Bologna Travel Summary

Bologna is the the capital city of the Emilia-Romagna region and is famous for its beautiful porticoes, basilicas, piazzas and world famous as a foodie heaven.

The Bologna Travel Summary segmented into 3 key travel themes to immerse you into everything Bologna:

  1. An introduction and brief history to this wonderful city;
  2. Some great itineraries;
  3. What to See;

Hope you enjoy it!  Carpe Diem!

 

1. An introduction and brief history to this city:

Bologna has a picturesque tangle of medieval streets, arcades, churches and imposing Renaissance palazzo.  Most of the architecture dates back to medieval times, when Bologna was one of Europe’s leading centres of culture owing to being home to Europe’s oldest university which was established in 1088.  Among the porticoes and medieval towers, you will experience the bustle of the markets arcades and look skyward and you will see the beautiful terracotta roofs and impressive towers.

Much loved Bologna has three nicknames.  The three nicknames capture the essence of Bologna perfectly.

  • La Dotta translating to ‘the Learned’ – Bologna is home to Europe’s oldest university
  • La Rossa translating to ‘the Red’ – for its UNESCO World Heritage protected terracotta-hued medieval buildings and porticoes
  • La Grassa translating to ‘the Fat’, Bologna is Italy’s gastronomic capital.

The historic centre of Bologna is wonderfully atmospheric with some excellent architecture and sights including the Neptune Fountain by Giambologna, and the medieval towers, particularly the magnificent Two Towers: Asinelli tower (98 m) and its neighbouring “twin” Garisenda (48 m, also mentioned in Dante’s Inferno).

2. Some great itineraries:

8am – Piazza Maggiore:

Start your itinerary in the wonderful 15th century, Piazza Maggiore is considered to be Bologna’s centre with four of the city’s best-known palaces flanking the square.  Must See attractions on the square are the Basilica of San Petronio, the Palazzo dei Notai, the Palazzo d’Accursio, the Palazzo del Podestà and the Palazzo dei Banchi.

Check out Basilica di San Petronio is Europe’s sixth-largest church and dominates Piazza Maggiore and ascend to the top of the Basilica to see wonderful views of Bologna and beyond.

11am – Climb the 498 steps of Asinelli:

The magnificent Torre degli Asinelli was built in the 11th century and is a towering 97 metres high.  Be brave and climb the 498 steps to be rewarded with magnificent views across Bologna and beyond.It has a twin tower called Garisenda forming the Le Due Torri (The Two Towers)

 

Afternoon: Wander up to Sanctuary of the Madonna of San Luca:

Walk the famous is the Portico of San Luca that leads up to the Sanctuary of the Madonna of San Luca or you can take a train up to the sanctuary.The Sanctuary was built in the 18th century and is set on hill southwest of Bologna’s historical centre.  Step inside to see a bright and colorful interior, intricately decorated, typical of Italy’s great churches.

You can climb the spiral staircase to the top of the basilica for spectacular panoramic views over the city.

Evening: Palazzo dell’Archiginnasio:

Check out the wonderful 17th-century Teatro Anatomico (anatomical theatre) and the beautiful frescoes within the Palazzo dell’Archiginnasio once the seat of the university.  Grab yourself an aperitif in the number of bars in the Centro Storico. Caffè Vittorio Emanuele and Bidibo are good picks for Piazza Maggiore.

3. What to See:

Piazza Maggiore

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • Dating from the 15th century, Piazza Maggiore is considered to be Bologna’s centre with four of the city’s best-known palaces flanking the square
  • Must See attractions on the square are the Basilica of San Petronio, the Palazzo dei Notai, the Palazzo d’Accursio, the Palazzo del Podestà and the Palazzo dei Banchi
  • You will also be able to see the magnificent Fontana del Nettuno, a huge bronze statue by Flemish sculptor Jean Bologne (1529-1608)

Basilica di San Petronio

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • Basilica di San Petronio is Europe’s sixth-largest church and dominates Piazza Maggiore
  • It was the 1390 when the first stone of the San Petronio church was laid, commissioned by the commune of Bologna in honour of the patron saint, San Petronio
  • Ascend to the top of the Basilica to see wonderful views of Bologna and beyond

Torre degli Asinelli

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • The Torre degli Asinelli was built in the 11th century and is a towering 97 metres high
  • Be brave and climb the 498 steps to be rewarded with magnificent views across Bologna and beyond
  • It has a twin tower called Garisenda forming the Le Due Torri (The Two Towers)

Bologna’s porticoes

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • Bologna’s porticoes represent the city’s pièce de résistance and have been nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site stretching 40km across the city
  • The most famous is the Portico of San Luca that leads up to the Sanctuary of the Madonna of San Luca
  • The portico comprises of an incredible 664 arches and measures almost 4 km

Palazzo dell’Archiginnasio

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • The Palazzo dell’Archiginnasio was one the seat of the university
  • The chief attractions are the wonderful 17th-century Teatro Anatomico (anatomical theatre) and the beautiful frescoes

Basilica di Santa Stefano

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • Once home to seven churches (Sette Chiese) the complex has four of the seven churches remaining today (Chiesa del Crocefisso, Chiesa della Trinità, Chiesa del Santo Sepolcro and Santi Vitale e Agricola)
  • Also check out the Courtyard of Pilato and medieval cloister

Sanctuary of the Madonna of San Luca

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • Walk the famous is the Portico of San Luca that leads up to the Sanctuary of the Madonna of San Luca or you can take a train up to the sanctuary
  • The Sanctuary was built in the 18th century and is set on hill southwest of Bologna’s historical centre
  • Step inside to see a bright and colorful interior, intricately decorated, typical of Italy’s great churches
  • You can climb the spiral staircase to the top of the basilica for spectacular panoramic views over the city

Palazza Comunale

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • Home to the Collezioni Comunali d’Arte which showcases art including 13th to 19th-century paintings including Renaissance works by Tintoretto and Signorelli
  • Check out the frescoed walls which depicts important events in the city’s history between the medieval period and the 17th century

 

 

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