Here are the 8 Best Things to Do in Bologna

Written by Rem Malloy, since 1995 Rem has been guiding and designing trips to Italy and all of Western Europe and is considered an expert in his field for over 30 years.

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We’ve put together the 8 best things to do in Bologna, check out our guide below:


Piazza Maggiore is a square in the city of Bologna. Piazza Maggiore as one of major Bologna tourist attractions was founded in 1200. This is one of the best squares throughout Italy. The square is surrounded by the Palazzo dei Notai, Palazzo d’Accursio, Palazzo del Podesta and the Basilica of San Petronio.


National Art Gallery in Bologna has the largest art collections in the city. The museum is concentrated on Italian art made by artists from Bologna and the surrounding region in Italy. This museum offers a wide collection of Emilianpainting of the 13th century until the 18th century. Some well-known painter whose work here is Giotto, Raphael, Titian, Tintoretto, Carracci and Guido Reni, and many other fundamental works of artists who in some way related to the city of Bologna. National Gallery of Art becomes one of the famous bologna tourist attractions.


Neptune fountain located in the old city center of Bologna and in addition to being a major tourist attraction in Bologna, Italy. Besides enjoying the fountain you can also sit around drinking coffee in one of the cafes nearby. This fountain has become a permanent feature of Bologna since the mid-16th century. Four cherubim and the sirens are located in four directions around a bronze statue of Neptune, representing the four corners of the earth.


Archaeological Museum of Bologna is located in the heart of the Palazzo Galvani, Piazza Maggiore and close to the Church of San Petronio. The building is from the 15th century. This museum has a fairly extensive collection of artifacts that were excavated around the bologna and Emilia-Romagna region in Italy. Here you can see a collection of artifacts there is a very good collection of Etruscan civilization, the ancient Romans.


Basilica of St. Petronio is one of the oldest and most magnificent buildings in Bologna. The basilica was originally built in 1390 and continued until the 1600s and is the fifth largest basilica in the world. When first built, the basilica in Bologna was intended to have a larger building of which you can view at this time, but later the Pope issued a decree ordering that the size of the building should be minimized so as not to overshadow the basilica in the Vatican.


This picturesque square, made of river stone paving, is home to a complex of seven linked churches dating from the 8th century.  The Church of Crucifix is a simple church with one nave. The Santo Sepolcro was built in the 12th century and has the tomb of San Petronio which looks like the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem.  San Vitale e and Agricola have three apses and dates back to the 11th century. The complex also contains the Courtyard of Pilate and Romanesque cloisters.


The Duo Torre are two leaning towers, similar to the leaning tower of Pisa, and are located at the intersection of the roads connecting to the five gates of ancient Bologna.  These towers were built during the 12th century when Bologna’s skyline was filled with towers. Towers were status symbols. Families based their power on the size of the tower.  The more powerful the family the taller they built their tower. The Garisenda Tower is 162 feet high and is 11 feet from perpendicular. Part of the tower was looped off in the 1360s for fear of public safety.  It is completely closed to the public. Its neighbor, Toree degli Asinelli, is 334ft high and is 7 ½ feet from perpendicular. Visitors can climb the 500 steps to the top of the tower for views of the ancient and newer city of Bologna and the surrounding countryside.  From the top of the tower, one can also see the few remaining 12th-century towers that grace the skyline.


The University of Bologna is a 20-minute walk from the Piazza Maggiore.  The university is home to the world’s oldest complete Torah circa 1200s. The university has paleontological and zoological museums.  The Museo Civico Medievale has a Peace Plaque. This 13th-century plaque is a treaty between the city government and students after the government put a student to death for insulting a lady.  The Hospital of Death is where medical students used corpses of the executed to study anatomy. The Botanical Garden is one of Italy’s oldest circa 16th century.  It is over five acres and contains three greenhouses, medicinal plants, an ornamental area, and forests.

Interested in visiting Bologna? Check out our Bologna tours by clicking the link here.

About the Author

Rem Malloy started Italy4real back in 1995 with his mother, Deborah de Maio.

He specialises in Italian tours as well as customised tours to France, England, Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, Greece and Spain. He was also featured in the Travel Channel show Mysteries at The Museum in 2016.

Rem has family in Italy and his mothers home town is Cava di Terrani, near the Amalfi Coast. The family has a street named after them in Sorrento, Via Luigi de Maio; a relative who was mayor of Sorrento.

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