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—  Comune  —
Comune di Bologna
A collage of the city, showing the Fontana del Nettuno, the Public Library, the Piazza Maggiore and an aerial view of the city.

Coat of arms
Bologna is located in Italy
Location of Bologna in Italy
Coordinates: 44°30′27″N 11°21′5″E / 44.5075°N 11.35139°E / 44.5075; 11.35139Coordinates: 44°30′27″N 11°21′5″E / 44.5075°N 11.35139°E / 44.5075; 11.35139
Country Italy
Region Emilia-Romagna
Province Bologna (BO)
Frazioni Frabazza, Monte Donato, Paderno, Rigosa
 - Mayor Flavio Delbono (resigned) (Democratic Party)
 - Total 140.7 km2 (54.3 sq mi)
Elevation 54 m (177 ft)
Population (30 April 2009)
 - Total 376,792
 Density 2,678/km2 (6,935.9/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 40100
Patron saint St. Petronius
Saint day October 4
Website Official website

Bologna About this sound listen (Italian pronunciation: [boˈloɲːa], from the Latin Bononia, Bulåggna IPA: [buˈlʌɲːa] in Bolognese dialect) is the capital city of Emilia-Romagna, in the Po Valley (Pianura Padana in Italian) of Northern Italy. The city lies between the Po River and the Apennine Mountains, more specifically, between the Reno River and the Savena River.

Home to the oldest university in the Western world, University of Bologna, founded in 1088, Bologna is one of the most developed cities in Italy. Bologna often ranks as one of the top cities, in terms of quality of life in Italy: it was ranked 5th in 2006, and 12th in 2007, out of 103 Italian cities.[1] This is due to its strong industrial tradition, its wide range of highly-developed social services, and its physical location at the crossing-point of the most important highways and railways in the country. Bologna is a lively and cosmopolitan Italian college city, and it has a rich history, art, cuisine, music and culture, and was made 2000's European Capital of Culture[2]. Bologna, also, did not make it as a 'world city', unlike Milan and Rome, however GaWC described Bologna as being part of the 'high sufficiency' category, along with other cities such as Lyon, Canberra, Sacramento and Las Vegas.[3]



Etruscan, Celtic and Roman times

In the 4th century BC, the city and the surrounding area were conquered by the Boii, a Celtic tribe coming from Transalpine Gaul. The tribe settled down and mixed so well with the Etruscans, after a first aggressive period, that they created a civilization that modern historians call Gaul-Etruscan (one of the best examples is the archeological complex of Monte Bibele, in the bolognese Appennine). After the Battle of Telamon, in which the forces of the Boii and their allies were badly beaten, the tribe accepted reluctantly the influence of the Roman Republic, but with the outbreak of the Punic Wars the Celts once more went on the path of war. They first helped Hannibal´s army to cross the alps then gave him a consistent force of infantry that proved itself decisive in several battles. With the downfall of the Carthaginians came the end of the Boii as a free people, the Romans destroying many settlements and villages (Monte Bibele is one of them) and the founding of the colonia of Bononia in c.189 BC. The settlers included three thousand Latin families led by the consuls Lucius Valerius Flaccus. The Celtic population was ultimately absorbed in the Roman society but the language survived in some measure until today in the Bolognese dialect, which linguists say belongs to the Gaul - Italic group of languages and dialects. The building of the Via Aemilia in 187 BC made Bologna an important centre, connected to Arezzo through the Via Flaminia minor and to Aquileia through the Via Aemilia Altinate.

In 88 BC, the city became a municipium: it had a rectilinear street plan with six cardi and eight decumani (intersecting streets) which are still discernible today. During the Roman era, its population varied between c. 12,000 to c. 30,000. At its peak, it was the second city of Italy, and one of the most important of all the Empire, with various temples and baths, a theatre, and an arena. Pomponius Mela included Bononia among the five opulentissimae ("richest") cities of Italy. Although fire damaged the city during the reign of Claudius, the Roman Emperor Nero rebuilt it in the first century AD.

Middle Ages

After a long decline, Bologna was reborn in the fifth century under bishop Petronius. According to legend, St. Petronius built the church of S. Stefano. After the fall of Rome, Bologna was a frontier stronghold of the Exarchate of Ravenna in the Po plain, and was defended by a line of walls which did not enclose most of the ancient ruined Roman city. In 728, the city was captured by the Lombard king Liutprand, becoming part of the Lombard Kingdom. The Germanic conquerors formed a district called "addizione longobarda" near the complex of S. Stefano. Charlemagne stayed in this district in 786.

In the 11th century, Bologna began to grow again as a free commune, joining the Lombard League against Frederick Barbarossa in 1164. In 1088, the Studio was founded, now the oldest university in Europe, which could boast notable scholars of the Middle Ages like Irnerius, and, among its students, Dante, Boccaccio and Petrarca. In the twelfth century, the expanding city needed a new line of walls, and another was completed in the fourteenth century as the city had expanded further.

In 1256, Bologna promulgated the Legge del Paradiso ("Paradise Law"), which abolished feudal serfdom and freed the slaves, using public money. At that time the city centre was full of towers (perhaps 180), built by the leading families, notable public edifices, churches, and abbeys. In the 1270s Bolognese politics was dominated by the lettered Luchetto Gattilusio who served as podestà. Like most Italian cities of that age, Bologna was torn by internal struggles related to the Guelph and Ghibelline factions, which led to the expulsion of the Ghibelline family of the Lambertazzi in 1274.

In 1294, Bologna was perhaps the fifth or sixth largest city in Europe, after Cordoba, Paris, Venice, Florence, and, probably, Milan, with 60,000 to 70,000 inhabitants. After being crushed in the Battle of Zappolino by the Modenese in 1325, Bologna began to decay and asked the protection of the Pope at the beginning of the fourteenth century. In 1348, during the Black Plague, about 30,000 inhabitants died.

The unfinished facade of San Petronio Basilica.

After the happy years of the rule of Taddeo Pepoli (1337–1347), Bologna fell to the Visconti of Milan, but returned to the Papal orbit with Cardinal Gil de Albornoz in 1360. The following years saw an alternation of Republican governments like that of 1377, which was responsible for the building of the Basilica di San Petronio and the Loggia dei Mercanti, and Papal or Visconti restorations, while the city's families engaged in continual internecine fighting. In the middle of the fifteenth century, the Bentivoglio family gained the rule of Bologna, reigning with Sante (1445–1462) and Giovanni II (1462–1506). This period was a flourishing one for the city, with the presence of notable architects and painters who made Bologna a true city of art. During the Renaissance, Bologna was the only Italian city that allowed women to excel in any profession. Women there had much more freedom than in other Italian cities; some even had the opportunity to earn a degree at the university.

Giovanni's reign ended in 1506 when the Papal troops of Julius II besieged Bologna and sacked the artistic treasures of his palace. From that point on, until the eighteenth century, Bologna was part of the Papal States, ruled by a cardinal legato and by a Senate which every two months elected a gonfaloniere (judge), assisted by eight elder consuls. In 1530, in front of Saint Petronio Church, Charles V was crowned Holy Roman Emperor by Pope Clement VII.

16th-18th century

The city's state continued, although a plague at the end of the sixteenth century reduced the population from 72,000 to 59,000, and another in 1630 to 47,000. The population later recovered to a stable 60,000-65,000. In 1564, the Piazza del Nettuno and the Palazzo dei Banchi were built, along with the Archiginnasio, the sugar of the University. The period of Papal rule saw the construction of many churches and other religious establishments, and the reincarnation of older ones. Bologna had ninety-six convents, more than many other Italian city. Artists working in this age in Bologna established the Bolognese School that includes Annibale Carracci, Domenichino, Guercino and others of European fame.

19th century

With the rise of Napoleon, Bologna became the capital of the Cispadane Republic, and later, after Milan, the second most important center of the Repubblica Cisalpina and the Italian Kingdom. After the fall of Napoleon, Bologna was once again under the sovereignty of the Papal States, rebelling in 1831 and again 1849, when it temporarily expelled the Austrian garrisons which controlled the city until 1860. After a visit by Pope Pius IX in 1857, the city voted for annexation to the Kingdom of Sardinia on June 12, 1859, becoming part of the united Italy.

20th century

1980: rescue teams making their way through the rubble after the Bologna Massacre.

In the new political situation, Bologna gained importance for its cultural role and became an important commercial, industrial, and communications hub; its population began to grow again and at the beginning of the twentieth century the old walls were destroyed (except for a few remaining sections) in order to build new houses for the population.

During World War II, Bologna was a key transportation hub for the Germans. Its capture by the Polish 3rd Carpathian Infantry Division[4] on April 21, 1945 led to the liberation of the Po Valley and the collapse of German defenses in northern Italy.

On August 2, 1980, a massive terrorist attack killed 85 people and wounded more than 200 in the central train station (see Bologna massacre). The attack has been attributed to the neo-fascist terrorist organization Nuclei Armati Rivoluzionari. Only two months previously, Aerolinee Itavia Flight 870 had crashed under suspicious circumstances.



Bologna experiences a Humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa) characteristic of Northern Italy's inland plains, with very hot summers and cold, humid winters. Temperatures exceed 30 °C (86 °F) often from May to early September and heatwaves are very common during the summer. Because of the high rate of humidity, perception both of heat in summer and cold in winter are amplified. Due to humidity, fog is very common during late autumn and winter (as in most parts of Northern Italy). Annual precipitation ranges from 700 millimetres to 800 millimetres concentrated usually in spring and autumn. Snowfall can occur from late November to April, but snow accumulation occurs mainly from December through February. The coldest temperature recorded is −19.8 °C (−4 °F) on 13 January 1985, the highest temperature ever recorded was 40.6 °C (105.1 °F) on August 2003.

Climate data for Bologna
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 4.8
Average low °C (°F) -1.5
Precipitation mm (inches) 43.2
Source: Intellicast[5] 2009-09-23

Main sights

Piazza Maggiore; from left to right: Palazzo dei Banchi, San Petronio Basilica, Palazzo dei Notai, Palazzo d'Accursio.
The Via Emilia crossing Bologna.
The iconic Two Towers.
The central Via Rizzoli.
For a complete list, see Buildings and structures in Bologna

Until the early nineteenth century, when a large-scale urban reconstruction project was undertaken, Bologna remained one of the best-preserved medieval cities in Europe; to this day it remains unique in its historic value. Despite having suffered considerable bombing damage in 1944, Bologna's historic centre, one of Europe's largest (after Venice),[citation needed] contains a wealth of important Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque artistic monuments.

Bologna developed along the Via Emilia as an Etruscan and later Roman colony; the Via Emilia still runs straight through the city under the changing names of Strada Maggiore, Rizzoli, Ugo Bassi, and San Felice. Due to its Roman heritage, the central streets of Bologna, today largely pedestrianized, follow the grid pattern of the Roman settlement.

The original Roman ramparts were supplanted by a high medieval system of fortifications, remains of which are still visible, and finally by a third and final set of ramparts built in the thirteenth century, of which numerous sections survive. Over twenty medieval defensive towers, some of them leaning precariously, remain from the over two hundred that were constructed in the era preceding the security guaranteed by unified civic government. For a complete treatment, see Towers of Bologna.

The cityscape is further enriched by elegant and extensive arcades (or porticos), for which the city is famous. In total, there are some 38 kilometres of arcades in the city's historical center[6] (over 45 km in the city proper), which make it possible to walk for long distances sheltered from rain, snow, or hot summer sun. The Portico of San Luca, one of the longest in the world (3.5 km, 666 arcades)[7] connects the Porta Saragozza (one of the twelve gates of the ancient walls built in the Middle Ages, which circled a 7.5 km part of the city) with the San Luca Sanctuary, on Colle della Guardia, over the city (289 m.).

The Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca is located just outside the city proper. Traditional place of worship for the presence of an image the Virgin of St. Luca as well as reassuring visual landmark for Bolognese approaching town, the shrine located on top of Guardia hill is one of Bologna's symbol. The 666 vaults of the arcade - unique for his length covering almost four kilometres (3,796 m) - link the shrine with the town and provide a shelter for the procession which every year since 1433 has brought the Byzantine Madonna with Child to the cathedral downtown during the Ascension week. Built in the eleventh century, it was much enlarged in the fourteenth and eighteenth centuries. The interior contains works of several masters, but probably the most important is the painting of the Madonna with Child attributed to Luke the Evangelist.

Bologna is home to numerous important churches. An incomplete list includes:


Bologna is a very important railway and motorway hub in Italy. The economy of Bologna is based on an active industrial sector which, traditionally strong in the transformation of agricultural products and in animal husbandry, also includes the footwear, textile, engineering, chemical printing and publishing industries, as well as on flourishing commercial activity. The city's Fiera District (exhibition area) is one of the largest in Europe, with important yearly international expos of the automobile sector (Bologna Motor Show), ceramics for the building industry (International Exhibition of Ceramic Tiles and Bathroom Furnishings) and food industry. Bologna and its metropolitan area have several important industries in the fields of mechanics, food, tobacco and electronics, important retail and wholesale trade (the "Centergross" in the northern part of its metropolitan area (built in 1973), and one of the first Italian vegetable and fruit markets.


Bologna is home to Guglielmo Marconi International Airport, expanded in 2004 by extending the runway to accommodate larger aircraft. It is the tenth busiest Italian airport for passenger traffic (over than 4 million/year in 2007) and is an intercontinental gateway.

Bologna Central Station is considered the most important train hub in Italy thanks to the city's strategic location. Also, its goods-station (San Donato) with its 33 railway tracks, is the largest in Italy in size and traffic.[citation needed]

Bologna's station holds a memory in Italian public consciousness of the terrorist bomb attack that killed 85 victims in August 1980. The attack is also known in Italy as the Strage di Bologna ("Bologna massacre").

Bologna is served by a robust system of public bus lines, run by ATC.


In 2007, there were 372,256 people residing in Bologna (while 1 million live in the greater Bologna area), located in the province of Bologna, Emilia Romagna, of whom 46.7% were male and 53.3% were female. Minors (children ages 18 and younger) totalled 12.86 percent of the population compared to pensioners who number 27.02 percent. This compares with the Italian average of 18.06 percent (minors) and 19.94 percent (pensioners). The average age of Bologna resident is 51 compared to the Italian average of 42. In the five years between 2002 and 2007, the population of Bologna grew by 0.0 percent, while Italy as a whole grew by 3.56 percent.[8] The current birth rate of Bologna is 8.07 births per 1,000 inhabitants compared to the Italian average of 9.45 births.

As of 2006, 91.88% of the population was Italian. The largest immigrant group came from other European countries (mostly from Romania and Albania): 2.82%, East Asia (mostly Filipino): 1.50%, and the South Asia (mostly from Bangladesh): 1.39%.[9]


A hall in the Enrico Tabellini-Museo della musica, or the International museum and library of music, showing some ancient musical instruments.

Over the centuries, Bologna has acquired many nicknames: "the learned one" (la dotta) is a reference to its famous university; "the fat one" (la grassa) refers to its cuisine.

"The red one" (la rossa) originally refers to the colour of the roofs in the historic centre, but this nickname is also connected to the political situation in the city, started after World War II: until the election of a centre-right mayor in 1999, the city was renowned as a bastion of socialism and communism. The centre-left regained power again in the 2004 mayoral elections, with the election of Sergio Cofferati. It was one of the first European towns to experiment with the concept of free public transport.[10]

The city of Bologna was appointed a UNESCO City of Music on 29 May 2006. According to UNESCO, "As the first Italian city to be appointed to the Network, Bologna has demonstrated a rich musical tradition that is continuing to evolve as a vibrant factor of contemporary life and creation. It has also shown a strong commitment to promoting music as an important vehicle for inclusion in the fight against racism and in an effort to encourage economic and social development. Fostering a wide range of genres from classical to electronic, jazz, folk and opera, Bologna offers its citizens a musical vitality that deeply infiltrates the city’s professional, academic, social and cultural facets."[11]


University of Bologna: the anatomical theatre, constructed in 1637 and situated in the Palazzo dell'Archiginnasio.

The University of Bologna, founded in 1088, is the oldest existing university in Europe, and was an important centre of European intellectual life during the Middle Ages, attracting scholars from throughout Christendom. A unique heritage of medieval art, exemplified by the illuminated manuscripts and jurists' tombs produced in the city from the thirteenth to the fifteenth century, provides a cultural backdrop to the renown of the medieval institution. The Studium, as it was originally known, began as a loosely organized teaching system with each master collecting fees from students on an individual basis. The location of the early University was thus spread throughout the city, with various colleges being founded to support students of a specific nationality.

In the Napoleonic era, the headquarters of the university were moved to their present location on Via Zamboni (formerly Via San Donato), in the north-eastern sector of the city centre. Today, the University's 23 faculties, 68 departments, and 93 libraries are spread across the city and include four subsidiary campuses in nearby Cesena, Forlì, Ravenna, and Rimini. Noteworthy students present at the university in centuries past included Dante, Petrarch, Thomas Becket, Pope Nicholas V, Erasmus of Rotterdam, Peter Martyr Vermigli, and Copernicus. Laura Bassi, appointed in 1732, became the first woman to officially teach at a college in Europe. In more recent history, Luigi Galvani, the discoverer of biological electricity, and Guglielmo Marconi, the pioneer of radio technology, also worked at the University. The University of Bologna remains one of the most respected and dynamic post-secondary educational institutions in Italy. To this day, Bologna is still very much a university town, and the city's population swells from 400,000 to over 500,000 whenever classes are in session. This community includes a great number of Erasmus, Socrates, and overseas students.

The University of Bologna is also the birthplace of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity.[citation needed] It was founded by Manuel Chrysoloras in 1400.[citation needed] The fraternity was formed for mutual protection against Baldassare Cossa, who extorted and robbed the students of the university, and later usurped the papacy under the name John XXIII.[citation needed]

The university's botanical garden, the Orto Botanico dell'Università di Bologna, was established in 1568; it is the fourth-oldest in Europe.

Bologna is also home to other prominent universities such as the Bologna Center of the Johns Hopkins University, otherwise known as the SAIS Bologna Center.


Bologna's large student population has largely contributed to the city’s vibrant and varied nightlife. "Erasmus" nights are hosted at several bars to cater specifically for international students studying on exchange. A few clubs particularly geared towards "Erasmus" are the Corto Maltese and the Lime Bar, both offering significant discounts for foreigners on party nights. There are a number of clubs of differing styles and modes to cater for all music tastes. These venues have been known to stay open late into the night with many energized partygoers not arriving at the venue in question until 1am to start their night fueled with drinking and dancing.


The typical mortadella of Bologna.

Bologna is renowned for its culinary tradition. It has given its name to the well-known Bolognese sauce, a meat based pasta sauce called in Italy ragù alla bolognese but in the city itself just ragù as in Tagliatelle al ragù. Situated in the fertile Po River Valley, the rich local cuisine depends heavily on meats and cheeses. As in all of Emilia-Romagna, the production of cured pork meats such as prosciutto, mortadella and salame is an important part of the local food industry. Well-regarded nearby vineyards include Pignoletto dei Colli Bolognesi, Lambrusco di Modena and Sangiovese di Romagna. Tagliatelle al ragù, lasagne, tortellini served in broth and mortadella, the original Bologna sausage, are among the local specialties.

The Teatro Arena del Sole.


The theatre was a very popular form of entertainment in Bologna until the 16th century. The first public theater was the Teatro alla Scala, active since 1547 in Palazzo del Podestà.

A very important figure of Italian Bolognese theatre was Alfredo Testoni, the playwright, author of The Cardinal Lambertini, which had great theatrical success since 1905, then repeated on the screen by the Bolognese actor Gino Cervi.

In 1998 the City of Bologna has initiated the project "Bologna dei Teatri" (Bologna of the Theatres), an association of the major theatrical facilities in the city. This is a circuit of theatres which offer diverse and colourful cultural and theatrical opportunites, ranging from Bolognese dialect to contemporary dance, but with a communications strategy and promoting unity. Specifically, the shows on the bill in various theatres participating in the project are advertised weekly through a single poster.

The main theatres of Bologna are:

The Teatro Testoni.
  • Arena del Sole, which has two rooms, with a generally popular and international repertoire
  • Teatro Alemanni, the temple of commedy-like Bolognese dialect
  • Theater for Celebrations, a billboard dedicated to comedians and contemporary dance
  • Teatro Comunale di Bologna, which hosts musical performances by opera and symphony
  • Teatro Dehon, which offers the largest billboard as theatrical genres and duration of the season and hosts the productions of the theatre company
  • Teatro Duse, theatre
  • Teatro Testoni, dedicated to performances for children and young

Theatres or other places of entertainment:

  • Accademia Filarmonica
  • Europauditorium
  • Humusteater
  • Teatro Manzoni, which hosts the dance programme organized by the Teatro Comunale
  • Teatro Medica Palace
  • Theater Navile
  • Teatro delle Moline
  • Teatro San Leonardo, managed by the School of Theater of Bologna "Alessandra Galante Garrone" theaters and nouveau cirque
  • Teatro San Martino, contemporary dance theater
  • Reduced Theater
  • Theater of life, theater and contemporary dance


Bologna offers a lot of festival and happening, among the others:


Another nickname for Bologna is Basket City, referring to Bologna's obsession with basketball: the local derby between the city's two principal basketball clubs, Fortitudo and Virtus. (often called after the clubs' principal sponsors), is intense, as you can see here and here. However, the rivalry will temporarily lie dormant in the upcoming 2009–10 season, because Fortitudo are no longer in the country's professional ranks. After the 2008–09 season, Fortitudo were relegated from the top-level Lega A to LegADue, and then were relegated further to the nominally amateur Serie A Dilettanti for financial reasons. The impact of basketball in the city is not limited to Fortitudo and Virtus; the Italian Basketball League, which operates both Lega A and LegADue, has its headquarters in Bologna.

Soccer is still a highly popular sport in Bologna; the main local club is Bologna F.C. 1909, which is currently in Serie A.

Famous natives of Bologna and environs

In addition to the above natives, the following became associated with Bologna by long-term residence:

Famous companies

Twin towns - Sister cities

Bologna is twinned with:

See also


External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Emilia-Romagna : Bologna
Students at the University
Students at the University

Bologna is a historical city, with around 380,000 inhabitants. Although it is known and loved by all Italians, it is less well known among foreign visitors. It is the capital and largest city of Emilia-Romagna (a region in northern Italy).


Bologna is famous for its cuisine (la cucina Bolognese), and is considered by Italians to be the nation's food capital. It is also viewed as a progressive and well administered city. It is considered second only to Venice in beauty by many Italians and certainly has one of the largest and best preserved historic centres among Italian cities. It is much loved for its architecture, especially its palette of terracotta reds, burnt oranges, and warm yellows, hence the name of Bologna la rossa (Bologna the red). The extensive town center, characterized by miles upon miles of attractive covered walkways known as "porticos", is one of the best-preserved in Europe.

Bologna is a lived-in, stress free, and prosperous North Italian city, noted by locals for the fact that it has not been ruined by mass international tourism though Italian tourists flock here during the main holidays. In recent years, though, the city has grown more popular with overseas travelers. It is an excellent destination for a few days' stopover between Milan or Venice and Florence, especially if you like good food!

Bologna is the seat of the oldest university in Europe, which dates from the 11th century, and a significant portion of its population consists of away-from-home university students. In common with other Italian university towns, it is in parts marred by excessive graffiti on its beautiful historic Palazzi though the new mayor (elected June 2009) has an ambitious plan for cleaning up. The Bolognese are very courteous and welcoming, and justly proud of their city, but communication in English is not always easy and a few phrases in Italian will come in handy.

When to visit

Bologna is at its best from March/April to October, when it is warm and there is much outdoor sipping and dining, or just sitting in squares such as Piazza Santo Stefano and Piazza Maggiore. However, during July and August it may be particularly hot. In August, as is the case in much of Italy in the summer, many shops and restaurants are closed for the summer vacation.

Winter can be cold, but Bologna is beautiful the two weeks before Christmas. January and February often feature cloudless blue skies, but the clear weather is often the coldest: you will need a coat, scarf, hat and gloves.

Get in

By plane

Bologna's closest airport is Guglielmo Marconi (Bologna) International Airport (IATA: BLQ) [1], just a few minutes from the city center, served by taxi and a special bus line called the Aerobus. An Aerobus Ticket costs €5. A taxi from the airport to the center costs about €15. The city bus stop is about 10 minutes walk from the airport. Buses 81 and 91 have the end stop at Bologna Central Train Station. Tickets (70 minutes) cost €1-2.

  • Ryanair [2] flies to Bologna Gugliemo Marconi. Also British Airways from London Gatwick [3].
  • Marconi Airport also has numerous international connections available, including nonstop flights to Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Dublin, Lisbon, London, Madrid, Moscow, Paris, Prague, Vienna, and Zagreb.

By train

Due to its central location and geography, Bologna has emerged as the main rail transport hub of northern Italy, making it very well-connected with other major Italian centers. From the 14th of December 2008 the new high speed railway line is available from/to Milan, shortening the journey to 65 minutes. Bologna is also 1 hour from Florence, 2 hours 45 from Rome, 2 hours from Venice, 1 hour from Ferrara, etc. The high speed train line between Rome and Bologna is under construction, will be fully available in November 2009, and will make many of these trips much faster.

There is also an overnight sleeper service from Paris Bercy to Bologna. Departs Paris 6:52PM in the evening, and arrives Bologna at 6AM. Return departs Bologna 10:30PM arrives Paris 9:06AM.

By car

The city is at the junction of the A1, A14 and A13 highways, and so is easily accessible from anywhere in Italy. Most traffic from Milan would exit the A1 and take the Tangenziale, but beware this road at rush hour because it is horrendously packed. Expect to use 2 hours from the A1 exit to the Tangenziale to the center at certain peak times over summer busy weekends, especially at the beginning and end of August.

Get around

Layout of the city

Looking at the map of the city (it is possible to get a free one at the Tourist Information Center in Piazza Maggiore), the first thing to do to orient yourself is to find the Due Torri landmark, which stays in the center of the free map. The center of the city is surrounded by the Viali, a circular road easily recognizable. The northeast quadrant of the map is the university district (which unlike US campus is an integral part of the city and not a separate compound). The two southern quadrants of your city map are residential sections of the city, and not common tourist areas. However, walking outside the city center, further to the south, you will come upon hills and the Giardini Margherita, the largest park of the city.

Plan your travel

A great place to start planning how to get around Emilia-Romagna region and Bologna city using buses and trains is on: [4].

By bus

The ATC company is in charge of the buses in Bologna. Useful information can be found on their website: [5]. Tickets should be purchased prior to boarding the bus. Information and ticket centers are available in central locations (railway station, coach station, city center). You can also purchase tickets in several shops (newspaper sellers, tobacconists, cafes).

On bike

Bikes are most popular amongst the people of Bologna. They are available for hire on various location around the city (one near the train station). You can ride on the many bike trails and on the side of the road. Be sure to lock them safely with a good lock, as they get stolen all around town, especially around the University.

On foot

Bologna is a great place to travel be foot as getting around the city is very simple with clear street signs. It is also a great way to find hidden gems such as Pizzerias packed with Italians (so you KNOW you reached the right place).

The famous Neptune fountain
The famous Neptune fountain

Museums and art galleries

Museum Card (Carta Bologna dei Musei), Bologna's museum card, is available for either one (€6) or three days (€8). The museum card gets you free access to the city's main museums and discounts to some others. It is available at museums and tourist offices.

  • Archaeological Museum (Museo Civico Archeologico), Via dell'Archiginnasio 2, +39 51 2757211, [6]. Tu-F 9AM-3PM, Sa-Su and holidays 10AM-6:30PM. This building, an old hospital, houses a comprehensive collection of antiquities including Egyptian civilization (mummies and sarcophagi), iron age Villanova culture, artifacts from Etruscan Velzna, funerary art, terracotta urns, ancient vases and items from Roman times. Do not miss the bronze Certosa jar which is over 1,500 years old. Free.  edit
  • Jewish Museum (Museo Ebraico), via Valdonica 1/5, +39 051.2911280 (, fax: +39 051.235430), [7]. Su-Th 10AM to 6PM, Fri 10AM-4PM. Tickets sold until 5:15PM (3:15PM Friday). Closed Saturdays and on Jewish holidays. Located in the area of the former ghetto, this museum covers the history of Bologna's Jewish population. 5€.  edit
  • Gallery of Modern Art of Bologna, Via Don Giovanni Minzoni 14. Open 10:00-18:00 Tuesday–Sunday, Thursday 10 am - 10 pm, closed on Mondays. A nice collection of modern art, if you want a break from the more classical pieces that abound in Italy.
  • National Picture Gallery (Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna), Via Belle Arti 56, Tel: +39 (0)51 421 1984, [8]. Containing the city's most important art, it offers an interesting panorama of the Emilian and Venetian painting from the XIII to the XVIII century. A must: the works by Giotto, Raffaello, Parmigianino (Madonna col Bambino/Virgin Mary with Baby and the Saints Margaret, Girolamo and Petronio), Perugino, Tiziano and Tintoretto (Visitazione/Visitation and Saints Joseph and Zacharias). Open: Tuesday to Sunday – 09:00 to 19:00 free for children under 18.
  • The University Museums, via Zamboni. There are a number of interesting, small museums at the University in the Palazzo Poggi. These include:
  1. The Museo Navale (Naval Museum) – 18th-century model warships (some very large) and collections of early maps 8.30-17.30 - closed Sat. and Sun. Admission free;
  2. The Museum of Military Architechture – models of Bologna's fortifications Mon. to Fri. 8.30-17.30 - closed Sat. and Sun. Admission free;
  3. Museo Ostetrico (Obstetric Museum)
  4. The Museo Aldovrandi – the collections of the Renaissance naturalist Ulisse Aldovrandi;
  5. Museo della Specola, [9]. Occupies the Specola, the astronomical tower built in the beginning of XVIII-century over Palazzo Poggi. The material exposed illustrates the evolution of the astronomic instrumentation through the centuries. Tours begins at the following hours for groups of 15 people maximum. June 24 till July 31 and from August 22 till September 18 from Monday to Sunday: 10:00; 11:30; 14:00 closed August 1 to 21; Sep.19-Dec.31 from Monday to Sunday: 10:00; 11:30; 14:30; 16:00. Free admission.
  • Museo di Antropologia – Via Selme 3, B. Bones, and artifacts of prehistoric Italians. Open: Monday to Friday – 09:00 to 13:00. Closed: Saturday and Sunday, and all week in July and August. Free admission.
  • Museo di Mineralogia, Piazza di Porta San Donato. Rocks, precious stones, rare minerals and meteorites. Open: Monday to Saturday – 09:00 to 13:00 Closed: Sunday
  • Museo di Anatomia Patologica, Via Massarenti. Studies of human and animal deformities. Open: Monday to Friday 09:00 to 17:00, Saturday 09:00 to 13:00. Closed: Sunday. Free admission.
  • Museum of Giorgio Morandi, Piazza Maggiore 6 (in the city hall), [10]. Tu-F, 09.00 - 15.00, Saturday and Sunday 10,00 - 18,30. Full price entrance €4, discounts available. Opened in 1993, the museum houses most of the works by the Bolognese painter Giorgio Morandi.
  • Communal Collection of Fine Arts (Collezioni Comunali d'Arte), Piazza Maggiore 6 (In the city hall) Tel. +39 (0)51 2193631/2193526, [11]. Tu-F 9-15 Sa,Su, and holidays 10-18,30. Closed mondays. The painting collection offers works belonging to various historical periods. Special attention should be given to the paintings by Giuseppe Maria Crespi (Ritratto del cardinale Lambertini- Portrait of Cardinal Lambertini), Ludovico Carracci (S. Caterina in Carcere – S. Catherine in Prison), Guido Cagnacci (Cleopatra e Lucrezia), Francesco Hayez (Ruth).
  • Museo Internazionale e Biblioteca della Musica di Bologna Strada Maggiore, 34 - Palazzo Aldini Sanguinetti Tel. +39 (0)51 2757711, +39 (0)51 221117, [12]. The international museum and library of music of Bologna. From Jan 1 to May 31: Tu-Su 10am-5pm; From June 1 to July 14: Tu-Th 10am-1:30pm, F-Su 10am-5pm; From July 15 to September 15: Mo-We+Fr 9:30am-4pm, Th 9:30am-10pm, Sa-Su 10am-6:30pm; From Sept 16 to Dec 31: Tues-Thurs 10am-1:30pm, Friday-Sun 10am-5pm; CLOSED Mondays, Jan 1, May 1, Dec 25.
  • Philharmonic Academy (Accademia Filarmonica) via Guerrazzi 13, tel: +39 (0)51 222997 fax: +39 (0)51224104, [13]. The Philarmonic Academy of Bologna was established in 1666. Since then it has become a reference point for the city musical life and its fame has spread throughout Europe. Here are preserved the works of many illustrious students, including Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s (1770) and autographed documents by Puccini, Verdi and Beethoven.
  • Modern Art Gallery «Raccolta Lercaro», via Riva di Reno 57, tel: +39 (0)51 472078 fax: +39 (0)51 476802, [14]. Opening/Closing Time: W-Sa 4AM-7PM; Su 10AM-1PM, 4PM-PM. It houses about 2000 works by Italian and foreign artists with special attention to the sculptures by Manzù, Messina, Rodin and Giacometti.
  • Ducati Museum, via Cavalieri Ducati, tel: +39 (0)51 6413111 [15] Opening/Closing Time: M-F guided tours at 11AM and 4PM; Saturday 9AM-1PM. Closed during Easter and Christmas holidays and in August. It represents the evolution of the Bolognese motorcycle firm. An exposition of motorcycles, period materials, projects, mechanical components, pictures and videos.
  • Museo Civico Medievale Via Manzoni, [16]
  • Museo Di Fisica Via Irnerio;
  • Pinacoteca Nazionale Via Belle Arti;
  • Museo Dello Studio dell'Ottavo;
  • Museo Degli Studenti E Della Goliardia Via Zamboni;
  • Museo Marsili Via Zamboni;
  • Museo Indiano Via Zamboni;
  • Collezione Cospi Via Zamboni;
  • Museo Delle Cere Anatomiche Via Zamboni;
  • Museo Delle Navi;
  • Piazza Maggiore [17] Large pedestrian square located in the monumental center of the old part of the city, surrounded by the Basilica of San Petronio, the City Hall Building, the portico dei Banchi and the Palazzo del Podestà.
  • Via Rizzoli One of the main streets of Bologna. It is a meeting point and strolling area. It opens up to Piazza di porta Ravegnana, where the two towers rise.
  • Fontana di Nettuno (Fountain of Neptune) - Piazza del Nettuno. A fountain built in 1563 by Tommaso Laureti of Palermo later embellished by Jean de Boulogne (called Giambologna). It is considered to be one of Bologna’s symbols.
  • Corte de' Galluzzi It can be accessed through a vault from Piazza Galvani, in front of the Archiginnasio. An area with strong Medieval tones.
  • Portico Walk to San Luca Walk through the historic 666 Porticos, leaving from the Porta Saragozza at the end of Via Saragozza.
  • University Quarter - Via Zamboni. Full of bars and cafés. The University of Bologna is Europe's oldest university, founded over 900 years ago.
A view of Bologna from above
A view of Bologna from above
  • Torre degli Asinelli (Tower of the Asinelli) and Torre dei Garisenda (Tower of the Garisenda) - Piazza di Porta Ravegnana. The main symbols of Bologna. Torre degli Asinelli (built between 1109 and 1119) is 97.20 metres tall (330 feet), with 498 steps and an incline of 1.3 meters (4 feet). Torre dei Garisenda (closed to the public)is 47 m (162 feet) tall and has a lean of over 3m (10 feet). Both were built in the 12th century. Open: daily, 09:00 to 18:00 €3 to climb Torre degli Asinelli.
  • Palazzo Comunale, Piazza Maggiore 6, Tel: (0)51 203 111. Bologna's city hall, with a very rich collection of Renaissance paintings, sculptures and antique furniture, is a 14th-century palace. Don't miss its enormous main staircase, which was designed to be used by horse drawn carriages. Tuesday to Sunday - 10:00 to 18:00 children under 14 get free admission.
  • Tombe dei Glossatori (The Glossatori tombs), Piazza San Domenico e Piazza Malpighi. Named for the lawyers who used to add glosses (notes) to documents. The tombs, which date from the end of the 13th century, are home to many of Bologna's famous scholars.
  • Santuario della Madonna di San Luca (St. Luke's Basilica), Colle della Guardia (Guardia hill). Built in mid-18th century, offers a panoramic view of the City, and can be reached by walking along] the 666 arches of its unique portico. It has a peculiar layout, being of a round shape. A widely city-known icon, the Madonna di San Luca, is held there.
  • I Portici (The Arcades). Visitors can walk under the typical arcades of Bologna for a total of 38 km. The Portici were originally built by order of the town authorities to house temporary visitors. They had to be wide enough that a man could lie down under them to sleep.
  • Basilica of San Petronio, Piazza Maggiore Bologne, tel: 051/231415. Opening/Closing Time: Weekdays 9.30AM-12.30PM, 2.30PM-5.30PM; Holidays 2.30PM-5PM. The Basilica houses an invaluable number of treasures such as the sundial by Cassini and Guglielmini, which indicates the exact period of the current year at all times, the "S. Rocco" by Parmigianino and the marvelous Bolognini Chapel. From the left nave of the basilica, the visitor can gain access to the Museum where many bas-reliefs are collected.
  • Basilica of San Dominico, 13 Piazza di San Dominico, tel: +39 051 6400411. Open: daily, 07:30 to 13:00, 15:30-19:30
  • Santa Maria della Vita, 10 Via Clavature, tel: +39 051 236245 Open: M-Sa, 07:30-19:30, Su, 16:30-19:00. This Church contains "The Lamentation", a life-size terracotta group sculpture, Renaissance masterpiece by Niccolò Dell'Arca.
  • The Lamborghini Museum , this famous car maker in Italy has been producing some of the most sought-after luxury sports cars in the world for decades. There is a bus you can take from Bologna to the center of Sant’Agata Bolognese, which is a five minute walk from the museum location. The ATB 576 bus (direction Crevalcore) departs from the main bus station in Bologna and takes roughly 50 minutes to get to the “S. Agata Bolognese Chiesa Frati” stop in Sant’Agata Bolognese, which is five minutes on foot from the museum.

Parks and Gardens

Many parks were former private gardens of nobility.

  • Giardini Margherita (Margherita Gardens), Viale Gozzadini. Bologna's main park created in 1875. The chalet converts to a nightclub in the summer evenings. Open: daily 06:00 to midnight.
  • Parco Montagnola, Piazza VIII Agosto. Public park since the 17th century. Much of the current landscaping dates from the early 19th century. The pond in the center of the park was added in 1888. Open: daily 07:00 to midnight.
  • Orto Botanico (Botanical Gardens), Via Irnerio, 42 Tel: (0)51351280. Created in the mid-16th century for medicinal herbs. Currently the second largest park in the city the Botanical gardens are home to over 5,000 plant species. Some of the highlights include a full-grown sequoia, and a greenhouse for cacti and carnivorous plants. Open: Monday to Friday - 08:30 to 15:00, Saturday 08:00 to 13:00.
  • Villa delle Rose, Via Saragozza, 228/230 Tel: (0)51 436 818. Donated to the city in 1916, the gardens were originally owned by the Cella family. The 18th-century Villa delle Rose, which was the Cella's residence, hosts art exhibitions throughout the year. Open: Tuesday to Sunday 15:00 to 19:00.
  • Villa Guastavillani, Via degli Scalini, 18 Tel: 051 239 660. Designed and built by Tomasso Martelli in the 16th century. Open: Monday to Saturday - 08:00 to 14:00.
  • Villa Spada, Via Casaglia, 1 Tel: 051 614 5512. On the grounds of the Palazzo Ravone an 18th century villa, it was opened to the public in 1970. Open: April to September - Tuesday to Sunday 07:30 to 22:00; October to March - Tuesday to Sunday 07:30 to 18:00.
  • Parco Cavaioni, Via di Casaglia. A large park featuring meadows, fields, wooded areas, and a lake. Open: April to September - 06:00 to midnight, October to March - 07:00 to 18:00.
  • Certosa - Via della Certosa, 18, Tel: (0)514 12606. Bologna's main cemetery, with beautifully carved tombstones, built over the ruins of an ancient Etrusan necropolis. Open: daily 07:00 to 18:00.
  • Bologna Fiere, Via della Fiera, 20, +39 051.282.111 (), [18]. an Exhibition Centre near Bologna, that among other things have an International Automobile Exhibition every year  edit
  • Cook Italy, Via Marsala 16 (central, nr corner with Via Oberdan), +39 349 0078 298, [19]. Get behind one of those huge Bologna doorways and spend a day cooking with Carmelita of Cook Italy, the longest established Bologna cooking-school. Very central location and Carmelita also customises the menu, that way you get to cook and eat the traditional Bologna meal of your dreams!  edit

Events and Festivals

There's a great film festival with restored silent and sound films throughout July in Piazza Maggiore. In the past, these have included especially Italian and French film, animation shorts from Annecy, archive footage of Bologna (e.g. of its liberation by British and American troops) and modern classics such as The Third Man, Raging Bull, Apocalypse Now and The Pianist.

Motor Show Bologna & The Car Museums

There are many exciting events that are worth taking part of during your stay in lively Bologna. If you plan on spending the onset of the winter holidays in Bologna, you can complete your vacation with a visit to the Motorshow Bologna and to the museums that showcase the automobile masterpieces of Italy.

And just nearby lies the three museums you must visit in order to do this. These are the Ducati Museum, the Lamborghini Museum, and the Ferrari Museum or Galleria Ferrari. To fully appreciate the Ducati Museum you can join guided tours by obtaining advanced reservations. The museum is open daily except on Sundays and holidays. But if you wish to join a tour, you can choose from the 11 am or the 4 pm schedule. You can also explore the museum at leisure since visits are entirely free. Next, you can make your way to the Lamborghini Museum, which is located in the area that connects Bologna with neighboring city Modena. It lies at about 21 miles from Bologna and can be easily driven to. The museum was established in 2001 and aims to celebrate one of the most expensive Italian cars in the world. To complete your unique museum-hopping, head over to Ferrari Museum or Galleria Ferrari. The museum is situated in Maranello, a town just outside Modena and located around 34 miles from Bologna. Although the museum is part of Ferrari’s headquarters, it has its own building separate from the Ferrari factory. Of the three museums in your itinerary, the Ferrari Museum is the oldest, dating back to 1990. The museum spans an amazing 2,500 sq/m and is divided into four sections, namely the Formula One collection, the special exhibits, the technological innovation exhibit, and the photo exhibits.

The Formula One collection displays the extraordinary race cars that have played a monumental role in making Ferrari the most famous automobile maker in the world. One of the most remarkable cars is the first Ferrari 125 S that was built in 1947 and won a race in the same year. And to give you a glimpse of what F1 racing is all about, you can check out the Fiorano test track next to the museum where you might even see a Ferrari racing past.

Music venues

Bologna is an Italian hub for rock, electronic and alternative music. There are almost a hundred concerts every year by international bands. Unfortunately many of these locations have moved outside the city center. The main places to check out are The Estragon and Link .

  • Estragon, Parco Nord. a big ex-industrial hangar, features dj-sets and concerts by international rock bands almost every night.  edit
  • Livello 57. Now only seldom open. It mainly features raves and techno gigs in an industrial, darkish atmosphere.  edit
  • TPO, Viale Lenin. Another occupied location that mostly features experimental music festivals and rock concerts.  edit
  • XM24, Via Fioravanti 24. an occupied ex-agricultural market where Punk-hc, rock and electronic concerts are often featured. A very cheap place, great if you don't mind the punk atmosphere. Avoid it if no concerts/festivals are announced.  edit
  • The Link. recently moved outside the city, is a large, 2-floor club that features mostly avant garde electronic, techno and hip-hop gigs and dj-sets. A little book shop, mainly on "alternative" subjects, can be found inside  edit
  • Il Covo. the most renowned indie rock club, features rock concerts by a number of interesting bands, but it is quite small and expensive.  edit
  • Kindergarten, Via Calzoni. next to the "Fiera", is a recently opened club that features techno, and sometimes punk and new wave concerts.  edit
  • Locomotiv. another indie rock club, but friendlier than il Covo  edit
Hand-made tortellini for sale in Bologna
Hand-made tortellini for sale in Bologna

The key to shopping in Italy is to look in every little shop as you walk around, paying attention to price tags. Please take note that the hours listed usually specify a closure in the afternoons. There is no one place to get the perfect pair of shoes or the perfect ties or the perfect anything: you have to look all over, but this is half the fun. If you can't find what you want at the price you want to pay for it, keep looking, chances are you will find something somewhere else that will work perfectly.

Don't miss the chance to buy local food, such as hand-made pastas and gorgeous cheeses, from any of the hundreds of small vendors and shops to be found in the city. At least half the experience of visiting Bologna is the gastronomic pleasure!

If you have money to spend (a lot perhaps ...) you have to go in 'Galleria Cavour' , near 'Via Farini' with a lot of high fashion shops (Armani,Yves Saint Laurent, Versace ... etc ...)

Another "shop street" is "via San Felice" near "via Ugo Bassi" with a lot of small shops that made artigianal dresses (sugarbabe), artshop (elzapoppin), art galleries and (as usual) shoes and dresses shop.


There are many choices for where to eat, as Bologna is generally considered to be the gastronomic centre of Italy, the Food Capital. It is difficult to find a truly poor meal as the Bolognese, like most Italians, use fabulous quality local produce with sparkling ingenuity.

A savory plate of traditional Bologna Salumi e Formaggi (cured meat and cheese)
A savory plate of traditional Bologna Salumi e Formaggi (cured meat and cheese)
  • Gamberini in Via Ugo Bassi does the best pre-dinner Aperitivo in town, great cakes too. Closed Thursday afternoon and Sunday evenings. Gilberto in Via Clavature does a good Aperitivo on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays between 7 and 9 pm.
  • Da Leonida in Vicolo Alemagna is hard to fault, with its excellent food and service at fair prices.But service can be slow ... it could take you a while to get your bill..
  • Via Oberdan has the excellent restaurant Teresina which has both fish and meat menus. Also located on Via Oberdan: the unique Cafè, Terzi with single estate coffees, and La Salumeria Bruno e Franco, which is probably Bologna's best deli.
  • Enoteca Italiana" in Via Marsala at Via Malcontenti, has twice been voted best in Italy. Great for a stand up sandwich ( Pancetta with Balsamic or a Mortadella Panino) and an excellent glass of the wine of your choice.
  • For down to earth home style cooking try: Da Gianni in Via Clavature, Mariposa in Via Bertiera, Meloncello in Via Sargozza.
  • For good service, good wine list and fine food at a price try Camminetto D'Oro in Via de Falegnami or Cesarina in Piazza Santo Stefano.
  • For more contemporary stylish dining try the excellent and good value Marco Fadiga Bistro in Via Rialto or Casa Monica in Via San Felice.
  • Via del Pratello has lots of bars and restaurants/osterie for young people. There's lots to choose from here. Walk past, look at the menus. It is located towards the middle of the 'western' part of the map. Fantoni with its checkered red and white table clothes and scribbled menus, is much frequented by students and serves fantastic fish secondi and an excellent ragu'. Via Mascarella/Largo Respighi is another zone with a lot of Osterie.
  • The Diana on Via Indipendenza is probably the most famous restaurant in the city but now it is a pale shadow of what it once was, though still high on old world atmosphere. Elderly Bolognese, tourists and businessmen dine here. The traditional regional cuisine like Lasagne Bolognese, Tortellini in Brodo and Tagliatelle with Ragu are the best choice here and the service is top notch. The daunting bolito misto is still a favorite and 35 Euros will add heaps of shaved white truffle to any dish. Diana is a favorite of Mario Batali but has fallen out of favour with many locals.
  • Il Pappagallo at the top of the street leading into Piazza Santo Stefano was a famous haunt of the stars during the '60s and '70s and still attracts an exclusive clientele. Its mix of traditional Bolognese fare and nouvelle cuisine gives the Diana a run for its money. Many other restaurants offer the same food for a lot less, but you get a lot of space between the tables here and the historic building is impressive if that is what you want.
  • Once upon a time good ice cream (gelato) could only be found at Antica sorbetteria in Via Castiglione. Among current contenders for the Bologna's Best Gelato title is Stefino Via Galliera 49/B, not far from the railway station. Try the wonderful pistachio ice cream and try almond "granita", though this is better at the recently opened Grom on Via D'Azeglio. The other place for superb pistachio and chocolate and many unique ice cream flavors, like Parmigiano with Pears or Fig and Almond or Watermelon and Jasmine, is Il Gelatauro, in Via San Vitale, considered one of the best gelaterie in all Italy. The newly opened Cremeria in Piazza Cavour is givng everyoe else a run for their money with many excellent flavor combinations.
  • Via San Vitale also features L'Antica Bologna, a chic but good and not particularly expensive bar and patisserie. Good Italian coffee is served too.
  • If you want cheap but good Italian food, go to Trattoria L'Assassino (Via Vinazzetti 7/A) or to Al Matusel (Via Bertoloni 2). Both are in the University (north-east of the center) zone (next to Via San Vitale and Via Zamboni respectively) and offer a good and tasty meal for as cheap as 10 euros, coffee included. L'Assassino offers good pasta dishes and especially exquisite custards and self-made bread. Al Matuseli s renowned for good fish dishes. Also, Trattoria del Rosso in Via Righi 30 is a similar place, not far from Piazza 8 Agosto.
  • Many gourmets swear by the simple Bolognese food of the down to earth, reasonably-priced Trattoria Tony in Via Augusto Righi, just 1/2 block off Via Independencia--truly excellent.
Indulge yourself with a little red meat and a side of red wine at a little Enoteca
Indulge yourself with a little red meat and a side of red wine at a little Enoteca
  • L'antica Trattoria Spiga on Via Broccaindosso is a bit hard to find, but make the effort; it has a very good risotto and wonderful traditional Cucina Bolognese (which does not include risotto).If you are blessed to visit on a Wednesday,don't miss out on the day's special, a platter with crescente bread served with cold cured meats and cheeses for savory and nutella and jams for dessert. As with most places in Bologna, be prepared to know a little Italian. L'Antica Osteria Romagnola in Via Rialto is very pretty and does good food but refuse the abundant (and expensive) antipasto or have that and just one other course.


Consider visiting the many pubs and clubs of Via Zamboni (university zone); some, such as "The Irish Pub", popular with students and foreigners, give happy hours on Tuesday/Wednesday. "Al Piccolo" down the road in Piazza Verdi is another famous student haunt, a live DJ playing techno into the early mornings. Otherwise, the Via Pratello has many bars and is the center of the city's alternative scene. Worth a look in particular is "Mutanye", whose owner is reputed to have been part of the Red Brigade in his youth, hence the many soviet posters. Via Mascarella, in the northeast area of the city, has plenty of nightspots, among them two jazz clubs. And finaly check out themany bars and pubs host music contests and concerts, from rock to jazz to "liscio", the traditional folk songs in Emilia-Romagna.

For a good enoteca (winery), "Ai Vini Scelti" just outside the center in Via Andrea Costa and only a few moments from Via Pratello, is considered one of the best in Bologna, though there are many others in the center, providing everything from a quick aperitivo to proper wine-tasting. Another good winery is "Vini d'Italia" in Emilia Levante street (Viale Lenin corner), which is one of the oldest on in the city. A very pleasant outdoor trattoria and wine bar on Piazza San Martino called "Golem" has a relaxed, modern Italian atmosphere and is great for people watching. Reasonable prices, excellent wines, and a small appetizer bar make it ideal for a long evening of good drink with friends or family. Also, the gnocchi with crab sauce is superb, although you might want to avoid it if you're squeamish about crab parts.

  • Enoteca Italiana (see above, in EAT) has excellent and non pretentious Sommeliers on hand to advise and guide you. Great place for a lovely glass of wine.


Hotels can become shockingly expensive and the city quite packed over the days when fairs are hosted in the local Fiera District (especially beware of Saie and Cersaie). You can check the calendar on Fiera di Bologna web site [20].

  • Ospiti da Fabrizio (Guest House), Via Sant'Anna 20, [21]. Charming flat (60 mq) with Italian characteristic style, comfortably furnished in every detail, including free Wireless, placed in an old Bolognese courtyard. Close to public transports and shops. Nice and cheap alternative to Hotels and B&B 30/50/60 € for 1/2/3 person.  edit
  • Collegio Universitario S. Tommaso d'Aquino a Bologna, Via San Domenico, 1, (051)6564811 (fax: (051)6486508), [22]. Hotel is a part of San Tommaso's college but should be available for booking to everyone. Pro: Good location, cheap, free and high-speed Wi-Fi. Contra: Reception is not 24 hours! It is closed from 1am till 7am (8am during weekends), you will not be able to enter the hotel after 1am - it is possible to extend it for 20-30 € till 2am-3am respectively, but only in advance; very poor breakfast - just coffee, juice, cereals and cakes. 50 € for 1 person; parking is 10 € (extremely hard to find a parking place on the nearby streets) but you're not allowed to enter the city center, including the area where hotel is located, by car before 8pm.   edit
  • Amadeus Hotel, Via Marco Lepido 39, +39 051 403 040, [23]. The Amadeus Hotel is near the Bologna airport, in the city's nearest suburban area. About 15 minutes by car or bus from the central station.  edit
  • Hotel Fiera, Via Stalingrado 82, [24]. A very nice hotel in the Merchant district with clean rooms and nice bathrooms. If you are lucky enough to get a room with a balcony, you will be rewarded with an outstanding view of the Appenines in the distance. Friendly staff, and a very nice little restaurant. Breakfast here is lovely. If you want a place on the outskirts from which to plan your stay, you could do much worse, but at a significant distance from the center, public transport is a must. All rooms have a minibar at very reasonable prices. Very clean rooms. Doubles from €120, singles from €90.  edit
  • Hotel Imperial, Via del Gomito, 16 40127, +39 051.327183 (fax: +39 051.4187076), [25]. A 3 star hotel with meeting rooms, wellness center and gym, a good choice for business travelers or for a relaxing holiday. Located near a bus no.25 stop, which takes you straight to the railway station. doubles from € 50.  edit
  • Hotel Porta San Mamolo, Vicolo del Falcone 6-8, +39 051 583 056, [26]. Much-loved small Hotel, lauded for its lovely staff, comfortable and prettily decorated rooms, and central but quiet location.  edit
  • Hotel University Bologna, Via Mentana, +39 051229713, [27]. The University Hotel is located close to the “Universitá degli Studi”, 22 bedroom of this three star hotel  edit
  • Relais Villa Valfiore, Via Imelda Lambertini 20, San Lazzaro di Savena, +39 051 625 54 91 (, fax: +39 051 499 81 01), [28]. In a a park of century-old trees in an enchanting corner of the hills in the Municipality of San Lazzaro di Savena, just a few kilometres from Bologna.  edit
  • Il Convento dei Fiori di Seta, Via Orfeo 34/4, [29]. A stylish little hotel that has been fitted into a small restored church.  edit
  • Grand Hotel Baglioni, 8 Via Indipendenza, +39 051 225445 (fax: +39 051 234840). A grand large fairly elegant hotel doubles from € 565.  edit
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

BOLOGNA, a city and archiepiscopal see of Emilia, Italy, the capital of the province of Bologna, and headquarters of the VI. army corps. It is situated at the edge of the plain of Emilia, 180 ft. above sea-level at the base of the Apennines, 82 m. due N. of Florence by rail, 63 m. by road and 50 m. direct, and 134 m. S.E. of Milan by rail. Pop. (1901) town, 102,122; commune, 1 53,5 01. The more or less rectangular Roman city, orientated on the points of the compass, with its streets arranged at right angles, can be easily distinguished from the outer city, which received its fortifications in 1206 (see G. Gozzadini, Studi archeologico-topografici sulla citta di Bologna, Bologna, 1868). The streets leading to the gates of the latter radiate from the outskirts, and not from the centre, of the former. Some of the oldest churches, however, lie outside the limits of the Roman city (of which no buildings remain above ground) such as S. Stefano, S. Giovanni in Monte and SS. Vitale ed Agricola. The first consists of a group of no less than seven different buildings, of different dates; the earliest of which, the former cathedral of SS. Pietro e Paolo, was constructed about the middle of the 4th century, in part with the debris of Roman buildings; while S. Sepolcro, a circular church with ornamentation in brick and an imitation of opus reticulatum, should probably be attributed to the 6th or 7th centuries. The present cathedral (S. Pietro), erected in 910, is now almost entirely in the baroque style. The largest church in the town, however, is that of S. Petronio, the patron saint of Bologna, which was begun in 1390; only the nave and aisles as far as the transepts were, however, completed, but even this is a fine fragment, in the Gothic style, measuring 384 ft. long, and 157 wide, whereas the projected length of the whole (a cruciform basilica) was over 700 ft., with a breadth across the transepts of 460 ft., and a dome 500 ft. high over the crossing (see F. Cavazza in Rassegna d'Arte, 1905, 161). The church of S. Domenico, which contains the body of the saint, who died here in 1221, is unfinished externally, while the interior was remodelled in the 18th century. There are many other churches of interest, among them S. Francesco, perhaps the finest medieval building in Bologna, begun in 1246 and finished in 1260; it has a fine brick campanile of the end of the 14th century. It was restored to sacred uses in 1887, and has been carefully liberated from later alterations (U. Berti in Rassegna d'Arte, 1901, S5). The church of Corpus Dominii has fine 15th-century terra cottas on the façade (F. Malaguzzi Valeri in Archivio Storico dell' Arte, ser. ii. vol. ii. (Rome, 1896), 72). The centre of the town is formed by the Piazza Vittorio Emanuele (formerly Piazza Maggiore), and the Piazza del Nettuno, which lie at right angles to one another. Here are the church of S. Petronio, the massive Palazzo Comunale, dating from 1245, the Palazzo del Podesta, completed in the same year, and the fine bronze statue of Neptune by Giovanni da Bologna (Jean Bologne of Douai).

The famous university of Bologna was founded in the i 1th century (its foundation by Theodosius the Great in A.D. 425 is legendary), and acquired a European reputation as a school of jurisprudence under Pepo, the first known teacher at Bologna of Roman law (about 1076), and his successor Irnerius and their followers the glossators. The students numbered between three and five thousand in the 12th to the 15th century, and in 1262, it is said, nearly ten thousand (among them were both Dante and Petrarch). Anatomy was taught here in the 14th century. But despite its fame, the university, though an autonomous corporation, does not seem to have had any fixed residence: the professors lectured in their own houses, or later in rooms hired or lent by the civic authorities. It was only in 1520 that the professors of law were given apartments in a building belonging to the church of S. Petronio; and in 1562, by order of Pius IV., the university itself was constructed close by, by Carlo Borromeo, then cardinal legate. The reason of this measure was no doubt partly disciplinary, Bologna itself having in 1506 passed under the dominion of the papacy. Shortly after this, in 1564, Tasso was a student there, and was tried for writing a satirical poem. One of the most famous professors was Marcello Malpighi, a great anatomist of the 17th century. The building has served as the communal library since 1838. Its courtyard contains the arms of those students who were elected as representatives of their respective nations or faculties. The university has since 1803 been established in the (16th century) Palazzo Poggi. Between 1815 and 1848 the number of students sank to about a hundred in some years, chiefly owing to the political persecutions of the government: in 1859 the number had risen to 355. It now possesses four faculties and is attended by some 1700 students. Among its professors women have more than once been numbered.

The Museo Civico is one of the most important museums in Italy, containing especially fine collections of antiquities from Bologna and its neighbourhood. The picture gallery is equally important in its way, affording a survey both of the earlier Bolognese paintings and of the works of the Bolognese eclectics of the 16th and 17th centuries, the Caracci, Guido Reni, Domenichino, Guercino, &c. The primitive masters are not of great excellence, but the works of the masters of the 15th century, especially those of Francesco Francia (1450-1517) and Lorenzo Costa of Ferrara (1460-1535), are of considerable merit. The great treasure of the collection is, however, Raphael's S. Cecilia, painted for the church of S. Giovanni in Monte, about 1515.

The two leaning towers, the Torre Asinelli and the Torre Garisenda, dating from 1109 and 1110 respectively, are among the most remarkable structures in Bologna: they are square brick towers, the former being 320 ft. in height and 4 ft. out of the perpendicular, the latter (unfinished) 163 ft. high and to ft. out of the perpendicular. The town contains many fine private palaces, dating from the 13th century onwards. The streets are as a rule arcaded, and this characteristic has been preserved in modern additions, which have on the whole been made with considerable taste, as have also the numerous restorations of medieval buildings. A fine view may be had from the Madonna di S. Luca, on the south-west of the town (938 ft.).

Among the specialities of Bologna may be noted the salami or mortadella (Bologna sausage), tortellini (a kind of macaroni) and liqueurs.

Bologna is an important railway centre, just as the ancient Bononia was a meeting-point of important roads. Here the main line from Milan divides, one portion going on parallel to the line of the ancient Via Aemilia (which it has followed from Piacenza downwards) to Rimini, Ancona and Brindisi, and the other through the Apennines to Florence and thence to Rome. Another line runs to Ferrara and Padua, another (eventually to be prolonged to Verona) to S. Felice sul Panaro, and a third to Budrio and Portomaggiore (a station on the line from Ferrara to Ravenna). Steam tramways .run to Vignola, Pieve di Cento and Malalbergo.

Bologna was only for a short while subject to the Lombards, remaining generally under the rule of the exarchate of Ravenna, until this in 756 was given by Pippin to the papacy. It was sacked by the Hungarians in 902, but otherwise its history is little known, and it is uncertain when it acquired its freedom and its motto Libertas. But the first "constitution" of the commune of Bologna dates from about 1123, and at that time we find it a free and independent city. From the 12th to the 14th century it was very frequently at war, and strongly supported the Guelph cause against Frederick II. and against the neighbouring cities of Romagna and Emilia; indeed, in 1249 the Bolognese took Enzio, the emperor's son, prisoner, and kept him in confinement for the rest of his life. But the struggles between Guelphs and Ghibellines in Bologna itself soon followed, and the commune was so weakened that in 1337 Taddeo de' Pepoli made himself master of the town, and in 1350 his son sold it to Giovanni Visconti of Milan. Ten years later it was given to the papacy, but soon revolted and recovered its liberty. In 1401 Giovanni Bentivoglio made himself lord of Bologna, but was killed in a rebellion of 1402. It then returned to the Visconti, and after various struggles with the papacy was again secured in 1438 by the Bentivoglio, who held it till 1506, when Pope Julius II. drove them out, and brought Bologna once more under the papacy, under the sway of which it remained (except in the Napoleonic period between 1796 and 1815 and during the revolutions of 1821 and 1831) until in 1860 it became part of the kingdom of Italy.

Among the most illustrious natives of Bologna may be noted Luigi Galvani (1737-1798), the discoverer of galvanism, and Prospero Lambertini (Pope Benedict XIV.).

See C. Ricci,;Guida di Bologna (3rd ed., Bologna, two). (T. As.)

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also bologna




  • IPA: /bəˈlɒnjə/


From Italian, from Latin Bononia.

Proper noun

Wikipedia has an article on:





  1. A province of Emilia-Romagna, Italy.
  2. A city, the capital of Bologna also of Emilia-Romagna.

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Italian Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia it


  • IPA: /boˈloɲɲa/

Proper noun

Bologna f.

  1. Bologna (province, city)
  2. The letter B in the Italian phonetic alphabet

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Simple English

[[File:|thumb|right|270px|Bologna]] Bologna is a city in Northern Italy with about 375,000 inhabitants.

Bologna was founded by the Etruscans with the name Felsina (ca. 534 BC) and became a Roman colony in 189 B.C.

In the 11th century Bologna began to grow again as a free Comune, joining the Lombard League against Frederick Barbarossa in 1164.

After being crushed in the Battle of Zappolino by the Modenese in 1325, Bologna began to decay and asked the protection of the Pope at the beginning of the 14th century.

The university of Bologna, founded in 1088, is the oldest existing university in Europe.

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