Top 14 Places to visit in Bologna - Italy

by Alessandro Carat

14 fantastic places to visit in Bologna


Bologna is known for three particular aspects that characterize it and that allow it to achieve as many titles. It is in fact called: the fat, the smart” and the red. This is because Bologna is famous all over the world for its lively culinary tradition, for hosting one of the oldest universities in the world: the Alma Mater Studiorum and for turning red when viewed from above (due to its roofs, homogeneously in this color).

Let’s now discover 15 places and curiosities about the fascinating Emilia-Romagna capital.




#1 statue of Neptune

statue of Neptune

In the main square of the town, the statue of Neptune towers over its fountain. Made by Giambologna in 1566, it boasts a particular feature. Observed from the back of Neptune, slightly by three quarters, the index finger of his hand, in the particular position in which it is located, appears as an erect phallus.



#2 Piazza Maggiore

Piazza Maggiore-Bologna

Piazza Maggiore represents the meeting point of the daily life of the citizens. Historic palaces and ancient buildings enclose this quadrilateral created to give rise to the city market and which, in its simplicity, represents the heart of the city.



#3 Basilica of San Petronio

Basilica of San Petronio-Boglona

The Basilica of San Petronio overlooking Piazza Maggiore is one of the city’s symbols. The last great Italian Gothic work begun in 1390, it is characterized by an unfinished facade and a latin cross structure with three naves.

#4 Salaborsa

Salaborsa bologna italy

The Salaborsa is located in the city center, a modern element within a historic Bolognese location: Palazzo dAccursio. Through its transparent pavement it is possible to see the underlying excavations thanks to it has been possible to recover archaeological finds that are evidence of three civilizations: the Villanovan, the Felsinea Etrusca and the Roman one.




#5 Torre degli Asinelli

Torre degli Asinelli bologna italy

Not far from these four “must sees” of Bologna, one of the most loved one stands out imposingly: the Torre degli Asinelli (with the nearby Torre della Garisenda). The Asinelli Tower, unlike the Garisenda one, can be visited and, once you reach the top of its 498 steps, it is possible to admire the reason for the title “the red” of Bologna.



#6 Basilica of Santo Stefano

Basilica of Santo Stefano bologna italy

Not far from the towers, the Basilica of Santo Stefano, which overlooks the square of the same name, is a complex of places of worship. In fact, this church is made up of: the church of the Crucifix, the Basilica of the Sepulcher, the Basilica of Santi Vitale and Agricola and the church of the Trinity or Martyrium. In the past, however, there were seven churches and this is why the place is also known as the Complex of the Seven Churches”.



#7 canals of Bologna

canals of Bologna bologna italy

Very few people know about the canals of Bologna but simply going through Via Piella it’s possible to enjoy a glimpse of the Moline canal which, in a certain way, recalls the city much more famous for its canals: Venice.


8. It is said that when it rains and you haven’t an umbrella with you, in Bologna you’ll never get wet. This is because kilometers and kilometers of arcades extend throughout the city, up to the Church of San Luca.



#8 Church of San Luca

Church of San Luca Bologna

The Church of San Luca, located above the Della Guardia hill, is another symbol of the city and place of worship for the image of the Blessed Virgin of San Luca.





#9 Archiginnasio

Archiginnasio Bologna

The Archiginnasio is the most beautiful building that can be admired in Bologna, commissioned by Cardinal Carlo Borromeo to give a central seat to the ancient University of Bologna.




#10 National Art Gallery of Bologna

National Art Gallery of Bologna

The National Art Gallery of Bologna hosts some of the most important art collections in Italy.



#11 Church of Santa Maria della Vita

Church of Santa Maria della Vita Bologna

The Church of Santa Maria della Vita: this small church presents the “Lamentation of the Dead Christ”, a work by Niccolò dellArca from 1463.

#12 MAMbo Museum

mambo museum bologna

The MAMbo is one of the main museums of modern and contemporary art and includes the Morandi Museum, Villa delle Rose and the Museum for the memory of Ustica.



#13 Monumental Cemetery of the Certosa

Monumental Cemetery of the Certosa

The Monumental Cemetery of the Certosa founded in 1801 where, among many others, Marco Minghetti, Giorgio Morandi, Giosuè Carducci and Lucio Dalla rest.



#14 Margherita Gardens

margherita gardens bologna

In the peripheral area, the Margherita Gardens (named after the famous Queen) are the green lung of the city where you can relax surrounded by nature along the banks of the characteristic lake.