broth and make for a hearty and satisfying meal.
Travel back in time with a tour of the museums
If you’re interested in learning more about Bologna’s history, be sure to visit the city’s museums. The Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna is home to a number of important works of art, including paintings by Picasso and Matisse. The museum also has a large collection of sculptures and ceramics. The Museo Civico Archeologico is another great option for those interested in Bologna’s past. The museum houses a number of important archaeological artifacts, including Roman statues and Etruscan tombstones.
Bologna is a city with a rich literary history. Some of the most famous writers and poets in Italian history, including Dante Alighieri and Giovanni Boccaccio, called Bologna home. Even today, the city is known for its vibrant creative culture. If you’re passionate about art, you’ll find plenty to admire in Bologna. Visit Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna to discover a comprehensive collection of works by Italian artists from the 13th to the 20th century. Whether you’re a fan of Renaissance art or contemporary painting, you’re sure to find something to your taste here.