Things to do in Bologna, Italy

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Advisor - Gail Collins
Curated By

Gail Collins

  • Bologna

  • Italy

  • Arts & Culture

  • City Travel

  • Food & Wine

  • History

  • Architecture

  • Foodie

Aerial view of city buildings in Bologna.
Curator’s statement

Bologna, Italy, is a charming city with historic architecture and memorable culinary experiences. One can find medieval streets or explore the landmark Two Towers. In addition, you will find a lively student atmosphere as one of the oldest universities is located here.

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Things to do in Bologna, Italy

The ancient square of Bologna, Italy.

Two Towers: Not to miss on things to do in Bologna are the Two Towers, or Due Torri. Once you climb the taller of the two towers, you are afforded the perfect panoramic view of the city opportunity panoramic view of Bologna.

Piazza Maggiore: The main square, which is often used as a meeting point between friends. The square is surrounded by historic buildings, so simply sitting and soaking up the atmosphere is perfect for things to do in Bologna.

Porticoes of Bologna: Not to be missed, and hard to not miss, are the 20-plus miles of covered walkways that are throughout the city making your walks pleasurable.

Archiginnasio of Bologna: This is a part of the University which now houses the anatomical theater, which should be on your list of what to do in Bologna. Fascinating!

Madonna di San Luca: If you want a good climb then head for the steps leading to the Sanctuary of San Luca. The steps are covered under an arcade and along the way you will view art depicting the stations of the cross. Be prepared as the steps cover a little over two miles, but there are several places to sit and catch your breath! A definite “active” thing to do in Bologna.

Places to eat & drink in Bologna, Italy

Adesso Pasta Car Ristorante's Tagliatelle al Ragu.

Adesso Pasta Car Ristorante: One of my favorite spots for sitting outside and enjoying what Bologna is famous for…Tagliatelle al Ragu. The sauce is remarkable and a dish worth ordering. Simple ingredients and fresh. Menu items are value-priced.

Trattoria Bertozzi: Wow! I don’t know where to begin as this is my favorite restaurant in Bologna and definitely one of the top things to do when there. The owners have brought their recipes and meals just like their grandmothers used to fix on Sundays. Food is locally sourced. Make reservations as this is frequented by locals.

Trattoria Da Me: Another favorite with simple decor and the best homemade pasta dishes in Bologna. This family-owned trattoria dates back to 1937, so you know they are doing something right. Try the Lasagna Bolognese.

Need to Know

Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out my guide, Where to Eat in Florence (Off-The-Beaten-Path).

Advisor - Gail Collins

Travel Advisor

Gail Collins

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Italy.